On Delta’s Cancun – New York JFK flight DL787 on Friday, the man sitting in 31D kept asking for help from a flight attendant. Delta has been blocking middle seats, but the man seated nearest him in 31F kept removing his face mask.
This man “wasn’t eating or drinking” according to his seat opponent who wrote in about the July 31 flight. He had a mask – it was necessary to board – but it was hanging down below his face. A flight attendant asked him to put the mask on at the beginning of the flight. Reportedly he did – until the flight attendant left. Two more times during the flight he was apparently asked by a crewmember to don his mask, and he’d comply until he was no longer being watched.
His seat neighbor “used the call button toward the end of the flight..asked a[ flight attendant] for a headset in hopes she’d see another mask violation but she didn’t notice it.” Or at least she decided to ignore it, since the man had already been admonished several times. The other passenger, who had previously reported him, went to the galley at the back of the aircraft to “firmly request that they flag this guy” for disregarding procedures to keep other passengers safe.
He was seated in the back of the plane for the rest of the flight, to avoid a conflict with the maskless man, and a crewmember “admonished this guy again.” A flight attendant “assured..they will write him up” after four fruitless requests for him to wear his mask.
Airlines aren’t going to divert over a mask, and they try to stay non-confrontational. That does little good for the passengers around the person who will not wear them. The only thing they have, then, with a recalcitrant passenger is to follow through on the threat of a ban, and to publicize those bans as a deterrent effect on others. (Even that is limited in value since most people traveling today are infrequent flyers who normally fly less than once a year.)
I introduce you to the passenger from 31F, then, because he’s likely next to be banned from Delta. While American Airlines tells employees it usually takes multiple violations before a passenger is actually banned, as of a week ago Delta had already banned 120 passengers for violating the airline’s mask rule with the ban expected to remain in place until the mask requirement is lifted.
Most of those cannot possibly have violated the airline’s mask rule multiple times, so if Delta’s reported number is true they’re willing to impose the ban based on a single flight writeup.