We’ve Tried Sticks To Get Passengers To Wear Face Masks, Why Not Carrots?

U.S. airlines, with the notable exception of Allegiant, are requiring passengers to wear face masks. Some passengers ignore the rule, others wear eye masks, masks with holes over the mouth, or straight up womens underwear on their face.

So now airlines say they’re serious, they’ll ban passengers who don’t wear masks (but only until the mask requirement ends). But they won’t do anything about it on the spot, they’ll let flight attendants report it and then do an investigation and make a decision later.

  • That even lets a passenger take their connecting flight without a mask, and possibly even take more than one flight home, before action is taken.

  • Most passengers fly only once a year anyway, so this has little effect.

Still, American Airlines banned a conservative activist in an incident that looked like a put up job, he videotaped himself traveling and refusing to wear a mask. It went viral and the airline announced he had become temporarily persona non grata at the airline.

The conflict over masks is actually understandable. The best current evidence is that they work to limit spread of COVID-19. However that comes after officials told people,

  • masks don’t work to stop spread
  • yet somehow they were important for medical professionals
  • we wouldn’t know how to wear good masks anyway
  • they make us touch our face more

Dr. Anthony Fauci admits the public was lied to so that hospitals and the government could buy up masks without competition.

Now people don’t trust public health experts, even though the benefit of masks appears to be significant. So what do we do about it, besides greater conflict in the skies?

Caesars Entertainment has an idea: pay customers to wear masks. They have been randomly rewarding their loyalty program members with free play for wearing masks.

Nevada’s Gaming Control Board requires players to wear masks for “blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat, poker and several less popular table games.” Caesars has staff “alking the casino floors randomly passed out $2o in free slot-machine play to Caesars Rewards loyalty card customers wearing masks while gambling.”

They’re doing this at their 5 re-opened hotels: Caesars Palace, Harrahs, Paris, Flamingo, and Linq.

Maybe airlines could reward passengers with frequent flyers for mask wearing, if they’re refusing to serve alcohol to limit payment transactions they could comp alcoholic beverages to people who wear masks (though the masks have to be taken off to drink them). Maybe it’s time for a carrot as well as the toothless stick?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. While it’s sort of insane to have to pay people to protect others and themselves, it sounds like a good idea. Oh, for the good old days when doing our “civic duty” was expected and something we just did because it was the right thing to do.

  2. @WileyDog,

    It is a shame civic duty has fallen out of favor for so manyAmericans. In addition, the health experts screwed up big time when they initially claimed that masks don’t stop the spread; their lies have back to haunt all of the people who do take our civic duty serious.

    By the way, I won’t be flying until there is a vaccine or the airlines enforce their mask rules immediately (not weeks later, if at all).

  3. Women’s underwear as face masks? Are you serious. Clearly, this must be some kind of USA thing.

  4. @JustCurious The underwear things is a real thing. Google it — it actually makes some sense when you see it, oddness not withstanding.

  5. Seriously? The people who don’t wear masks are the same that say that MORE people should go to jail (and 2.5 millions already are) and that “law and order” is needed.

  6. I’m beginning to think that the whining people who demand mask usage are really the people who make travel so awful. I’ve had several trips during the lockdown and it’s been so awesome. People on planes are quiet and polite, airports are pleasant. I’m all for keeping this going for as long as possible.

  7. If the airlines keep this mask crap they will lose money, they can kiss my ass I will not wear a mask on an airline. Let the insults begin.

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