Dear Coronavirus: We’re sick of you infringing on our freedoms and ruining our travel plans. Please just go away.
In an effort to rid our world of this modern-day plague, all sorts of restrictions and regulations have been put in place, and it doesn’t look like things are going to get any better anytime soon.
Of course, many travelers are concerned about being on an airplane full of recirculated air — but now the airlines are taking our “safety” to the extreme.
Most states have opened back up but continue to impose restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19. And after an about-face on whether Americans should wear masks to protect themselves, many states are now mandating them in public.
Stores can refuse entry to patrons who refuse to wear a mask, and employees who draw the short straw have to stand at the entrance and “force” you to leave the premises if you refuse to don your mask.
Now, no one wants to wear a mask. You can’t breathe, they fog up your glasses, and they are just no fun in general.
But most people are generally decent and go along with all this mask-wearing if it makes people feel better or avoids confrontation. And really, if you don’t want to wear your mask, you can just go somewhere else, right?
Yes, it all sucks (sorry, Mom, I know you liken that to profanity), but we almost always have the right to avoid establishments that force us into doing things we don’t want to do.
But then there’s public transportation, something of a necessity for millions of people all over the world who need to get to work or shop for essentials or visit family.
And one of the most necessary forms of public transportation is air travel. If we need to get somewhere far from home in a reasonable amount of time, this is really our only option.
Now, airlines have long since infringed on our rights in the name of public safety. We can’t carry our guns on board, we have to limit ourselves to three ounces of mouthwash for a two-week trip, and we have to walk through security (eww, can you imagine what’s on airport carpets?) without the protection of footwear.
And now, almost every airline requires passengers to mask-up in order to board.
No flight for you!
Just like the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld, business owners now apparently have the right to refuse us service if we don’t wear a mask.
And nearly every airline has now adopted these policies, despite the fact that there is no federal law to back them up.
That’s important, because airlines are leading us to believe it’s a law by using the loophole of FAA regulations that state that no passenger may “assault, threaten, intimidate, or interfere with a crew member on board an aircraft.
So while it’s indeed not federal law, masks mandates can be imposed on us by the flight crew.
But (there’s always a “but”), there are exceptions just as there are in most states – people with health conditions, infants and toddlers, and other exceptions that none of us are aware of unless we do our research.
Some airlines will request passengers to wear a mask but not really enforce it, and then there are the Soup Nazis of the industry, mostly the major carriers who have some big threats up their sleeves.
Don’t make me turn this plane around!
Remember when you were a kid and you were pulling your sister’s hair in the backseat of the car or being a general pain in the derriere and your parents threatened to turn the car around if you didn’t stop being a brat?
You know they never did because a) it would be a major inconvenience to drop their plans to take you back home, and b) after a while, parents have no energy left to fight and they just give up.
But major airlines are actually making good on this threat to turn the plane around if a passenger refuses to wear their mask for the duration of the flight.
In recent weeks, several airlines have had to boot passengers off planes for refusing to “comply with crew instructions” (remember that FAA regulation?).
On an American Airlines flight, a passenger was ordered off a plane on route from Ohio to North Carolina for refusing to wear a mask.
The woman, dubbed a “Karen” by fellow passengers (If you’re not familiar with this derogatory term, it’s a woman who thinks she is the only person on earth, who is picky and demanding, and will make a scene or inconvenience anyone she pleases to get her way. Don’t be a Karen.) said she had health issues that should make her exempt from the mask mandate.
The crew didn’t buy it and booted her to applause and cheers from passengers who recognized her Karen-ness for what it was. Like, if I gotta wear a mask, you gotta wear a mask, lady.
On a Spirit Airlines flight (surprise, because I like to call Spirit the “tin can of the skies” and they don’t usually seem to care about patient comfort), a man who took his mask off after boarding was asked to deplane.
In this case, the passenger and witnesses claim he was only removing his mask to drink, but Port Authority was called in and tossed him off – despite his pleas to stay on board to get to his father who had just had a stroke. Booo, Spirit Airlines!
But the worst case comes from Delta Airlines, who wasted passengers’ time and probably thousands of dollars in fuel when they really did turn the plane around because multiple passengers refused to keep their masks on during a trip from Detroit to Atlanta.
Look, at this point, if these passengers did have COVID, everyone had been exposed already, so what was the point?
Now, even though it’s supposed to be a legitimate cause for exemption from mask use in most states and on airlines, Delta is considering anyone who refuses to wear a mask due to health issues a Karen.
And they’re backing that assertion with an absurd new hoop to jump through in order to board – you must have proof in the way of a medical examination conducted by a real-life M.D.
This is really stupid because a) this is much more of a violation of rights than being told to wear a mask, b) just like restaurants, airlines are still serving food, and you can’t eat with a mask on, and c) this is a major violation of our rights! (Yes, I meant to repeat that.)
And another thing on Point B: If this virus is as easily transmitted as the “experts” seem to think, taking our mask off for even one second would expose the entire cabin, so they must not be that concerned if they’re still giving us little bags of stale pretzels and flat soda. (Although, I do have to say I love Delta’s Biscoff cookies!)
You’re a Bad Egg!
There have been several other incidents of passengers being booted off their flights, and so far, there haven’t been any reports of violence or injuries. So far.
But it’s not a stretch of the imagination to see where this is going if passengers are forced to do something that is not backed up by federal law.
It will come to an air marshal tackling a passenger, who then files a lawsuit.
And if things get even more ridiculous, it may come to airlines installing trap doors to dispose of “non-compliant” passengers without losing money by turning the plane around. (Remember, Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory?) You too may be ejected for being a “bad egg.”
All this from airlines who allow their planes to become virtual barnyards for weepy, scared little millennials who can’t leave their safe spaces without their emotional therapy pigs.
The bottom line is, don’t get on a plane right now if you refuse to wear a mask.
Yes, we’re all sick of the whole mess. Yes, we have rights being trampled on right and left nowadays. But as tired parents know, it’s not usually worth turning the car around.
Pick your battles. And don’t be a Karen.