Almost two weeks ago the CEO of Southwest Airlines, Gary Kelly, told a congressional committee that face masks were essentially useless as protection for airline passengers. He supported a repeal of the executive order that made face coverings mandatory on flights until March 2022.
“The statistics, I recall, is that 99.97 % of airborne pathogens are captured by the (high efficiency particulate air) filtering system. It’s turned over every two or three minutes,” Kelly testified.
Kelly added that masks “don’t add much, if anything, in the air cabin.”
The CEO of American Airlines agreed, claiming that “an aircraft is the safest place you can be.”
The media was quick to point out, with undisguised glee, that Kelly tested positive for Covid shortly after testifying. Frankly, I don’t see the connection between Kelly’s likely head cold and the need for masks on planes. There’s no evidence that he caught Covid as a result of flying bare-faced.
Looks like we’re all going to catch the latest, mild variant regardless of our devotion to masks. So what’s the point in shaming someone who tests positive?
While the statements of these airline executives may seem counterintuitive, they’re probably right. In fact, few cases of Covid have been traced to air travel and the sophisticated air filtration on aircraft is superior to nearly any other indoor space.
Beyond that, it seems many people are coming to the conclusion that masks are nothing more than – as CNNs medical expert put it – facial decorations. Or as left-wing comic Bill Maher called them, “amulets.” Unless you’re wearing a fitted medical grade N95 and changing it every couple of hours, your mask is doing little more than giving you really bad breath and helping bacteria colonize in your mouth.
On the other hand, incidents of unhinged passengers are up sharply in the past year. It may have a lot to do with power-drunk flight attendants turning into mask fascists. So far in 2021, there have been 5,000 reported incidents of unruly air passengers “often as a result of Covid-related arguments.”
Here’s one colorful encounter that happened recently in mid-air and went viral on social media. It appears that a belligerent female passenger, whose mask is pulled down, is assaulting a seated male passenger for going maskless while eating. She hits him and spits at him until the flight attendants intervene using the drinks cart as a weapon.
Delta flight from Tampa to Atlanta got crazy‼️ pic.twitter.com/I9BZUKv3LB
— ATL Uncensored | Atlanta News (@ATLUncensored) December 25, 2021
Enough already. This behavior is out of control. Hopefully, the authorities were waiting for this maskhole when the plane landed in Atlanta.
The whole issue of masks and ordering people to keep their faces covered seems to have reached a boiling point in the air.
In the interest of peaceful travel, why not make masks optional? That way, those passengers who believe their masks protect them, are free to mask up. Others, and I’d be in this camp, could take their chances going bare-faced, the way we traveled for decades before the world lost its mind over Covid.
That said, I’ve flown numerous times during the pandemic and as someone who loathes masks, I’ve never been tempted to make a scene.
Because no-fly lists last forever.
This column has been republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed & Unedited.