No mask required on planes in the United States: DOT Ruling is horrible
Flyers Rights President Paul Hudson issued the following response to the DOT’s refusal to promulgate a mask rule after DOT General Counsel Steven Bradbury issued a letter denying Flyers Rights’ rulemaking petition:
This horrible decision
will no doubt encourage bad actor airlines and airports to not enforce masking
or social distancing and to do more of the same.
Two recently published
studies found that unmasked air travel resulted in spreading COVID on long haul
Also your suppression of public comments to masking petitions has shredded a major protection against arbitrary and capricious decisions by officials.
At the same time that
this decision was apparently being written yesterday, the President, First
Lady, and 7-9 others have tested positive after recent air travel. The
President has been hospitalized.
I have flown recently on Delta on flights of 3-6 hours. While everyone was masked onboarding, people lowered their masks as the flights progressed, there was no enforcement or checking by flight attendants (who have sometimes been told not to enforce mask violations), and no announcements about maintaining masking. While the middle seat was blocked, I was within 2.5 feet of passengers on 3 to 4 sides. The social distancing of 6 feet would require capacity reduced by two thirds and is clearly not happening.
When polled last spring,
¾ of our members favored testing be required before flying, but this is still
challenge your “notion” that regulation is unnecessary for masking due to
voluntary “guidance” and urge you to reconsider this decision. While you may
have delegated authority to make this ruling, it will likely have deadly results
for thousands, retard air travel and general economic recovery which is already
suffering from lack of public confidence in air travel health safety. I
would remind you that air travel plunged up to 95% last spring and could easily
plunge again if numbers spike.
The national media and Democrats will view this decision as another proof of how the Administration has and will continue to mishandle the pandemic by putting ideology ahead of medical science and common sense. The guidelines were formulated without passenger representation.
I would urge you to send
inspectors on flights and publish the results, consult with Secretary Chao, the
WH Task Force on the Coronavirus, your own aviation medical experts at CAMI,
Mark Meadows, Vice President Pence, and President Trump if possible, and at
least issue a warning to airlines and airports that regulation will be
implemented if masking guidelines are not being followed.