British airlines, our own airline pilots, Republican lawmakers and anyone with common sense knows mask mandates on planes are worthless—so why do the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention refuse to “follow the science”?
Last week, the Transportation Security Administration became essentially the last holdout in extending a mask mandate on airplanes and in airports (along with other transportation hubs), as enforcement of the CDC transportation mask mandate. The Texas Public Policy Foundation has sued over that mandate, pointing out that it’s an unconstitutional power-grab, far beyond the powers granted to the CDC by Congress.
It’s time for the federal government to be stripped of the nondelegated, unauthorized powers it seized during the COVID-19 pandemic.
British airlines have gotten the message. Passengers on most British Airways and Virgin Atlantic flights can take off their masks now (except on flights to destinations that require them—such as the U.S.).
“I said we wouldn’t keep travel measures in place for any longer than necessary, which we’re delivering on today—providing more welcome news and greater freedom for travelers ahead of the Easter holidays,” the United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for Transport Grant Schapps said.
But the truth is—and has been all along—that masks on planes were never necessary. The Journal of the American Medical Association reported this in 2020. Because of the way the air is filtered, an airplane is about the safest place you can be in a pandemic of an airborne virus.
“The risk of contracting coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) during air travel is lower than from an office building, classroom, supermarket, or commuter train,” JAMA noted. The increasingly politicized JAMA dutifully parroted the “masks are awesome” line, but the science is clear. “Despite substantial numbers of travelers, the number of suspected and confirmed cases of in-flight COVID-19 transmission between passengers around the world appears small (approximately 42 in total).”
“The science” is also why U.S. airline pilots have also sued to end the U.S. mask mandates.
Pilots from JetBlue and Southwest Airlines also point out the mandates are and “illegal and unconstitutional exercise of executive authority.” They add that the CDC imposed the mandates despite “countless scientific and medical studies and articles showing that face masks are totally ineffective.”
Why do they care? Because the mandates have been disruptive, leading to “chaos in the sky created by the FTMM, with thousands of reports to the Federal Aviation Administration (‘FAA’) of ‘unruly’ passenger behavior since the FTMM took effect Feb. 1, 2021—nearly all of which have been caused by incidents related to masks.”
We’re not just talking drunk and belligerent behavior; we’re talking about moms trying to comfort crying babies and toddlers, who are kicked off flights because the mask didn’t go back on between sips from a bottle; people with medical conditions; and even a 4-year-old with autism who has been “banned for life” from an airline over masks. Though his father had papers demonstrating a medical exemption, he was told that a doctor’s note does not “override corporate policy” at the airline.
That autistic boy, by the way, lives in Florida but receives regular treatment at Boston Children’s Hospital. For him, flying isn’t a “privilege” he lost because of his inability to tolerate a mask; it’s a medical necessity.
On Monday, Southwest flight attendants joined the pilots in asking the Biden administration to remove the mandates.
“Serving onboard during these contentious times and enforcing mask compliance is one of the most difficult jobs we have ever faced as flight attendants,” the flight attendants’ union said in a letter. “…We strongly believe it is now time to give our members and passengers the opportunity to choose if they prefer to wear a mask while flying.”
Finally, Republican lawmakers are also suing to end the CDC’s ridiculous mask mandates. Last week, 16 House members joined Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in his lawsuit, specifically citing the grounds TPPF cited: The CDC has no authority to issue such mandates.
“Congress never passed a law requiring masks on commercial flights,” said Congressman Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) “This lawsuit targets the faceless bureaucrats who are behind the CDC’s unscientific regulation so that this illegal mask mandate can be brought to a permanent end.”
Added Congressman Chip Roy (R-Texas), “It’s time to end the fear-driven tyranny.”
The science—and the U.S. Constitution—are clear. The mask mandates must go. And they must go now.