According to Goethe, “Behaviour is the mirror in which everyone shows their image.”
So, what should we make of those passengers who repeatedly refuse to wear a mask or face covering?
From the end of June, member carriers of Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organisation representing the leading US airlines, began vigorously enforcing face covering requirements.
Alaska Airlines explains, “Our flight crews encounter moments when some travellers disregard or disobey our mask requirement. It creates tension and anxiety for many of our passengers who do have their face coverings on. So, a change is needed.”
While acknowledging that “a piece of fabric across your nose and mouth is probably not your ideal way to travel”, that change is empowering their flight attendants to issue a final notice to any guest who repeatedly refuses to wear a mask or face covering on board its aircraft.
“With that warning – in the form of a yellow card handed to them – the guest’s travel will be reviewed and could be suspended for a period. It’s a decision that would not be made lightly,” the airline states.
Those exempt include children under 2; anyone with a medical issue that creates trouble breathing; anyone who cannot remove a mask without assistance; and anyone with a disability that prevents a mask from being worn. As Alaska points out, it is fine to adjust the mask to eat and drink.
For those who forget to bring their own mask, Alaska is making them available upon request.
All A4A member carriers will be asking passengers during check-in to sign off on a required health agreement to acknowledge and attest to their willingness to adhere to the mask policy.
It’s a shame that a minority are failing to follow airline advice. As Alaska says in its blog, “If we all take that small step while flying, we’ll be better off in the long run.”