Listen to NPR, read Slate or HuffPo, or simply read Twitter and you might think that the issue of protesting masks is a problem unique to the United States and our ingrained sense of liberty and self-autonomy that supersedes any thoughts of the collective. But pictures from a recent British Airways flight demonstrate that inconsiderate behavior surrounding masks is hardly limited to the sons and daughters of liberty.
A Fight Over Masks On British Airways
A group of woman heading home from an anti-mask meeting in Berlin refused to wear masks on their British Airways flight to London. Citing medical exemptions, the women reportedly coughed “as a joke” around other customers, cackling about how the “sheeple” who mindlessly wear masks (and get vaccines).
We had a 10 Brit maskless stand off at Berlin airport…..police and authorities could not make us wear masks….our last protest on German soil
I love this cheeky photo pic.twitter.com/TuAzt2AuAJ
— Char (@Charbrevolution) October 14, 2020
As you can see above, this isn’t about a medical reason. This is about a protest.
And while protesting is a perfectly valid exercise in the right time and place, it is hardly appropriate on an airline, which is allowed to set its own rules for its own reasons concerning masks.
I’ve made this point before and I’ll make it again. The question is not whether masks are effective or not. It is not whether or how well they stop the transmission of virus. Instead, the issue is respect for a company’s absolute right to operate its business within the framework of the law.
British Airways doesn’t just mandate masks because the government compels it. It does so because it sees a business case in doing so. Demand for air travel is severely depressed and people are more likely to step onto an aircraft when others are wearing masks. Bottom line: British Airways, like its U.S. counterparts, compels masks because it is good for business.
I find it telling that the QAnon, anti-vaxxer crowd are so intertwined with this movement. Nuts love nuts.
So let’s cut to the chase, protestors. Your stupid little “I’ll take the whole flight to eat a bag of nuts or sip my coffee” exception or faux medical exceptions show a fundamental lack of respect for those around you and for the airline that is transporting you. By engaging in such puerile conduct, you actually exacerbate the problem, turn those who may otherwise be sympathetic to your wider cause against you, and thereby prolong the period in which masks will be compulsory.
I look with utter disdain on those who think they can walk into a store or board an airplane and deny the clear and unequivocal prerogative of a business to set polices that impact its profitability.
For those that coughed on other passengers as a joke…I can only wish that you will be spared from the virus. Trust me, it hurts…my own mother battled it for two weeks.
We need to find a way to get back to work…but acting in a cavalier and selfish matter is simply a foolish endeavor.
image: @Charbrevolution / Twitter