Sara Nelson, the powerful president of the Association of Flight Attendants, has told Congress that passengers need to be coercively conditioned to wear masks, similar to how airlines eliminated smoking onboard.
Flight Attendant Union: Keep The Mask Mandate
The federal mask mandate expires on May 11, 2021 and both Congress and the Biden Administration are weighing whether to extend it. In written testimony to Congress, Nelson said:
“I do think it’s important that we recognize that and stay the course here with the mask policies, with all of our diligence (and) with the efforts to get the vaccine out to everyone.”
She elaborated that coercion works and coercion should be used to make airline passengers supple:
“We know from experience that the flying public is ready to adapt to new behaviors when instructions are clear and rules are enforced. Passengers learned to stop smoking, pack minimal fluids in their carry-ons, and turn off their cell phones for engine start and climb. They can readily adjust to wearing a mask if federal agencies clearly and repeatedly define both the expectation and the penalties for non-compliance.”
If she’s linking masks to smoking bans, that strongly suggests she wants to make mask mandates permanent unless the federal smoking ban on airplanes is also up for expiration.
I’m not opposed to masks onboard and have enjoyed one upside: no coughs, sore throats, or runny noses this season. There’s a reason masks have been worn for decades on airplanes in Asia. But the idea that masks should be compelled permanently and that the key to do that is through federal coercion and harsh penalties (rather than persuasion) strikes me as the sort of overkill that will make the anti-maskers more likely to rebel. The end result: less compliance and more drama onboard.
image: Delta Air Lines