A Washington, DC resident has filed suit against seven airlines and required an emergency restraining order to let him travel without a mask. He says he has a disability. But at least one airline contends he has no legitimate reason not to wear a mask.
Frequent Flyer Mask Lawsuit: Man Sues Seven Airlines, Claiming He Is Trapped
Lucas Wall currently lives with his mother in a retirement community in Florida. He wants to escape the Florida heat but says he cannot due to the federal mask mandate, which requires masks at airports and on airplanes.
He recently tried to board a Southwest Airlines flight in Orlando without a mask, but did not even make it through the security checkpoint: both the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Southwest insisted he wear a mask in order to proceed. Wall had submitted paperwork outlining his purported disability in advance, but it was not approved according to his lawsuit. He posted the following video to his YouTube account:
His lawsuit covers the following seven airlines, claiming they would refuse to let him fly without a mask despite documented medical evidence showing he could not wear one:
He told Business Insider:
“I take medication for that, but I’m still prone to panic attacks. One of the triggers is any time my breathing is obstructed – that brings a feeling of claustrophobia and a complete sense of unease.”
JetBlue filed a motion in opposition to the lawsuit, calling it “entirely without merit” and noting that a court does not have jurisdiction; instead, it is the Department of Transportation which can investigate and enforce ACAA regulations.
This Isn’t His First Lawsuit…
Last week, a Florida judge dismissed his request for a restraining order in a lawsuit against President Joe Biden, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, TSA, and the Department of Homeland Security arising from the same incident on Southwest Airlines.
In that lawsuit, he claimed the mandate should not apply because he was flying entirely within Florida (Orlando to Fort Lauderdale) and Florida does not have a mask mandate.
You can read that complaint here.
I have a few thoughts on this lawsuit. First, the federal government has allowed a broad exemption for passengers with disabilities as part of the federal mask mandate. If Wall has a bonafide disability, airlines are required to let him fly without a mask.
Second, it appears he is suing six airlines he never actually attempted to fly without a mask. If you read his complaint, he outlines the Southwest Airlines incident, but does not detail attempting to fly other airlines using his documented medical exemption and then being denied.
Third, his “urgency” argument is total bunk because if he really had to escape the Florida heat he could drive a car or attempt to fly another airline. Furthermore, I’m not sure how flying from Fort Lauderdale to Orlando was an attempt to escape the heat…
Wall claims to be a frequent flyer who has flown more than 1.5 million miles and traveled to 134 countries. But the subtext around this lawsuit is that he simply is an anti-masker.
Seven airlines are being sued for “mask discrimination” when it appears that six were not even given a chance to actually deny Wall boarding. Couplet that with the jurisdictional issue and his case appears to me to have little merit.