Cue the false equivalency charges, but today we are going to look at a tale of two masks on American Airlines. Enough is enough with the masking of tiny children, especially when they are trying to sleep…especially when the CEO of American Airlines is pictured smiling with friends outside a restaurant without a mask on.
A Tale Of Tw0 (Missing) Masks On American Airlines
We went through the debate last week when Southwest Airlines booted off a two-year-old for not being able to keep his mask on. This week, we encounter a similar incident on American Airlines.
A mother and her son were trying to beat Hurricane Sally out of Florida and had lost power at their residence. They flew to Charlotte without issue, but encountered a problem on American Airlines flight 5595 from Charlotte to Manchester, New Hampshire.
Rachel Davis and her son Lyon were approached by a flight attendant, who demanded the two-year-old wear a mask. Like most two-year-olds, he could not. Long story short, they were kicked off the flight.
“What do you want me to do, duct tape his face?”
Ah, the cries of an angry and defensive mother. The whole plane was emptied out, leaving Davis and her son onboard. They too walked off, but Davis lost it in the gate area. Have a listen:
She claimed on Instagram that she took her mask off because she was hyperventilating.
View this post on Instagram
I’m at a complete loss of words. The eyes of a mama-bear who just bawled her eyes out as she was forced off an airplane because her 2 year old wouldn’t keep his mask on. I tried repeatedly, begged him, bribed him, pleaded with him, did everything I could while he was screaming and crying as I tried to hold him and put the mask on, feeling my absolute lowest of lows as a mother. Before I even sat in my seat, flight attendant Terry on American Airlines flight 5595 from Charlotte, NC to Manchester, NH on September 17th, approached me and asked how old my son is, and demanded according to their policy he wear a mask. I told her this is our fourth American Airlines flight this week, and he has never been asked to wear a mask. She informed me he (my overtired two year old son) would need to comply with their company policy or we would be asked to leave the aircraft. As I tried to put down my things and get a mask out, I heard Terry on the phone saying “yea it’s clear there is going to be a problem and we will need you to come down”. The nastiest smug look on her face. I’ll save you the rest of the horror that happened on the plane, as I continued trying to get him to wear the mask, bawling my eyes out and hyperventilating behind my own suffocating mask. Desperate to get home after the worst week. He would have been asleep before we even pushed back if they had just been humans. The pilot had the final say, Lyon wears the mask or they will escort us off the plane. Rather than get themselves any bad press by escorting a crying mom and two year old off the plane, they forced everyone to deplane, and wouldn’t let us back on the flight home. Apparently before we got off the plane everyone who left before us lit up the crew in the gate area. The Captain walking right by me as I screamed my head off in my absolute worst moment. They moved us to a flight tonight, on the same airline who’s company policy kicked us off the last flight, because my two year old son wouldn’t keep a mask securely over his nose and mouth at all times. This is the world we live in? This is not a mask debate. This is a ‘be a god damned human’ debate. I will NEVER fly AA again.
Meanwhile In Dallas…
In June, I covered the story of American CEO Doug Parker’s happenstance conversation on race with flight attendant JacqueRae Hill onboard a Southwest Airlines flight. Well, Hill and Parker have become buddies and recently Parker and his wife went out to dinner with Hill and her fiancé. Their conversation on race continued and Parker wrote about the dinner on LinkedIn. (H/T: View from the Wing)
For the record, I don’t believe this was a publicity stunt. Sure, all sides recognize what good press this generates. But I’ll take Parker at his word when he claims the initial conversation was purely coincidental and Hill had no idea he was CEO of AA. I’ll take Parker at his word that this dinner was about seeking to grow and understand and better empathize, not capitalize on the Zeitgeist.
> Read More: American CEO Doug Parker Has Earned My Respect
Anyway, the four of them took a picture together on the way out:
Uh oh, no masks!
So much for setting the example.
But Seriously American, About This Tale Of Two Masks…
In all seriousness, I see no problem with Parker and his companions taking off their masks for a picture. Did they put anyone in danger? Well, depends upon how you define danger, but someone had to take their picture, right? And it looks like they were in a parking lot. Were there valets around?
And I guess I apply the same standard to the situation onboard with Rachel and Lyon Davis. I won’t rehash the arguments over why I believe it is silly (from a health and statistical perspective) to force two-year-olds to wear a mask…please click here for that now-tired debate.
Instead, I’ll just shake my head that people cheer on American Airlines for kicking a two-year-old off an airplane who was literally fleeing a storm and just trying to get home.
I’d like to think I am a reasonable guy. I’d like to think I do my part and my family tries to do its part to show love to others by taking reasonable precautions to flatten the curve. But for goodness sakes, rules are points at which deviation is measured from, not oppressive roadblocks to common sense. Life works when we follow the rules. Life works better when we don’t let rules overrule common sense. Sometimes, exceptions are appropriate and it doesn’t cause the world to fall apart. Want a quick picture to remember a great dinner? Sure, take your mask off. Want to let a two-year-old sleep on an airplane without a mask on so he can get home to his own bed at night? Sure, leave your mask off.