United CEO Scott Kirby pleads with passengers to “do the right thing” in a new video warning on safety masks.
United Has Banned Five Passengers For Not Wearing Masks
Recently, United Airlines began aggressively enforcing its onboard mask policy. Travelers who fail to wear a mask during flight, unless they have a medical excuse, will be banned from flying United for the remainder of the pandemic period.
Those new rules have come in the form of press releases, customer email, and onboard cards. Earlier today, United revealed that since June 18, 2020 five passengers have had their “flight privileges suspended” for failing to wear a mask onboard.
While compliance is increasing and masks have become less political over the last week, there is still many who refuse to wear a mask until prompted by a gate agent or flight attendant.
Now, the United CEO has stepped forward to very pointedly encourage compliance…and warn about non-compliance
Scott Kirby: “You Just Gotta Do The Right Thing”
Kirby argues that it is “increasingly evident” that masks are helpful to protect yourself and protect others. Kirby challenges viewers with a plea:
“If we’re serious about this, you just gotta do the right thing.”
He also warns that those who do not comply will not be welcomed on United.
United Calls Onboard Social Distancing A “PR Strategy”
Meanwhile, United takes a far less approving approach to social distancing onboard. On a teleconference this morning with news media including Live and Let’s Fly, United’s Chief Communications Officer Josh Earnest said:
“When it comes to blocking middle seats, that’s a PR strategy, that’s not a safety strategy. When you’re on board the aircraft, if you’re sitting in the aisle, and the middle seat is empty, the person across the aisle is within six feet from you, the person at the window is within six feet of you, the people in the row in front of you are within six feet of you, the person in the row behind you are within six feet of you.”
Earnest stressed that United’s focus on a contactless airport experience, mandatory masks, and a rigorous aircraft cleaning regimen are what truly keep passengers safe.
I think United is taking the right approach with stressing masks and cleanliness over social distancing. While more spacing is inherently better than less, what will better protect from us a potentially infected seatmate is if everyone is wearing masks…