Most airlines now require that everyone 2 and up wear a mask for the duration of their time at the airport and onboard the flight. Only half of US airlines are actually putting their money where their mouth is by promising empty middle seats in order to promote social distancing.
Here’s the Venn diagram on which airlines require 2 year olds to wear masks and which airlines promise empty middle seats:
I see masks as having a pretty strong ROI. It’s pretty easy for most people to wear a mask and most studies show that masks do help prevent the spread of COVID-19. And it sure beats another lockdown!
I’m all for mask requirements on a plane, but anyone that’s a parent knows that toddlers don’t exactly listen to requirements. Requiring a 2 year old to keep a mask on for the duration of a flight might sound good to a policy maker, but that doesn’t mean it’s practical. One of the many reasons we fly with carseats for our toddlers is so they will be secure in their seats for the entire flight. It’s just too easy for a toddler to take off their airplane seatbelt!
I previously posted asking if airlines are going to throw my family off a flight because my 2 year old daughter won’t keep a mask on her face.
Commenter aaron said it best though, “I have I hard enough time getting my 2 year old to keep his pants on!“
Well, now we have the answer to my question.
They didn’t have issues on their outbound flight from Houston to Midland, but issues came up on the return flight back to Houston.
The plane had already left the gate when a flight attendant asked that she put the child’s mask back on. The 3 year old refused, and the captain announced that they were returning to the gate as “he had a non-compliant passenger that refused to wear a mask and follow the policies.”
Southwest then wrote up the 3 year old for mask noncompliance. Airlines have banned hundreds of passengers from flying due to mask noncompliance and won’t transport them until the mask mandates are lifted.
The mother says that she did have a Doctor’s note confirming the child’s condition, but Southwest didn’t care about it.
She was visiting her husband who was working in Midland, TX on a temporary job. She had to get a family member to drive them 500 miles back home to Houston.
It seems to me that the pendulum has swung too far. Southwest parroted back that the crew was correct in kicking them off the flight. They should be embarrassed that their policies are so heartless for an airline with a ticker symbol of LUV.
On the other hand, Delta’s policy is one written with common sense.
“Customers with unique mask requirements should bring the appropriate face covering that best meets their needs. Customers with underlying conditions that explicitly prevent the wearing of a face covering or mask are strongly encouraged to reconsider travel or should be prepared to complete a ‘Clearance-to-Fly’ process prior to departure at the airport. If you require this exemption, please arrive early to complete the process during check-in and avoid missing your flight – this process can take over one hour. Please arrive early to allow additional time. Mask exemptions only apply for travel on flights operated by Delta Air Lines and Delta Connection and do not exempt customers from any requirements that may be imposed by governments, including local, state or foreign countries, (at the origin or destination) or from requirements on other airlines.
Any false claims of a disability or health condition to obtain an exemption from wearing a mask or face covering may result in the suspension of travel privileges on any Delta flight for the duration of the mask/face covering requirement.
Children under the age two, young children who cannot maintain a face covering and unaccompanied minors are exempt from the mask requirement and do not require a pre-travel clearance.”
That policy was misreported by the Washington Post, but was corrected after I contacted Delta for clarification.
They ask that passengers 2 or older wear a mask, but Delta told me that passengers under 8 who can’t keep a mask on won’t be required to do so.
Of course the counter point can be made that the other airlines are justified in making no exceptions for toddlers and parents who know that their kids won’t keep their masks on shouldn’t be flying now.
But that assumes that all flying is discretionary. There are also plenty of valid reasons for needing to take a flight now. Is it fair to punish parents in that situation?
What do you think of requiring toddlers and young children to wear a mask on a plane? Does a cutoff of just 24 months old make sense?