Scoot: We need a federal mask mandate for all passengers now!

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By WWL

After two recent highly-publicized incidents over passengers refusing to wear masks on airline flights - it seems obvious that a federal mandate requiring ALL passengers on ALL flights to wear masks is needed.

A Delta Airlines flight from Detroit to Atlanta returned to the gate before take-off when two passengers refused to wear their masks. Masks are required to board flights - but once the Delta flight left the gate the passengers may have taken their masks off and refused to put them back on.

Delta issued this statement:

“Flight 1227 from Detroit to Atlanta returned to the gate following two customers who were non-compliant with crew instruction. After a short delay, the aircraft departed to Atlanta.”

A Delta spokesperson said the two passengers were removed from the flight and that, “Delta customers and employees are required to wear a face mask, or appropriate cloth face covering over their nose and mouth throughout their travel, aligning with best practice guidelines from the CDC.”

On a KLM flight from Amsterdam to the Spanish island of Ibiza on Friday night, a brawl broke out between two passengers over the wearing of masks. Dutch media reports the passengers had been drinking.

KLM’s statement read:

“Last Friday there was an incident on KL1495 from Amsterdam to Ibiza. During this flight two passengers misbehaved verbally and physically. The captain informed the authorities in Ibiza and both person were arrested upon arrival. Flight safety was not endangered.”

In June - a KLM passenger was fined $353 by the Dutch Royal Military police for her refusal to comply with the airline’s face mask requirements.

This should be the tipping point for a federal regulation requiring ALL passengers to wear masks on ALL flights. Precedent for a federal mask mandate is well-established by the federal ban on smoking on all flights.

There was a time when the cabin of an airline was divided into a Smoking and a Non-Smoking section. Rows 1 through 25 might have been the non-smoking section, and row 26 to the back of the plane would have been smoking. Considering that everyone was locked in the same metal cylinder - the concept of Smoking and Non-Smoking sections on planes was a joke.

Smoking cigarettes on flights was not fully banned on all domestic flights until 1990. Smoking was banned on all domestic and international flights by 2000.

Congress took action to ban in-flight smoking in 1987, and it sparked controversy over the rights of smokers vs. non-smokers. As evidence of the harmful effects of second-hand smoke became more prevalent - the ban on in-flight smoking was inevitable.

The foundation for banning inflight smoking was based on the effects that passive smoke could have on all passengers. The idea of a federal mask mandate is based on the same concept. The CDC and countless medical and health experts insist that wearing a mask contributes to cutting the spread of COVID-19. If other individuals on a flight could be affected by a passenger not wearing a mask - then the precedent for a federal mask mandate exists.

Flying on a commercial airline is a privilege - not a right. Based on that principle - we all submit to inconvenient screening by TSA at every gate at every airport for the collective safety of all of the passengers. Why shouldn’t the same principle be applied to wearing a requirement to wear a mask on all flights?