Airlines are getting stricter about enforcing mask rules.
American, Delta, and United said offenders risk bans from their respective airlines.
Delta flight 1227 from Detroit to Atlanta departed late this past Thursday after the airline kicked off two passengers who refused to wear masks during the trip. Delta also reportedly banned 120 passengers (maybe it’s 122 after last week’s incident) who violated the airline’s mask rules.
Something I’ve seen on social media and heard from others is a sentiment saying basically, If one airline bans you for not wearing a mask, the others should, too.
Most of the Tweets in question deal with people in the political sphere and/or included some NSFW language. Both of these generally trigger some readers, and the Comments section becomes a virtual political rally and/or a forum of hurt feelings.
But some of the “publishable” portions of Tweets include:
“He should be banned from ALL flights on ALL airlines. Anyone who cannot obey the mask policy needs to receive a LIFETIME ban. That will put a stop to his no-mask [redacted].”
“It should be a lifetime ban, and every airline should join in solidarity.”
Which leads me to wonder:
Should Airlines Create a “Black Book” of Anti-Maskers?
Many casinos have subscribed to the “Griffin Book,” also known colloquially as the “black book.” It’s a database of gambling cheats. And being listed in the book is apparently a lifetime affair. Casinos know to look out for these individuals and keep them off-property.
Should airlines do something similar and create a “black book” containing people who refuse to obey face-covering rules? Do people who flagrantly break airline mask rules once deserve to never fly again on other commercial carriers?
Quick Caveat: Why I Don’t Want to Wear a Mask
I don’t like wearing masks. I find it uncomfortable and have a “thing” about my face being covered.
But even though I don’t want to wear masks, I still do.
The current iteration of “Do they work or not?” says masks do help limit the spread of COVID-19. And mask-wearing is mandatory pretty much everywhere here in California. Plus, there are private businesses that simply won’t allow mask-less people. So I have to obey their rules, too.
But I get why people don’t want to wear masks. And there’s the “the government can’t tell me my rights” school of thought, which I recognize, as well.
Where Things Could Go Wrong
While I agree that rule-breakers — especially when it comes to public health — should be dealt with, a “black book” of anti-maskers might not be the best idea.
What if two people share the same name — but the person who obeys the rules is accidentally listed as the offending passenger? (I’ve traveled with a fairly prolific television producer who bears the same name as someone on the DHS’s no-fly list. That can be a pain in the neck, lemme tell ya.)
CNN pointed out that “Even in clear cases of mistaken identity or clerical blundering, a name can linger in the [no-fly] system for years.”
And as Blackjack Apprenticeship notes, “somewhere in the process, [Griffin] made a fatal error by not clearly distinguishing cheaters from advantaged players. Many players who were legitimately beating games, were labeled ‘cheaters,’ either intentionally or unintentionally. This led to many more serious oversights by the users of this information: the casinos.”
To adapt that logic to this situation, different airlines have different policies. Southwest and American Airlines recently clamped down on a group previously allowed to go without masks: people with medical conditions. Delta still allows passengers with “unique mask requirements.” If Southwest were to drop the hammer on someone with a medical condition and stick them in the black book, that person might otherwise have been allowed to fly on Delta.
See what I mean?
If you think upgrade shenanigans are frustrating, just wait until rogue airline employees decide to stick you in the anti-masker black book for something that might not even be mask related. Or maybe he or she might make an honest clerical mistake.
Far-fetched? Possibly. But would it surprise you if it happened?
Attorney Doug Crawford — who represented someone named in the black book — told KNTV it can be nearly impossible to get off the list.
I appreciate the sentiment here — but don’t think it would work.
What Do You Think?
Should a single mask flouting passenger on one airline automatically be banned from all commercial air travel? Please share your comments below.
Featured image: ©iStock.com/LightFieldStudios
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