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My New Travel Worry: Getting Kicked Off a Flight Because My Kid Won’t Wear Her Mask

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


I excel at worrying about things before they happen. My family and several friends will confirm that.

When I read Matthew Klint’s piece Wednesday about an autistic three-year-old getting removed from a Southwest flight because he wouldn’t wear a mask, I instantly worried about traveling with my own three-year-old.

We have no trips planned, so I’m worrying about something long before it’s even a possibility.

What has me worried? My three-year-old (who has no health issues) doesn’t love wearing her mask for more than, oh, five minutes. (I don’t love wearing a mask for more than five minutes!)

So I instantly catastrophized that our first flight will turn into a poo-show: She’ll take off her mask on the plane, it’ll create a stir, then we’ll get kicked off. What if it happens after we take off? What if we’re the reason our flight gets diverted?

(But on the positive side, it’d make a great blog post!)

Required Masks Are Here for an Extended Stay

I doubt airlines will lift their mask restrictions anytime soon.

René wrote yesterday, “I think by spring next year we will have things falling into place. I think by the end of summer 2021, we will see results showing [the pandemic] will end.”

I think that’s a reasonable assumption.

But even when a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, that doesn’t mean airlines, hotels, cities, and other bodies will instantly drop mask-wearing rules.

It’ll take a while for people to get vaccinated — and then receive a booster, if necessary.

Bloomberg reports, “Even if the most optimistic projections hold true and a Covid-19 vaccine is cleared for U.S. use in November, the vast majority of Americans won’t be able to get the shots until spring or summer next year at the earliest.”

Plus, some people will refuse vaccination. (I know at least one person who absolutely will not get the injection. He says it’ll enable the government to trace him.)

So I don’t expect airlines and hotels to loosen up their mask requirements until late 2021 at the very earliest, or sometime in 2022.

Our Plan for Now

Unless there’s some urgent need, my family likely won’t travel until we’re vaccinated against COVID-19. By that time, my three-year-old will probably be four. (Hopefully, it doesn’t take until her fifth birthday before the world is safe from COVID-19!)

So she’ll have at least a somewhat different temperament when we travel again. Hopefully, for the better.

My wife and I decided our first family trip involving a plane ride will be somewhere “nearby.” We’ll take a short trip from LAX or Burbank to the Bay Area or Las Vegas. We have family or friends in both locations and would love to visit them.

If my daughter can tolerate wearing a mask in the airports and onboard short flights, then we’ll test our luck with a trip to Boise or Minneapolis.

We tend to gamify to many things (“The first one to the dinner table wins!” or “Who will win the race to put on their pajamas?”). My kid hates losing, so maybe we’ll gamify the extended mask-wearing.

Final Approach

If you have a young child — or work with kids — what’s your plan for dealing with mask-wearing? Please share your tips and suggestions in the Comments section below!

— Chris

Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


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4 Comments

  1. Chris, as a pediatrician where all kids >2 are required to wear a mask, you can do this! You set the example and make it cool – they will follow your lead! It takes time and practice (maybe a cool Elsa/superhero mask) but believe me – kids are often better than the parents at this!!

  2. I would add there is no guarantee an effective vaccine will ever be developed so we could be in for the long haul if we put all our eggs on a vaccine.

    Interesting enough, I recently learned and was able to validate that most people in China are no longer wearing masks in the public for a while now. Seems like there is a way to get back to normal… if the right steps are taken

  3. We flew transatlantic 2 weeks ago with our 2.5 year old and she didnt wear a mask at all. None said a word.

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