Travel | June 25, 2020 6:30 am

Yes, You Have to Wear a Face Mask on Your Next Flight

Airlines have a legal right to enforce the important safety measure

Wearing a face mask at an airport
Going on a plane? Bring your face mask.
Matteo Trevisan/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Over the last month, so-called “conservative activists” have decried the enforcement of face masks on airplanes as an assault on their constitutional rights, and willingly been booked for refusing to wear one, in the name of some half-baked stand for personal liberty. Their defiance has come to a particular boil over the last week after trade group Airlines for America announced that its members — Alaska, American, United, Delta, Southwest, Hawaiian and JetBlue Airways — would be implementing more serious measures to make sure faces were covered.

The initiative has included communicating policy on face masks before passengers board, giving verbal warnings to those who won’t comply, and filing reports that lead to personal “no-fly list” bans. As legal experts recently explained to Skift, this sort of discipline is well within the rights of airlines. Never-maskers who like to pull out lines like, “It’s a free country,” are confusing their right to have a sociopolitical opinion (albeit a ridiculous one), with an airplane’s obligation to ensure safety for its passengers and employees.

It makes millions of dollars more sense, when you start considering the potential for lawsuits, for an airline to prioritize common-sense and mitigating spread, than allowing passengers to leave a mask at home in some bizarre display of fealty to the current administration. When you board a plane, you enter into a contract to observe the behavior and regulations of that airline. If you’re being discriminated against based on sex or race, or have a medical condition, there is legal leeway, but otherwise, that’s the deal. If you can’t handle that, maybe don’t fly.

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