Passengers slam US airlines for encouraging mask-free passengers and ‘rewarding’ them with champagne

Passengers on some US airlines have slammed staff’s management of the end of the country’s mask mandate, with some saying crew encouraged customers to go mask-free with champagne and inflight celebrations.

Hi @Delta. Your flight attendants greeting us ‘Would you like champagne? Let’s celebrate no more masks’ is not what I paid for,” tweeted irate customer Ify Ike.

“It’s not only childish but also creates an uncomfortable, and potentially hostile environment for those of us still masked. Covid is also not seasonal.”

She added that some passengers still have a higher risk of severe symptoms from Covid-19, and that the airline had not thought of them while celebrating the change in policy.

“Your political and capitalist practices aside, please recognize that all types of diverse customers ride your plans. This insensitivity is costly and I’m curious to know what your affirmative practices will be for those with conditions that may be at higher risk.”

On Monday some air passengers in the US reported that their flight crew had announced and begun celebrating the end of the mask mandate mid-flight, with another Delta passenger saying her flight’s staff had announced the news and allowed passengers to remove masks.

Brooke Tansley tweeted: “Here we are, trapped in the sky with our eight-month-old unmasked baby (you can’t actually mask a baby that young) under the assumption that everyone who can be masked would be masked, and the flight 325 crew has taken our choices away from us. Very very angry about this.”

Meanwhile, one Alaska Airlines passenger yesterday accused his flight’s staff of encouraging anti-mask “shaming” by turning the flight into an “anti-mask party”.

“I had never been shamed for wearing a mask until my @AlaskaAir Orlando-Seattle flight today,” wrote Jonathan Evans.

“The pilot created an anti-mask party from the start, which encouraged the non-mask wearers to chide the mask-wearers. The most uncomfortable experience for me and my family. Really sucked.”

Mr Evans elaborated that “Passengers were calling us freaks, and they awarded the most outspoken guy with free drinks. It was hard to explain it to our nine and 12-year-olds. Other than that, we’re doing okay.”

He added that he was “taken aback by how all the staff went with it and didn’t try to help those of us wearing masks,” saying that he had reported the incident to Alaska Airlines and they had said they would investigate but would not be able to tell him the results.

Writer Bess Kalb compared the shift to maskless flying to bringing back smoking on flights against some people’s wishes.

She tweeted: “Thrilled to announce I’m going to smoke cigarettes on my next @Delta flight because I’m really not worried about the health risks and @Delta puts my personal freedom first.”

Yesterday President Joe Biden, when asked if air passengers should continue to wear masks, quickly agreed that it was “up to them”.

The US-wide mask mandate had been instituted by Joe Biden in January 2021 and extended several times from August to April, but was overturned by a Florida judge on Monday who argued that the CDC had outstepped their bounds by keeping it in place.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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