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Flyers Not Sold on Mandatory Face Mask Policies on Aircraft

Flyers Not Sold on Mandatory Face Mask Policies on Aircraft
Joe Cortez

The latest data from an IATA public opinion study suggests flyer’s biggest fears are coming in contact with someone infected by the novel Coronavirus, and using lavatories during flights. The study also shows flyers aren’t sold on one of the primary ways to stop COVID-19: wearing a face covering.

The majority of flyers are concerned about crowed buses, trains, and aircraft, but do not necessarily believe in using a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The new data comes from a public opinion study conducted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), surveying flyers in 11 countries over the first week of June 2020.

Flyers Want Screening and Social Distancing Measures, Not Masks

Respondents in the multi-national review noted they were willing to take several measures when it comes to their personal safety. Of those asked, 43 percent said they would go through temperature checks, 42 percent said they would voluntarily wear a face mask while flying, and 39 percent said they would go through a COVID-19 test before their flight.

However, respondents do not agree that they should be compelled to wear a face mask while flying. When asked about measures that would make flyers feel safer on aircraft, only one-third said they concurred with mandatory face mask policies. Among survey group, 37 percent COVID-19 screenings at airports would help them feel safer, while 33 percent said social distancing measures on aircraft would help.

Of their top concerns, 59 percent of travelers say sitting in a crowded bus or train on the way to the aircraft made them feel uneasy, while 42 percent were worried about standing in lines at check-in, security checkpoints, or border entry. On aircraft themselves, 65 percent said their biggest worry was sitting next to someone infected with the novel Coronavirus.

One of the top concerns of all flyers is using shared restroom facilities, regardless of where they are. Using lavatories was the second biggest concern of flyers aboard the aircraft, while using restrooms on the ground was the third-biggest worry.

Cabin air quality is still a major emotional problem for flyers, even though they acknowledge that it is relatively safe. In the response group, 57 percent say they believe air quality is dangerous, while 55 percent said they understood that it met hospital-grade standards. The psychological aspect of breathing cabin air is one acknowledged by even aviation executives, including the leader of Boeing’s “Travel Confident Initiative.”

IATA Addresses Problems With “Getting Out the Message”

In separate comments to the media, IATA chief executive and director general Alexandre de Juniac acknowledged that his organization needs to do better in “getting out the message” on two key areas: Aircraft cabin air and the use of face coverings.

“The aircraft cabin is one of the most controlled environments that people could experience,” de Juniac said. “First, risk is reduced by screening our symptomatic travelers. Then air is exchanged with fresh air from outside every two or three minutes on most aircraft. That’s 20 to 30 times more frequently than most office buildings. And HEPA filters take out viruses—including the coronavirus—with each filtration.”

In regards to face masks, de Juniac noted that while it does change the travel experience, it can be incredibly helpful in ensuring passenger safety. When used as a broader strategy, the trade organization executive noted mandatory face masks can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and bring travel back to a sense of normal.

“Masks or face coverings address the difficulty of social distancing in public spaces, including while on board aircraft,” said de Juniac. “The mask requirement is the general advice of governments for areas where social distancing is not possible, like public transport.”

Noting his recent travels, de Juniac said that he used a mask on his last flight. While it changed the experience, he also noted it was a temporary action, telling reporters: “If that is the price for the freedom to travel, count me in!”

The aviation leader also called on governments to re-open borders, warning that travelers may not fly if there are quarantine or exclusion measures. Before the Independence Day holiday, the European Council asked member states to not open borders to American flyers. The group is set to revisit their recommendations during the week of July 13, 2020.

View Comments (51)


  1. jficht

    July 8, 2020 at 4:12 am

    The trick is to ask for some refreshments or even water and then nurse the drinks for most of the flight with no mask on.

  2. leachimsnewo

    July 8, 2020 at 4:17 am

    As an Australian living now in Germany, where people do not like wearing masks but still do as they understand it is probably the most effective way of slowing the spread of Covid19, it never ceases to amaze me of the US reluctance to do the same.
    I am not sure why it is so difficult, maybe they feel it infringes on some ‘right’ they have. Seems the president carries more weight than scientists when it comes to shaping opinion. Amazing.

  3. John Aldeborgh

    July 8, 2020 at 4:29 am

    To me it’s the hight of rudeness to refuse to wear a mask, the data is irrefutable on the effectiveness of a mask on prevention the spread of the virus if worn by an infected person. For the sake of both a safer flight and the peace of mind of all passengers all personnel on every flight should wear a mask unless they are eating or drinking. This is just common cutesy.

  4. bigislanddave

    July 8, 2020 at 4:30 am

    Enforce Social Distancing on all airline flights.


    July 8, 2020 at 4:47 am

    Well there’s a surprise. Don’t you just love the idea of wearing a mask for 10 hours straight including while sleeping? The only good thing is that you can now pass wind without feeling guilty!

  6. Archer1943

    July 8, 2020 at 4:59 am

    The overwhelming medical evidence shows that everyone wearing face masks reduces the spread. The population at large has trouble with differentiating between medical practices and political statements. The airlines should mandate masks. Period. Customers can make their own choice: fly responsible and wear a mask or don’t fly. Period. With over 130,000 people dead I have no patience left for the irresponsible.

  7. donna538

    July 8, 2020 at 5:47 am

    Simple if you don’t want to wear a mask, don’t fly. Why should other passengers and flight crews be subjected to people that may have the virus and don’t wear masks.

  8. dsellens

    July 8, 2020 at 5:52 am

    I would be interested in seeing how the questions were worded on this questionnaire. I would also rate wearing masks as only making me feel only 30% better about flying. But, wearing masks is the barest of minimum requirements. Without that minimum, there is no way that I would even consider flying. Keeping middle seats open would probably weigh higher with me as a safety measure, because even with a mask, sitting side by side would still be a major risk. Without a mask, it would be suicide.

  9. kc1174

    July 8, 2020 at 6:15 am

    Some people aren’t going to be “sold” on anything.

    There’s plenty of moon landing deniers /flat earthers out there who’ll question anything and everything. And trump supporters.

    Even if their skepticism causes them to kill someone because they’re asymptomatic, they’ll say it was worth it because “fake science” and “liberty”….

  10. pindento

    July 8, 2020 at 6:32 am

    I’d prefer not to be an advertiser for a BS political objective

  11. comptontl

    July 8, 2020 at 6:50 am

    I want masks worn by everyone-no exceptions! It’s our health and our lives you are talking about, for God’s sake. Would you fly without seat belts? Would you fly without those air masks that drop from the ceiling in an emergency? Stop being selfish and realize what this pandemic is and what impact it can have on everyone.

  12. broston

    July 8, 2020 at 6:50 am

    The pushback against masks is what keeps me from flying right now. On the streets of NYC where we are not sitting next to each other for 5-6 hours, at least 90% of people are wearing masks for my safety. And I wear one for theirs. To the responder suggesting sip a drink throughout the whole flight, if I were next to you I’d be mighty tempted to take a sip of my own drink, have it go down the wrong pipe and then cough madly in your direction for the next few minutes. Think about other people.

  13. dashkowitz

    July 8, 2020 at 6:56 am

    I think the masks are like the TSA, they give you a feeling of security. The virus will go through or around most masks. It’s only the droplets that are stopped. If there are droplets coming out of you then you should probably not be flying.

  14. azmojo

    July 8, 2020 at 7:31 am

    Many are sold on the absolute effectiveness of cloth face coverings, but why? There are no peer reviewed studies as to the effectiveness of cloth coverings for COVID19, and places with mask policies have shown no difference in rates. Many prominent doctors and health officials and health organizations including the AAPS have said they are ineffective. If they are so effective, why was it only about a month ago that all of these mandates started? They are a comfort measure, and nothing more.

  15. babson1

    July 8, 2020 at 7:38 am


    You make a very false statement suggesting that “Trump supporters” are deniers and would be the people to Refuse to
    Wear face masks. Looking at recent protests, looting and riots in US made it very clear that most of these persons were Anti Trump and Willfully broke all social distances rules and common sense exposing many thousands to very unsafe conditions for disease transmission as well as direct physical Violence

    Your disparagement is quite shameless and “bigoted”.

  16. oh912flyer

    July 8, 2020 at 7:39 am

    For all those in favor of masks, please consider those of us that cannot wear one.
    And no, I am also not afraid of catching it; I already had it.
    Besides, why so worried about my mask… does yours not work?

  17. tonyv8

    July 8, 2020 at 7:41 am

    This reminds me of the days when smoking was allowed on planes and people were merely encouraged to make the right personal choice and not smoke in consideration of their fellow passengers that do not smoke.
    If the airlines want to return to normal, the sooner that they realize that a large percentage of people will not fly until masks are mandated during a pandemic, the better their chances are of success.

  18. avw

    July 8, 2020 at 7:59 am

    I recently flew on 4 American flights to meet family on vacation in a rural area. I was happy that everyone wore their masks in the plane and in the terminal. Actually, I was surprised to find that the mask became less bothersome the longer I sat still in my seat, because my breathing was not as vigorous as when I am moving. Almost every seat was occupied. I did not like the closeness of seats, so I paid for 1st class when it was available on 2 of mt flights. I waited til everyone else boarded, so I wasn’t in the crowded jetway. I turned on the air vent above me so I had good airflow in front of me. I am not frantic about the virus, but I don’t want to tempt fate. You need to be considerate of others and responsible for yourself. For those who think that Trump supporters don’t wear masks, you are wrong. Masks are not a political issue except for those who want to make everything in life political.

  19. robert4travels

    July 8, 2020 at 8:23 am

    I’m absolutely convinced masks help to stop the spread of COVID-19, and if I have to fly in an emergency I will wear one.
    But it’s damn uncomfortable, so as a result I will not fly until masks are no longer needed.

  20. Dougg

    July 8, 2020 at 8:30 am

    The people ho do not want to wear a mask on a plane are the same ones who want to bring guns on planes.

  21. localady

    July 8, 2020 at 8:43 am

    I would much prefer mandatory tests right at the airport. Even include them in the price of the ticket. Even though the CDC and WHO say that wearing a mask is so you don’t pass it along, so many people think that since they are wearing a mssk they are protected, I have started wearing both a mask and a face shield when flying,,, Maybe it is false security, but I watch all all of these people nursing their iced lates from Starbucks for 2 hours on the flight, that I’d rather be careful

  22. tvon

    July 8, 2020 at 8:51 am

    We need masks, temp checks and distancing at a MINIMUM. You saw what happened in Vegas. they made that stuff “optional” and now its a huge covid hot spot. Having a covid test before flying would be even better. I’m still not flying until i absolutely have to.

  23. xlnja

    July 8, 2020 at 9:12 am

    @pindento Exactly. Sure, masks have some benefit, but it’s also true that in an election year where Democrats would do anything to defeat Trump, they are exploiting COVID-19. For them, the longer everyone wears masks and stays deathly afraid of this virus, the better. THAT is why people resist mask wearing. The Democrats have made it political.

  24. binkata

    July 8, 2020 at 9:22 am

    The biggest misunderstanding is the objective of the mask: it is not there to protect YOU; it is there to protect OTHERS from getting infected by you if you are unknowingly asymptomatic. (Side note: it’s also a problem that U.S. testing is so woefully inadequate that we only encourage testing when people exhibit symptoms, which most younger people–who have been the ones to takes the most risks to begin with–rarely do.)

    Wearing a mask doesn’t make *me* feel particularly safer, but making EVERYONE wear masks does.

    People need to get over this individualistic mentality and accept that sometimes you have to do things for the greater good.

    Unfortunately, since there is no federal mandate to wear masks while flying and there is an exception for “medical conditions,” I see this becoming the emotional support animal of 2020+. I have yet to fly since March. Do people seem to be abusing this exception?

  25. gbcox

    July 8, 2020 at 10:49 am

    There is a big difference in asking people what they want to do, and telling people what they need to do. There are always going to be idiots who for whatever reason want to complain. Do I enjoy wearing a mask? No. Do I understand it is one necessary tool that everyone needs to use if we’re ever going to get this virus under control? Yes. When seat belts were first introduced, you had people who complained and said they shouldn’t be mandatory. Same thing with airbags. Same thing with motorcycle helmet laws. The only reasonable explanation is that a broad swath of the population are idiots. In this instance it’s very simple. If you want to fly, you’re going to wear a mask… if you won’t wear a mask you don’t fly.

  26. Morgacj2004

    July 8, 2020 at 11:08 am

    Yes the Democrats and mass media have made this issue political. They are hoping the economy will not pick up until after November and want people to be fearful until then. The media thrives on disruption, chaos and tragedy. They want to remain relevant. This is not a political matter but is a personal choice. Why would I care if you wear a mask as long as my mask N95 is effective?

  27. IBobi


    July 8, 2020 at 11:38 am

    I won’t fly on an airline that doesn’t require wire-to-wire masks, and neither should anyone else. If you get on your flight and someone’s not wearing a mask, tell the FA. If they aren’t made to wear one, or sent off the plane, you get off. Problem solved.

  28. crunchie

    July 8, 2020 at 11:57 am

    Those who refuse to wear masks because you believe it doesn’t help and/or infringes on your rights, does that mean you support allowing smoking in planes and basically everywhere? Should there be a movement to reverse smoking bans in public places including hospitals?

    Smoking ban was implemented after scientific evidence showing it has high risk of causing cancer and other medical conditions, especially for people with certain existing conditions (e.g. asthma). Scientific data on spread of flu-like viruses being significantly reduced with mask wearing has been published and peer reviewed for even longer. Data also shows people with certain pre-existing conditions are at higher risk of complications if they catch Covid19. Not speculation, opinion, claim; just data.

    Quite a few other examples beyond smoking if you have an open mind and are willing to do some research. Stop listening to politicians spouting opinions that serve their own interest (instead of serving ours). Insist on data as a start then objective analysis of the data. Things can and will change as we learn more but doing nothing is not acceptable.

  29. snidely

    July 8, 2020 at 12:54 pm

    What is the infection rate among in-air airline personal?

  30. SFO_UGS

    July 8, 2020 at 12:56 pm

    If you don’t want to wear a mask, don’t fly. If you do wear a mask (as I do), you have to take responsibility that the choice you made, while a good one, could still put you and others at risk for catching anything, including C19. The airports and governments institute the necessary procedures they seem are important for the flying public, but until flying is completely suspended in this country, ultimately YOU have a choice to fly or not. If you’re uncomfortable flying, stay home. Or, in the US, drive. We have all choices. We can work together or separately to be safer, but given the lack of a concerted focus from the “leaders,” whatever decision YOU make, it’s YOUR decision.

    I wasn’t thrilled about wearing a mask/face covering, either, but I transitioned into it. :-) I practiced in my home for a few minutes, then an hour (that was tough!), then 2 hrs., etc., while still doing routine in-flight tasks like watching a film or reading (which is what I usually do on a flight).

    What I find laughable is social distancing on an airplane. How is that even remotely possible? That one boggles my mind because no matter what is implemented, your right next to the person in just about all aspects of the trip.

  31. tromboneboss

    July 8, 2020 at 3:27 pm

    I can’t stand how people seem to be substituting Covid prevention vs simply slowing spread. The simple truth is masks do not prevent spread of any coronaviruses. There’s been no studies to show that masks prevent Covid spread. It slows spread but the virus will always eventually make its way through the whole population.

    Im a veterinarian that has been studying corona viruses is animals for 20 years. TGE is the main corona virus in pigs. A solid wall does not even prevent spread of virus particles from one group to the next. The same epidemiology is observed in Winter Dysentery in cattle. So it is not surprising that a mask is not effective with Covid 19 either. Herd immunity through a vaccine or getting infected is the only way to achieve a resolution to the pandemic. That is how we deal with infection in animal herds. Masks or other physical barriers make no difference.

  32. seattlebruce

    July 8, 2020 at 5:06 pm

    The analogy to smoking on planes is interesting. A few idiots were against banning smoking on planes and other rules against smoking. One even wrote “smoking doesn’t kill”. Fortunately, nutcases like this never went on to positions of power…

  33. rundmc

    July 8, 2020 at 11:46 pm

    Those who are not Americans on this thread may not understand our cultural attitude – which crosses ideological divides – of questioning authority because we pride ourselves on self-rule. At least that used to be the case. My problem with the enforced mask wearing is that not only are so many people complying without question, but they are complying even though they have seen that officials (including health officials) really don’t know much about this virus at all and have contradicted themselves over and over including about the efficacy of wearing masks. So, let me pose a few:

    1. Why, if masks are so effective at stopping the spread of a virus, are so many places where people wear masks regularly – like China (to safeguard against massive air pollution) or hospitals – the places where the virus spread rapidly in the first place? And, where many other infectious disease spread with virulent effect? And, why are some places where people have not been told to wear masks and have not done so places where we’ve seen few cases? Because there is so much CYA going on among public officials, no one is doing real studies of why this is the case.

    2. Has one single study that purports to claim masks are effective factored in normal human behavior? If not (and surprise! there are none), then the studies are useless. There is not one single person who wears a mask outside of a lab environment – NOT ONE – who actually wears a mask in the way needed to be effective at all. First, a lot of people are just wearing loose fitting masks or even just scarves which don’t keep anything from escaping at all. (And, even close fitting masks don’t keep a microscopic virus from getting into the air, but everyone in the health community knows that…) Then, everyone, pulls masks up and down – to talk on a phone, to eat and drink, because they are uncomfortable, because they need air, etc. As soon as you touch your mask – and most people touch them frequently – you’ve rendered the wearing ineffective, so you might as well throw it out. Virtually no one changes their mask as frequently as they need to keep them effective even if they don’t constantly touch them. Unless you are sterilizing your mask constantly or changing to a new one numerous times a day, you’ve already built up enough germs on them to render them ineffective and likely harmful to your health. And, the main issue with human behavior and the very reason public health officials initially (and rightly) said that masks are ineffective is because people will stop doing other things that are more effective, like sneezing into their elbow, washing hands frequently, etc because they think – consciously or unconsciously – that they’ve “protected” themselves with a mask

    3. Just like everything else with this virus, no public official forcing mask wearing has explained that they’ve considered the health trade-offs with wearing masks. Just like no official would/will acknowledge that shutting down the economy and trying to force people to stay indoors may well have caused more death, illness and suffering than this virus will ever cause, none of them have actively explained whether or how they are weighing the health consequences of people wearing masks long-term. Lack of adequate oxygen, germs and viruses in constant close contact with mouth and nasal openings due to unwashed/sterilized masks, psychological stress for many people who feel suffocated by them, the very real possibility of actual suffocation from falling asleep with one on, etc. There have been numerous studies conducted long before this virus hit of health care workers and the effects of long-term mask wearing that showed symptoms of hypoxia – headaches, dizzyness, nausea, etc. Where are the discussions of what health consequences there are from wearing masks and whether, overall, the benefits outweigh those consequences?

    4. When is this enforced mask wearing going to end? When there is a vaccine? When there are no viruses that exist any longer (there are lots that are far deadlier and kill more people than covid)? When there is a cure? (We still can’t cure the cold which is a variation of the coronavirus). When a democrat is in the US White House? (I’ve had numerous people who hate Trump with a righteous fervor tell me that they absolutely are hoping that everyone stays fearful and cowed and inside until after the US Nov. elections).

    5. Where would all of you “you are killing me/are rude/are sociopaths if you don’t wear masks” actually draw the line if a government told you to comply with something based on trying to scare you? I knew after 9/11 and the Patriot Act that we were probably gone as a somewhat free society in the US, and now I see our ability to stand up as free people to never-ending government edicts finally dying. When governments tell you everyone needs to be constantly tested and data-based and monitored because of covid, will you say anything or just comply? When governments tell you that people in your family need to be taken away to “facilities” for “their own good” because they have a virus – maybe it will be a new one down the line – will you say anything or just comply? As an old school liberal (maybe one of the few left of a dying breed), I know how I would answer. Unfortunately, I also know how most of my fellow citizens would answer.

    On a side note, this situation reminds me so much of the global financial crisis of 07-08 and the aftermath. All the “smart” people who so many of you I’m sure listened to as if they were oracles on high told everyone “no one could have seen this coming” when many of us actually did and were scoffed at before everything hit the fan. A year from now when we start to find out that masks didn’t work and people have suffered very real adverse health consequences from wearing masks all day because they never questioned all the “smart” people as if they were oracles on high, those same “smart” people will tell us “no one could have foreseen that wearing masks wouldn’t work and would be harmful.” Uh huh.

    So, to those who feel safer because everyone is forced to wear masks, let me tell you – you are not. Because you are not sitting near people on the plane who are trained in lab condition-mask wearing, and neither are you. And, to those who make the silly analogy to smoking bans, there are 1000 reasons why forcing an entire population to do something that is unnatural to humans (there’s a reason we didn’t evolve with closed/covered mouths and nasal passages) is completely different than requiring people to refrain from doing something that in itself is unnatural to humans (we also didn’t evolve with furnace filters in our lungs). But, hey – you spend 50 years or so (like tobacco study timeframes) studying the efficacy of mask wearing to health vs. the harm of mask wearing to health – then come back and we’ll talk.

  34. the810

    July 9, 2020 at 12:28 am

    Make two types of flights – some with compulsory masks, some without them. Let’s see which will get more bookings :) It may be different in the US where it became a political topic, but in Europe no one wears them where they don’t have to. I’m currently in Czechia, they dropped the requirement in shops and public transportation few days ago and almost instantly everyone stopped wearing them. Less than 1% does wears them these days. Says a lot about whether locals want compulsory masks or not.

    Anyway, until airline allow me to breathe properly, it’s no flying for me. I’m not a masochist to voluntarily wear mask for 3+ hours.

  35. leachimsnewo

    July 9, 2020 at 3:26 am

    For the people who said there is no edifence that wearing face masks works, just look at the rate of spread in the US (where.msny don’t wear masks in public or while shopping) and compare it to countries where it is obligatory. Statistics do not lie.
    As for making it political, even I accept that sometimes parties I do not follow make valid comments. If it is true, what does it matter who says it? If you think your health is less important than politics that is your cn’t mean you can be selfish and possibly affect others to pander to your own political beliefs

  36. kc1174

    July 9, 2020 at 4:23 am


    My comment was not only aimed at trump supporters. You claim my comment was bigoted and you then proceed to attack black people protesting police killing them..

  37. IMissThe747

    July 9, 2020 at 5:21 am

    At this point we do now have data indicating the effectiveness of wearing masks, and choosing to ignore the actual data does not change the data. Wearing a mask is most effective for protecting others, and when nearly everybody wears them, the results are incredibly good. Let’s remember that as of now Taiwan has only 449 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 7 deaths, in a place with cheap and readily available COVID-19 testing. Taiwan never needed to lock down, business are open, people are eating in restaurants and drinking in bars, and students are still in school (physically in classrooms). All this despite being a short flight away from the place of origin for COVID-19. How did Taiwan find such success? Many complex reasons, but one simple and obvious reason is that most people in Taiwan quickly agreed to wear masks. Sure, it’s uncomfortable. But perhaps better than the alternative of possible infecting your neighbors and loved ones with a potentially fatal disease. Just wear a mask when in public. Especially on a plane.

  38. overdahill

    July 9, 2020 at 5:49 am

    Has there been any mention of the HEPA filter class and are the filters exchanged after every flight? If not changed then a
    contaminated filter can then recontaminate an otherwise pristeen environment.

  39. flyingtall

    July 9, 2020 at 7:59 am

    As a surgeon I would not consider getting on a flight that allowed maskless travel. As a surgeon, I’ve had no one suggest that I should not wear a mask for their surgery. Wearing a mask in surgery has been common practice for over 100 years and in the vast majority of cases (except where the patient is likely to harbor an airborne transmissible disease) is to protect the patient – not the surgical staff! Try suggesting that your dentist or surgeon should not bother with the mask next time you need to visit one of them.
    Is Azmojo willing to have surgery with an entire medical team not wearing masks? Azmojo claims no peer reviewed studies showing effectiveness of masks to protect others. A lie. The following took me 30 seconds to find. Where are Azmojo’s peer reviewed studies?
    An N95 offers some protection to the privileged individual able to obtain one but would not protect that individual from infected aerosol entering the eyes. Hence, use of face shields is recommended for individuals in high-risk locations.
    That many respondents put a priority on social distancing merely proves the fallacy of policy based on public opinion. Not only is distancing not practical on planes at a cost that most people would accept, it has now been shown again and again that social distancing fails instantly when people are ready to deplane.
    I probably still would not get on a flight allowing maskless passengers but at a minimum all maskless passengers should be placed next to each other at the back of the plane and not be allowed to get up for deplaning until given permission.
    The arguments about politics here are about as childish as anything I’ve seen in my life. Pathetic.

  40. oh912flyer

    July 9, 2020 at 8:14 am

    Interestingly, the only conclusive study on cloth masks was done in 2015 by the University of New South Wales in Australia. They concluded they’re utterly ineffective at preventing virus transmission. This is pre-Covid19 so no bias involved.
    Other studies have shown medical masks can be effective if work correctly. (Interestingly here, the boxes they come in have a warning stating they’re not for the prevention of virus transmission. Lol.)
    Same effectiveness for surgical masks — when worn correctly.
    But cloth masks are worthless, and if you understood the size of the “gaps” in the material you’d understand why.
    The only way to prevent viral transmission is a full hazmat suit.

  41. azmojo

    July 9, 2020 at 9:04 am

    @crunchie Please post the peer reviewed article about cloth mask effectiveness. If what you say is true, why did guidance only change a month ago? Why wasn’t the first thing officials came out with back in February? California has had the mask wearing restrictions the longest, why is it not working there?

  42. 60triumph

    July 9, 2020 at 9:10 am

    Just flew ORD to SFO on United. Return flight was full. Face mask policy was not enforced. Flight attendants announced you need to wear a face mask but push back from them when I asked them to enforce. Even the flight attendants had them off in the galley or exposed noses when walking through the plane. Science says face mask use reduces transmission. I am in a high risk group. Not flying United again until they actually enforce their policies or the pandemic is over.

  43. DeltaFlyer123

    July 9, 2020 at 9:26 am

    I don’t see the logic in connecting wearing masks with infringing on “freedom”. Wearing masks is for the safety of people around a person who may not be aware he is infected. It’s for protecting passengers around the wearer. Same as having to stop at a red light – even if the driver doesn’t mind being killed, it’s to protect other drivers who do not wish to be killed.
    I wiii not fly unless everyone around me is wearing a mask so long as COVID-19 is still a serious issue. I’m a Delta 2-million miler, and have not been on a plane since February, and will not until I feel it’s safe. And as long as people behave as they say on this thread, I will not fly, nor will I enter any crowded public space.

  44. gunsar

    July 9, 2020 at 1:26 pm

    I’m going to wear full-body hazmat suit on my next flight!

  45. oh912flyer

    July 10, 2020 at 6:15 am

    To flying tall: I would have thought, as a surgeon, you’d comrehend that what your wear in the OR, is considerably different to the pathetic excuses for masks that 99% of the population wears.

    Case in point: I recently had to have a consult with a specialist. On entering the office, a lady wearing a cloth mask was asked to remove it and replace it with one of the medical masks they provided her.

    Clearly that medical group understands how worthless cloth masks are, even if you don’t seem to.

  46. Kumar2013

    July 11, 2020 at 3:15 am

    It’s amusing to see the amateur epidemiologist that everyone has become these days.

    Firstly I am yet to see a single respected study using empirical data and controls that prove even a 50% reduction in transmission rate by using mask.

    Secondly, most people who scream for masks are indifferent to the type of mask – they’d cheerfully rest easy with a cloth mask or a handkerchief

    Thirdly, places like China where the virus spread already had a high number of mask wearers. There’s no explanation as to how and why those masks did not work.

    The WHO itself listed masks as ineffective till late May when it succumbed to pressure from governments who found this a convenient measure to disguise their lack of progress on the healthcare front.

    In the absence of any credible information on the benefits of masks it seems this is just another comfort step that gives people a crutch to hold on to without actually doing anything meaningful.

    To all those mask-lovers, try wearing a tight fitting mask for 3+ hours on a flight / train. It’s much harder than it looks, only a masochist would advocate such a step without backing it with data.

  47. LonghornDXB

    July 12, 2020 at 9:20 am

    In flights where every passenger has to give a nasal swab test and test negative before flying, such as in some EK flights, masks may not make a huge difference.

  48. Superjeff

    July 12, 2020 at 11:27 am

    I just flew DFW-DEN-MSO (Missoula, Montana) on United, both segments on A319’s, and then MSO-SLC-DFW on Delta, on a Skywest E175 connecting to a new A220, all segments in First Class. United was fuller, and I had a seatmate on both segments, while Delta had me in the “A” side of First (1-2 configuration, so I was alone), and the seat next to me on the second flight was blocked. Other than that, the experience was similar, with an announcement that the plane had been sanitzed, and being handed a packet of purel on the Delta flights and sanitary wipes on United. Also, a plastic bag with a small bottle of water, a Stroopwaffel (United) and pretzels, and, on Delta, a Biscoff. The Delta flight from MSO to SLC (1:36) had no service whatsoever; the flight from SLC to DFW (2:49) had a snack box (like the ones typically sold in Economy), and all flights had alcohol on offer in First. Frankly, I’m thinking there are alternatives to this, and the airlines are using the Covid situation to cut costs, and we’ll likely never see food service again on domestic flights, but I certainly appreciate the situation and the fact that the airlines have to save costs wherever they can at this point.

  49. c1ue

    July 16, 2020 at 9:50 am

    I’m not 100% sold on the effectiveness of masks in preventing all COVID-19 transmission, but masks are a cheap and relatively non-intrusive countermeasure and should be worn.
    I’ve worn masks myself, pre-COVID-19, when I was forced to travel with a case of regular flu – in order to protect the other passengers and the flight crew, so why not do it as a preventative measure for now?

  50. sethb

    July 23, 2020 at 10:27 pm

    Why can’t the US do what so many other countries have done to reduce the spread of coronavirus? Yes, Europe mostly doesn’t require masks NOW, after lowering the rate of infection to a tiny fraction of the US’s.

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