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Former Spirit Airlines CEO: “Wearing Face Masks is the Right Thing”

Flyers at airport wearing face masks

The past executive of Spirit Airlines wants flyers to wear a face mask while flying, because of the tight quarters on flights. Ben Baldana is calling on everyone to wear a covering in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Former Spirit Airlines chief executive Ben Baldanza has a message for all flyers: Wear a facial mask when flying. The aviation leader offered his opinions on the matter in an online column for Forbes.

“Airplanes Are Not Designed for Social Distancing”

Baldanza, who lead Spirit Airlines through its transformation as an American ultra-low cost carrier, noted that aircraft were not designed to encourage or enable social distancing. The former CEO was at Spirit Airlines when they reduced seat pitch to accommodate more passengers aboard their aircraft.

Because of this, Baldanza is encouraging all passengers to give up their objections to wearing face masks aboard aircraft, and go along with the new guidelines to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. In the column, he likened the use of coverings for the nose and mouth to other public safety precautions, including speed limits and drunk driving laws.

“I’ve heard arguments from as passive as ‘it’s uncomfortable’ to the more aggressive ‘it’s not a law’ to the confrontative ‘it’s a free country,’” Baldanza writes in his column. “Does something need to be a law to control unsafe behavior?”

In addition, the leader was quick to chastise those who wanted to “test the system” by taking masks off once the flight is in air. Noting that flight attendants are primarily safety officers, Baldanza asked: “What ego must one have to say that they don’t need to wear a mask, even though they could potentially be an asymptomatic carrier of the coronavirus, and infect the very people there to protect them.”

Noting arguments that facial coverings were a form of government taking liberties away, Baldanza supports the efforts of Airlines for America and other carriers in creating a facial mask mandate. In writing about his own flying habits during the pandemic, he also admitted used a face covering when aboard a commercial aircraft.

“This doesn’t make me any kind of lemming or sheep,” Baldanza wrote. “It makes me a human being who thinks about the world around me along with thinking about myself. Isn’t that what we all should be doing?”

In closing, the former executive noted that the only way to get the travel industry restarted and economies opening is to make people comfortable while flying. Through this, he asked everyone flying to wear a covering, saying: “It’s the right thing for individuals and for the group.”

Plea For Masks Comes After Confrontation

Baldanza’s opinion comes as flyers, airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration are coming to a point of conflict over face mask use. While Airlines for America and every major domestic carrier have issued a face mask rule, the FAA will not step in to make it a rule.

Additionally, at least one flyer had his flight privileges revoked after refusing to wear a face mask aboard a flight.  According to CNN, self-described political activist Brandon Straka was removed and banned from flying with American Airlines earlier in June 2020, when he declined to wear a covering aboard an aircraft. The airline told the news outlet he would be welcomed back once more when face coverings were no longer required.

fotographer June 29, 2020

sorry but masks dont work ... period.. read all about it.

coplatua1k June 26, 2020

Baldanza is talking about ego? What kind of ego does he have to refuse refunds to veterans when he was CEO of Spirit. He needs to look in the mirror before preaching. No question one should wear a face covering on a plane, in a large gathering ect. One way to help return to normal is wearing a face covering now to slow the spread. He however has little room to write about doing the right thing when he refused to on multiple occasions.

htb June 25, 2020

Baldana is doing the right thing for the group. First I wanted to say that the FAA is giving into the pressure of the White House, but maybe the FAA is not the right institution to mandate health measures. The United States Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) send like a more appropriate place to mandate health measures.