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United Produces Pro-Mask Video, Anti-Maskers Lash Out

United Produces Pro-Mask Video, Anti-Maskers Lash Out
Joe Cortez

United Airlines produced a video starring chief executive Scott Kirby extolling the use of wearing a face covering on flights, but not all flyers are happy about the message. On LinkedIn alone, a minority have criticized the carrier for the mandatory usage of face coverings.

United Airlines’ chief executive Scott Kirby is the latest to come out and explain why mandatory face covering usage aboard aircraft is a good idea, but not all flyers are buying the pitch. The airline executive and his message were featured in a short video posted to United’s social media channels, with open comments providing an interesting debate.

“One Of The Most Important Things” is Wearing A Mask

In the one-minute video, Kirby summarized the airline’s policy while wearing a mask walking through an airport. His message focused on the fact that science suggests using a face covering is the easiest way to reduce the spread of the novel Coronavirus, and protect others from potentially getting it.

“One of the most important things any of us can do to halt the spread of Coronavirus is wear a mask,” Kirby said in the video. “It really is about protecting others and protecting their safety.”

United’s leader noted that the Chicago-based airline was among the first to mandate face mask usage in the U.S. aviation industry, and also talked about increased penalties for non-compliance. Kirby stated in the video flyers who refuse to wear a face covering will not be welcome aboard the carrier until the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

This follows guidance released by United on June 15, 2020, when the airline noted flyers who will not wear a face covering could be placed on a travel ban list. According to their press release: “Customers on this list will lose their travel privileges on United for a duration of time to be determined pending a comprehensive incident review.” The mask policy will remain through at least August 2020, but could be subject to extension.

Comments Fire Back Against Facemasks

Although the comments about United’s mandatory policy were overwhelmingly positive, a select few denounced the move. Some claimed the use of face masks are a personal choice, and should be allowed to fly aboard “mask-free” flights.

“Refusing service to a certain segment of customers is a very ill advised and bad idea!” one LinkedIn commenter wrote. “This is an individual’s choice. Are there some reasons why an individual could not wear a mask?”

“Face shields are next, while we are at it, your clothes can contaminate your house,” another commenter opined. “Might as well use hazmat suits… Do not live your life in fear.”

Others were concerned about United’s policy of selling flights to capacity starting July 1, 2020. One commenter responded: “Bravo for enforcing the wearing of masks, but your decision to sell full flights is forcing me to look at other carriers for my flight accommodations for the foreseeable future.”

The majority of those comments were positive, with many saluting the airline’s leadership in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Most flyers said they would gladly wear a mask while flying with United or any other airline.

United is the second carrier to enforce a mandatory face covering rule, and enforcing it with a ban list. American Airlines was the first to create a ban list for non-complying travelers, and reportedly barred one flyer’s flight privileges after they refused to wear a face mask. It’s unclear if United has put any flyers on their ban list.

Feature image courtesy: United Airlines

View Comments (23)


  1. cityflyer369

    June 30, 2020 at 4:33 pm

    I forgot to add: 16 people per 100,000 inhabitants during the previous 14 days.

  2. trk1

    July 1, 2020 at 8:08 am

    Masks are a must. You must wear clothing and a mask

  3. tobegold

    July 1, 2020 at 8:44 am

    Masks are mandatory on all flights to, within and out of Canada. The US has too many self centred people who don’t give a damn about others – the mask issue just goes to show that more. No wonder the number of Covid cases keeps increasing in the US. Good on Europe for banning US visitors and I hope Canada keeps the border closed to Americans.

  4. DMIND00

    July 2, 2020 at 5:16 am

    Exactly I do not know what the big deal is on wearing a face mask. It needs to be worn because those who are carriers of a virus that do not know they have it spread it by breathing in the air. People who do not want to wear masks are selfish arrogant people. How do they think this virus came to the USA and spread – UNFORTUNATELY IT WAS PASSENGERS TRAVELING ON AIRLINES. TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS IT IS COSTING ALL. So please Airlines keep requiring the masks.

  5. Tino

    July 2, 2020 at 5:19 am

    Don’t like it? Don’t fly. It’s a private company – they could require you wear a funny hat if they wanted to.

    I forgot to add: 15,000 positive tests per 100,000 tests in Florida in the past 14 days. That’s a factor of 1000 higher than cityflyer369’s number.

  6. Gerbs

    July 2, 2020 at 6:25 am

    “Anti-maskers” are walking advertisements for retroactive abortion.

  7. cscasi

    July 2, 2020 at 7:30 am

    We are in the middle of a pandemic. No one likes to be told what to do, but wearing a mask these days is essential. Almost everywhere you go these days you have to have a mask on; going into stores, doctor’s offices, dental offices, restaurants, public transportation, etc.
    So, get over it and comply. Otherwise WALK!
    This is about everyone, not just your pouty little selves.

  8. nycityny

    July 2, 2020 at 8:50 am

    Try making the “choice” to show up for a flight without pants or underwear and see how far that gets you.

    Masks aren’t a “choice.” They are disease prevention apparatus. It’s really simple. Coronavirus is expelled through the nose and mouth and it is absorbed in others by the nose and mouth. Covering everyone’s nose and mouth greatly diminishes the risk of transmission of this deadly virus. Got it, selfish idiots?

  9. DFW_Airwolf


    July 2, 2020 at 9:03 am

    Looking forward to seeing what happens when I weear my so called KKK Hood/Mask the next time I must travel. It is a MASK so it meets YOUR requirement. My requirement is to NOT wear one as I consider it the same as Germany forced Jews to wear a Yellow Star of David on their clothes back during WWII.

  10. Daniel Keller

    July 2, 2020 at 10:40 am

    DFW_Airwolf – If you start out by suggesting wearing a KKK hood and follow that with a comparison to the Jews in Nazi Germany, you simultaneously contradict your entire argument and prove you’re as ignorant as you are selfish.

  11. bayareascott

    July 2, 2020 at 11:50 am

    That’s a terrible analogy, as everyone should be wearing masks to protect others. No religion, race, or anyone else is being singled out. Keep your racist crap with your hood and stay home.

  12. PaulMSN

    July 2, 2020 at 11:56 am

    DFW_Airwolf, If you try to wear it on a flight, you’ll end up getting kicked off. The airline certainly won’t allow racist and offensive clothing of any kind. Your comparison is offensive, too, and an utter logical failure.

  13. dblaneymd

    July 2, 2020 at 8:03 pm

    Feel free to drive if you don’t want to wear a mask. Flying on an airplane most certainly is not a right, but rather a privelege

  14. jimbous

    July 2, 2020 at 9:22 pm

    Anyone who truly thinks that a 25 or 50 cent or a dollar face mask or a home made one offers any viral protection in a FULL plane with other passengers siting 6 inches away from you is at the very best misguided or downright ignorant.
    The United CEO by doing that is offering a false sense of security so that he can pack planes for profit, that’s all.
    These cheap masks do not seal around the face and do not protect the eyes where the virus can attach itself and infect you.
    In a full plane these masks are really a placebo and may offer a mental soothing effect to some.
    This virus enters thru the 5 openings in your face, mouth, nostrils, and eyes.
    That’s why you are told to keep your hands away from your face and wash them for 20 secs, and do not touch the mask.
    The main form of viral transmission is people unconsciously touching their face, eyes/nose/mouth.
    That botlle of water or beer you get from the flight attendant probably carries about the same or more infection risk.
    These cheap face masks may offer some degree of protection in a 50% full plane with passengers spaced at least 1 meter apart with the overhead vents blowing air away from you, sort of an air curtain around you, but offer next to no protection in a packed plane.
    Especially in a transatlantic or cross country flight with others sleeping and snoring with ill fitting masks.
    Even the more expensive N95 masks do not form a perfect face seal.
    Breathing causes a vacuum effect around one’s face during inhalation and the ill fitting/high permeability masks offer minor protection from someone sitting next to you.
    And if the floating viruses land in your eyes, you are infected, so you better get your ski goggles with you in your next full flight.

    Passengers should not be packed in full planes these days.
    If you must travel in a full plane get a full face NBC gas mask with fresh filters, or better still do not fly in a full plane.

  15. azmojo

    July 2, 2020 at 11:47 pm

    We should all respect each other’s opinions about masks. Just as I would not criticize you for your beliefs in the religion of your choice, I would not criticize anyone for their belief that masks are or are not beneficial, nor am I going to assume that there’s a valid reason why someone may not be wearing one, including but not limited to: They are hard to find to buy, they may not be able to afford one, they may have forgotten theirs, theirs may have gotten soiled, they may have a medical condition, and on and on.

  16. sethb

    July 5, 2020 at 9:20 pm

    @jimbous Perhaps you’ve neglected to read that masks are there to protect *other* people from you. As you exhale through a mask, some water droplets (on which the virus rides) are blocked, meaning that you’re less infectious than you would be without a mask.

    I’m aware that some people don’t care whether they pose a threat to the health of others, and I don’t want such people on a flight with me.

  17. bloomz

    July 6, 2020 at 6:42 am

    Cue the fake “Medical conditions” for not wearing masks.

    Actually I’ve heard them already.

  18. Kumar2013

    July 6, 2020 at 4:25 pm

    No problem putting up with additional gear if it is indeed scientifically useful in preventing infection for myself or others but let’s face it – the requirement of a mask can be satisfied with anything from a ‘true’ tight seal mask to a surgical mask that is a little more than a piece of fabric across the face. I even see plenty of people with simple homemade fabric masks that are essentially just loose cotton covers with a good gap around the edges. Since airlines have no way to enforce the “good” masks making a song and dance about masks when a high number are scientifically unhelpful is pretty foolish and seems more like the perception of security (like soldiers and static defences at airports) rather than real measures. Till today I am yet to see a single comprehensive announcement by any airline regulator or industry association that gives some data on just how helpful wearing a mask in a full aircraft really helps.

  19. jimbous

    July 7, 2020 at 8:47 pm

    In reply to your comment above:

    Of course, we all wear masks to “protect” others as well as ourselves, that’s a given.
    However, as I stated in my comment above, this 2-way protection from the average mask most are wearing right now and most are wearing when flying offers at best, minimal protection in a FULL flight. Please, read my comment above very carefully.
    If one counts on these inadequate masks that ONLY cover 3 of the 5 openings in your face that one may get infected, one is just fooling oneself that he/she will be protected or protect others in a FULL flight with practically shoulder-to-shoulder contact.
    If one truly cares about protecting others as well as oneself it’s best NOT to fly in a FULL flight, especially as I said above a multi-hour long distance, transatlantic/transpacific/cross country/ etc., flight. Only a full face, perfect seal mask will protect others and you from infection.
    But if one chooses to fly in a FULL flight with a surgical mask or a homemade mask and expect to protect others or oneself, hey, be my guest, but IF you really care about protecting others you should quarantine or closely monitor yourself for 14 days upon arrival in your destination and notify the airline if you get ill so that others in that flight can be traced and be protected.
    This is NOT a debate about whether or not one should be wearing a mask, BUT on the very limited effectiveness of these every-day masks in a FULL flight.

    Again, the best course of action is NOT to book and board a FULL flight if you really care about infecting others or about not getting infected yourself.

  20. jimbous

    July 7, 2020 at 9:01 pm

    In addition to the above comment, keep in mind that an 100% effective vaccine against this virus may NEVER be realized, keeping in mind that the annual flu vaccine is only about 60% effective, that this virus is mutating fast with at least 3 mutations identified so far in its brief life span, and that a vaccine has not been discovered for similar viruses.

    We hope not, but this may be the new normal for a long time to come, maybe for the lifetime of most of us.

  21. FEasy

    July 8, 2020 at 12:39 am

    Masks are useful in the terminal, at the gate etc. Once on a plane, where you’re seated next to each other for an extended period, they don’t protect much at all. There is no solution to this except to fly at less than half capacity. For now, my solution is not to fly and it’s working out fine.

  22. Orange County Commuter

    July 9, 2020 at 6:15 am

    If you sit near me and won’t wear a mask I will be asking to be moved.

    If you can’t be an adult and wear a mask for a few hours just stay home.

    And if a mask is a violation of your rights then how do you deal with the requirements to wear clothing? It’s time to stand up for all your rights. If you won’t wear a mask go all in, get naked!

  23. johnathome


    July 10, 2020 at 6:18 pm

    Asian countries have a 100 pct acceptance of wearing masks to keep the spread down. Masks aren’t to prevent getting sick but to prevent asymptomatic and people in the early stages of the virus from passing it on to other. So you wear a mask to protect other people. If you don’t want to wear a mask, don’t get on an airplane.

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