An Open Letter to the Airline Industry
Dear Airline Industry,
You want us to fly again, right? The thing I miss the most since the pandemic hit is flying. My family lives too far away to make driving feasible, and I adore traveling and meeting new people. I don’t think anyone really loves being squished into small airline seats, but we like where planes can take us and the speed (generally) with which they do it.
The airline industry is hemorrhaging. I have friends in the field—pilots, flight attendants, agents—and they’re losing their jobs. I want to help them by flying. It is definitely the safest way to travel, and that’s a solid endorsement from a licensed private pilot whose husband, an experimental test pilot, was killed as a result of a plane crash.
It isn’t that I don’t trust the airlines to sterilize and take precautions due to COVID 19. I think they are doing that. I also believe airports and TSA agents are being careful. It’s the passengers I don’t trust. I would fly tomorrow if somehow, I could be assured that everyone entering an airport would keep a mask on at all times, and particularly while onboard the aircraft.
I’ve seen pictures of maskless, arguing passengers or of those wearing masks incorrectly. I also see photos of defiant guests, a drink clutched in one hand, insisting they don’t have to wear a mask because they are drinking—for the entire flight. I’m appalled at this lack of manners and decency. When did we become a nation that only cares about ourselves? My husband died keeping us all safe in the sky, and he’d be disgusted that people are rebelling against wearing a mask. After the sacrifice he made, this is the least we can do for each other.
In lieu of a rapid test with accurate, instant results before entering an airport, masks are all we have. Social distancing is clearly not possible on an airplane, but masks do work, despite the conspiracy theories to the contrary. I would fly again if the entire aviation industry would mandate correct mask-wearing. Win me and others back by escorting people violating the rules out of the airport and putting them on no-fly lists until there is a vaccine. Everyone must do it—every airport, every airline. Clearly, allowing each state to set its own rules has not worked. The lack of leadership at the top has caused death, suffering, lost jobs, and misery.
To win me back, dear airlines, you must all agree to strict rules and then enforce them. If you do, I’ll return, and I have loads of trips planned.