No Federal Mandates For Masks On Planes Or Empty Middle Seats

As some airlines try to sell every seat on every flight, the Trump administration urges them to leave some seats empty and wants passengers to wear masks, but neither will be required.

7/3/2020 8:00:00 AM

The Trump administration is urging airlines to leave some seats empty on planes — but has stopped short of requiring it. Federal COVID-19 guidelines also encourage all passengers to wear masks. Again, the administration won't mandate it.

As some airlines try to sell every seat on every flight, the Trump administration urges them to leave some seats empty and wants passengers to wear masks, but neither will be required.

It encourages airlines and airports to promote social distancing, enhance disinfection and cleaning procedures, create barriers such as plastic shields at counters, conduct health assessments of passengers and employees and collect passenger information for possible contact tracing; all are measures most airlines and airports have already implemented, as they follow recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention months ago.

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A Transportation Department press releasesays,"The guidance will enhance public health risk reduction to support an increase in travel volume while ensuring that aviation safety and security are not compromised.""This document provides clear guidance to airlines and airports to protect the traveling public, and we encourage people to pay attention to it," added Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in a statement.

But traveler and consumer advocacy groups say the guidelines are inadequate."Americans are rightfully concerned that they may be putting their health and safety at risk if they choose to fly during a global pandemic," said William McGee, aviation advisor for Consumer Reports."The DOT shouldn't leave it up to the airlines and airports to decide which COVID-19 safety precautions they will follow to keep passengers safe."

Consumer groups, airline employee unions and some members of Congress say the Trump administration needs to create mandatory public health standards to ensure passengers are protected when they travel during the pandemic."There's very few, I think, worse environments to be in than trapped in a tube that's crammed full of people who are rubbing shoulders with recirculated air for five or six hours while flying across the country," said Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., chair of the House Transportation Committee, who says the administration"should require masks under the penalty of federal law on airplanes."

While many airlines are requiring passengers masks or face coverings, enforcement has been inconsistent. United, Delta and a few others say they have removed some passengers from planes and prohibited others from boarding for not wearing masks, but such enforcement actions have only been taken recently after a rising number of complaints from other passengers.

Airbus Announces Job Cuts Amid Massive Dip In Aircraft OrdersAnd flight attendants are somewhat frustrated because they are the ones who often must police the mask wearing and social distancing requirements."Without a federal mandate and a coordinated effort to address these issues, we're left to the airlines putting in place policies that are inconsistent, leave people confused and leave us to deal with the consequences on the front lines," said Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants.

The new federal guidance encouraging airlines to leave some seats open comes in a week in which American Airlines joined rival United and discount carrier Spirit in saying they'll fill every seat on every plane if there is enough demand.It's a move that drew sharp criticism from two of the nation's top public health officials in a Senate committee hearing on the coronavirus pandemic Tuesday.

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"I think it sends the wrong message," said Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."Obviously that is something that is of concern. I'm not sure what went into that decision making," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease and a member of the White House coronavirus task force told senators."I think in the confines of an airplane that (lack of physical distancing) becomes even more problematic."

Other airlines, including Delta, Southwest and JetBlue say they will continue to temporarily block out middle seats or keep planes no more than two-thirds full in order to create more space between passengers.But officials at United and American defend their decisions to fully book flights saying social distancing is impossible on a plane. Even if the middle seats are empty, passengers are less than three feet apart, and there is even less distance between rows in economy seating.

Read more: NPR »

But masks work, right? STOP ENCOURAGING AND EGGING FOR AUTHORITARIANISM. THE MASKS DO NOT HELP. EVERYBODY KNOWS THEY DON'T HELP. ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING ANYBODY WHO WOULD ADVOCATE FOR 'MANDATES' ON 'WHAT PEOPLE WEAR'. If you want to wear a mass and incubate germs on your mouth. Fine. But why tyranny? Yeah, there's that pesky liberty and freedom thing again. If you vote Democrat, you won't have to worry about liberty and freedom ever again.

I will remember what delta did here to help increase chances my student arrived safely Breaking news: Federal government provides recommendations and guidelines but refuses to impose unlawful mandates on its citizens who should have the freedom to act in accordance with that guidance without being forced to do so.

Protection of statues✅ Protection of humans0️⃣ If you're scared of flying.......don't fly. $$$$$$ talks!!!!!! Worried about it, don't fly. definitely sounds like dictatorships right marxists? The lack of federal leadership with cost the US lives and money. People will NOT go out if they don’t feel safe. We had no choice but to give them a bailout they will only have to pay back 30% of. And we can’t do anything to keep humans safe? It’s because tangerine rapist wants to look good to his business friends. Why is he still in office, America?

I’m not getting on a plane anytime soon. People should be able to choose what they do with their bodies. Cowardly. and you guys are taking a side...in your nonpartisan, govt-funded capacity as information disseminators So they get all that sweet bailout money and no strings to protect the public health. I'm sure the GOP would praise Jesus.

brutapologist And a director of GOP communications is complaining about all of this, this is all madness. It's ridiculous that planes are flying passengers in the middle of a raging pandemic, with 130,000 dead and 50,000 cases per day. Why isn't everyone calling for the airlines to stop spreading the disease?

Trump is such a dictator. There are few industries greedier and more self-serving than passenger airlines. I was on a PACKED flight last week. I couldn't believe it. I was expecting the middle seats to be left but they weren't. They asked everyone to wear a mask but so many weren't wearing it over their noses. Please don't fly right now unless you have to!!

I've flown both Alaska and Delta recently and they are filling 2/3 full. The US is a joke. Just got off a united flight. Probably 85% full. People took their masks off during flight and attendants did not ask them to put masks back on. Why have the rule if you’re not going to enforce it and risk getting all passengers sick?

As a fascist dictator he sure does a lousy job at ordering people Airlines are losing money. Gov’t subsidies and loans expire soon. A reasonable policy to prevent airlines from selling middle seats at discounts would be for the government to buy those seats. Probably requires an act of Congress. Here's one time I'm kinda sorta agreeing with the airlines. Leaving the middle seat open is probably not going to make a difference. If you're flying on a plane with someone who has COVID, chances are an open middle seat will not prevent you from getting it.

Travel will be missed. It will save my department a ton of money! Airlines are already making it mandatory no? And the middle seat it silly. You’re in a plane! You can’t social distance in a plane 🤦‍♂️ I am sure they are doing that. As I am certain unicorns exist. A few hours to catch the virus, a few days or weeks to spread it, a few more hours to spread it on the return flight, and then weeks to spread it at home. I don't see a problem.

Why get on a plane when you’re just going to be quarantined. Tricky bastards are finding the loopholes to marshal law. We need to take the politics out of this!!! How stupid! Do you think airlines will be more likely to comply if it was a requirement by the government? GOOD Rightio. Clear as mud. They should do this for public transit metrolosangeles

That’s why IFlyAlaska! AlaskaAir already mandated masks and empty middle seats months ago! I’d really like to see curtains between rows. Anything that will catch and hold droplets. This isn’t hard folks, the virus hitches a ride on water vapor exiting your mouth hole. If something gets in its way, it will just cling to it... and eventually die.

Because they take no responsibility or leadership. Major failure of realDonaldTrump. Unfit to serve. Killed over 130,000 Americans. This is why companies need to take matters into their own hands as a public health crisis. It may not be mandated by the federal government, but they can certainly enforce it as their own health policy.

Flying incubators Urging and Encouraging are as useful as Thoughts and Prayers What the administration won't mandate will have to be addressed by lawsuits. They just don’t know how to help. The airlines need to make their own mandate. Don’t really on trump to do anything. Their administration does not care about the pandemic. It’s horrifying

can we please vote in people who will take this seriously Trum is crazy ! pnOnTwitter Without mandates nothing will happen

Wearing a mask has become politicized. Science says it shouldn’t be.Wearing a mask has become politicized. Science says it shouldn't be. Science is science. You can’t take every thing. gain & loss is a choice. America is the only country that has people stupid enough to believe the coronavirus is a hoax and that wearing a mask is fascism. This is what happens when you elect a narcissistic conman with zero political experience or intellect 🙄

Face shields AND face masks now mandatory on Qatar AirwaysMiddle Eastern carrier Qatar Airways says it will supply passengers with protective kits including masks, face shields and gloves when flying on its planes. The face shields are obligatory for economy class passengers unless they're eating or drinking. Good for That's absolutely ridiculous, masks on planes sure fine but a full on shield is too much. If it's so unsafe we shouldn't be traveling at all... ...only required for economy class. All part of the agenda.

Blocking middle seats on planes is a 'PR strategy, not a safety strategy,' United saysUnited dismissed the effectiveness of blocking middle seats on board, calling it a 'PR strategy' Bullshit ! SoBs put my mother on a packed flight from DC to Boston. I will never fly United again. Even if there were no C19, the way airlines have stuffed people into these flying tubes is, reprehensible. Jamming 25 sardines into a 10 sardine can....

National mask mandate could work better than lockdowns, new report suggestsA national mask mandate could be more effective than lockdowns, and could save the US from a 5% hit to economic growth, according to a new report from Goldman Sachs. You have to cover your nose with the mask for it to work. Otherwise it’s just a dirty blowhole for virus. Someone didn’t pick a good photo for this otherwise informative tweet. He’ll yea!! It'd be unenforceable. Not to mention illegal.

A National Mask Mandate Would Literally Boost The EconomyA national mask mandate would allow more of the country to safely reopen and thus, would improve the economy This man has no understanding of how economies work.

Pence vows to 'keep opening up America' as U.S. sets new record for coronavirus casesPence told CNBC's 'Squawk on the Street' that the White House will stay with state leaders 'every step of the way as they continue to take steps to mitigate the expansion of the coronavirus.' Puleaaasee, Pence gets all tingling thinking of a mandate Will he change his tune at 100k cases per day? Putin's dirt on TRUMPLEthinskin & Russian hack of Republican Party SCORED MAJOR INCRIMINATING INTEL AGAINST the Castrated GOP as they BLOWtardDonnie & IGNORE the BLOOD of DEAD AMERICAN SOLDIERS on their hands courtesy of Putiny on the Bounty GOPBetrayedAmerica BidenHarris2020