“Hours after a federal judge struck down a nationwide mask requirement on airplanes, trains, buses and other public transportation on Monday, the country’s largest airlines said they would stop requiring masks, ending a practice that had been in place for most carriers for nearly two years.”— The New York Times, 4/18/2022
Welcome to the airport! We’ve got some great news: you no longer need to wear a mask on your flight. Why? Because we’re not scared anymore. Now take off your shoes and put them in this tray so we can check if there’s a bomb in your socks.
That’s right: even though COVID is still dangerous and highly transmissible, we’re just not that worried about it anymore. We’re relaxed. Whatever will be, will be! Now walk through this full-body X-ray machine so we can make sure you didn’t swallow a grenade before you got here.
Two hundred strangers in a small tube in the sky, and any of them could be carrying a new variant of a deadly virus we still don’t fully understand? Who cares! A bottle of shampoo larger than 3.4 ounces? Put your hands in the air and don’t fucking move. That bottle could be carrying anthrax, or worse: expired shampoo.
As an American airline, we don’t want our fellow Americans to feel restricted in any way, and that includes having to wear a light piece of fabric over their mouths for a couple of hours. To be clear, things that are still completely restricted include bowling pins, hiking poles, cutting boards, and Magic 8 Balls. Do the decisions we’ve made recently make any sense? Outlook not so good.
Look, we’re not being unrealistic about all this. The virus hasn’t gone away—our concerns have gone away. We’ve decided to stop being concerned with pretty much anything. Now take a seat in this windowless interrogation room for five hours because your skin color is concerning us.
If you still want to wear a mask on a plane, we won’t stop you. But we’re not going to force any individual passenger to be responsible for the safety of everyone else on this plane. Now, if you happen to be sitting in the emergency exit row, you are responsible for the safety of everyone else on this plane.
So sit back, relax, and breathe in! Ah, isn’t that great? It feels good to not be so anxious anymore, doesn’t it? Now put your goddamn phone on airplane mode or we’re all gonna die.