Flight Plan

Fasten your face mask, please

K Giriprakash | Updated on May 02, 2021

Stay safe: Efforts are being made to enforce the wearing of masks by all airlines   -  Getty Images/iStockphoto

Will masks be the norm even after the pandemic ends?

Aviation enthusiast Ben Schlappig writes in his blog One Mile At A Time that while most people hope masks will not be required on planes for good, they are likely to be around for at least a couple more years. “Then again, I can’t help but wonder if this will just be another policy that the airline industry keeps in place forever, as with so many policies that came before this,” he writes.

What are the norms that are still around? One is not being allowed to take liquids of over 100 ml through security, out of fear that they might be explosive, and another one entails taking one’s shoes off at the airport security because in 2001 a man — later known as the “shoe bomber” — had tried to trigger a bomb blast by wearing a pair of shoes packed with explosives on a flight.

So, will masks at some point in time be made mandatory for all time? As of now, it is not the case, but efforts are being made to enforce the wearing of masks by all airlines. The Indian regulator, DGCA, has made violation of the norm a punishable offence. Those not wearing masks will not only be deplaned but also put on a no-fly list — that is, not allowed to fly — for three months in India.

Similar moves are taking place elsewhere. Alaska Airlines, for example, has decided to issue a yellow card warning, something that is common in a football match, to passengers not wearing mask. They will also be banned for a period of time, if necessary. Delta plans to go a step further — those unmasked on a flight will not only be deplaned but banned for life from travelling on the airline.

Did someone say paranoia? No, it’s just a word that rhymes with it — corona.


Published on May 02, 2021

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