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It Isn’t Just Passengers Who Are Fed up With Airplane Mask Mandates

(AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

At this point, it seems the only ones who enjoy mask mandates on airplanes and in airports work for the Biden administration. The requirements are now being targeted by a seemingly unlikely group of people: pilots and flight attendants.

The Epoch Times reported that 10 airline pilots and nine flight attendants have filed a lawsuit against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) over the continuing effort to require passengers and staff to wear face masks ostensibly to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The complaint, which was filed on March 24, argues that “While forcing them to obstruct their normal breathing harms their health, the requirement to enforce the mandate on travelers also endangers aviation safety as tens of thousands of passengers refuse to comply,” according to The Epoch Times.

The plaintiffs are employees of major airlines like American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and several others. It is the first lawsuit filed by flight attendants and the second filed by pilots.

The flight attendants suggested that the mask requirements, which CEOs of major airlines have said are unnecessary, have caused trouble for workers and made their jobs harder. The suit states that the plaintiffs have “seen up close and personal the chaos in the sky created by the FTMM” and noted the “thousands of reports to the Federal Aviation Administration of ‘unruly’ passenger behavior” that has occurred since the measure was put into place.

Last year, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported 5,981 unruly passenger incidents, 4,290 of which involved masks. In the first three months of this year, 961 reports of unruly passengers were reported, 635 of which involved masks. Nevertheless, the CDC persists in maintaining these impotent requirements.

Alaina Trocano, the lead plaintiff in the flight attendants’ lawsuit, told the Times how the mandate has affected employees.

“We’ve been playing the game with the masks for two years,” she explained. “Some of us got furloughed during COVID. I was one of the furloughees. Many have taken leave. One of the flight attendants in our lawsuit quit over the mandate.”

From The Epoch Times:

Trocano recalled how, during a flight in December 2021, she began having difficulty breathing. She experienced light-headedness, headaches, and shortness of breath. When she took off her mask to get some air, she said a passenger immediately began harassing her.

“Even after I told him I couldn’t breathe, he continued to harass me about it,” she said.

Trocano also explained that the requirements have heightened tensions between flight attendants and passengers and said the work environment is “filled with hostility between passengers and crewmembers.” She noted that altercations between passengers have become commonplace to the point that one wonders “which flight is going to be the one where something really bad happens.”

The plaintiff continued explaining how the requirements take away from their usual duties:

“We’re not supposed to be the mask police. I’m supposed to be making sure people are safely wearing their seatbelt in case there is turbulence, not worrying about which passengers are going to get into a fight 30,000 feet in the air. That’s just not a good place to have conflict. There’s so much confusion about the legality of this. That creates conflict as well.”

It makes sense that airline workers would be taking action on this matter – they are the ones who have to deal with it the most. It can’t be easy working 12-hour days with a cloth diaper on one’s face, can it?

This lawsuit is just the latest in a series of moves to push the Biden administration to abandon their fixation on mask mandates on planes. Ken Paxton, Texas’ attorney general, along with a member of Congress, filed a lawsuit against the White House last month over mask mandates. Lawmakers like Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) are also fighting back against the requirements.

The mask requirement was set to expire on March 18 after President Joe Biden used the Omicron variant to extend it back in December. But the CDC extended the date again and the measure is set to expire on April 18, assuming the agency doesn’t concoct another excuse to keep it in place. But with the amount of backlash against continued mandates, it does not seem much likely they will survive much longer.

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