A group of nine flight attendants is suing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over the mask mandate.
They assert that the masks are a health and safety issue, which prevents them from doing their job effectively.
A group of nine flight attendants from six states filed suit on March 24 against the CDC to strike down the Federal Transportation Mask Mandate, arguing forcing them to obstruct their normal breathing harms their health and being required to enforce the mandate endangers aviation safety as tens of thousands of passengers refuse to comply.
The nine plaintiffs work for Allegiant, American, Delta, Frontier, Southwest, and United. It’s the first legal challenge to the FTMM filed by flight attendants and the second by airline workers. Ten pilots filed a similar lawsuit last week in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Flight attendants filed the 61-page complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado since plaintiff Victoria Vasenden of Southwest Airlines is based at Denver International Airport and several others often work flights in and out of DEN.
“Masks impair our health and reduce flight safety,” said Vasenden of Reno, Nevada. “We are in planes and airports up to 18 hours a day with zero chance of fresh air. Physicians don’t wear masks that long. That’s assault on the brain, organs, and tissues of the human body. Yet, we are expected to ensure all aspects of the flight remain safe, when masks clearly diminish our capacities.”
Several airlines have ended masking requirements, except those specific to either end of the route (e.g., British Airways, Icelandair). In response to the public demands to end masking theater, U.S. Airlines are pressing the administration to end the transportation masking requirement when the current one ends on April 18.
U.S. Airline officials also want to edit Covid-test requirements, especially as covid is now endemic.
“Now is the time for the administration to sunset federal transportation travel restrictions – including the international predeparture testing requirement and the federal mask mandate – that are no longer aligned with the realities of the current epidemiological environment,” the CEOs of 10 U.S.-based passenger and cargo airlines, including Delta, American and United, wrote in a letter to President Biden.
The letter states that while the airlines and their employees supported the federal mask mandate when it was first implemented, especially because it did away with the possibility for airline-by-airline rules in the early days of the pandemic, they now feel it is no longer necessary.
“The persistent and steady decline of hospitalization and death rates are the most compelling indicators that our country is well protected against severe disease from COVID-19,” the letter states. “Given that we have entered a different phase of dealing with this virus, we strongly support your view that ‘COVID-19 need no longer control our lives.'”
One airline official believes signs point to the mask mandate ending soon.
Delta Air Lines Chief Health Officer Henry Ting said that he believes that the federal mask mandate for airports and airplanes will be lifted on “April 18th or shortly thereafter.”
Speaking at CNBC’s Healthy Returns event on Wednesday, Ting said that while he does not know if the mandate will come down on April 18, the CDC, TSA, and the White House are all “looking closely at this” and will “certainly provide a roadmap.”
“We’ve always known from the beginning of the pandemic that all restrictions should be lifted as soon as it’s safe to do so,” Ting said, adding that there is a transition occurring right now from “a global pandemic to a seasonal respiratory virus.”
It is heartening to see that people accept the reality that “zero covid” is a senseless goal. We will see if the Biden administration continues to cling to masking mandates bitterly.DONATE
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