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Mike’s Musings: Flying and masks- time to move on

As a frequent flyer the last two years have been trying with the mask mandate put in place by our federal government. Flying this past Sunday only exacerbated the situation.
Flying out of Orlando is always a challenge but Sunday “takes the cake.” The line-up at 5 am to get through security was truly a nightmare. I swear the line us a mile long. The end of the line was actually outside the terminal, then it wound through a bunch of checkpoints and down a hallway that was a couple hundred yards long, and then back where it finally got us to the normal starting point.
Thank God, I always get to the airport early. The couple behind me in line checked their watches as we finally got to the normal starting point, and blurted out, it’s already been an hour and five minutes. Most everyone exhibited frayed nerves. On two occasions, I heard shouts and you could see shoving going on as a couple of groups tried to cut in front of others. It was not a good situation, and I can only suspect that several passengers did not make their flight that day.
I can understand, somewhat, the enforcement of wearing masks inside the terminal. Some passengers might exhibit fear of COVID, even though the dreaded virus has pretty much disappeared. Numbers from the areas we circulate our newspaper in, show maybe a dozen people at the most, have contracted COVID in the last week. Many more battle the common cold or flu.
What I don’t understand, however, is the extension of the mandate to wear masks on airplanes. Of all the places you could catch COVID, a commercial airline is the least. That is because airplanes are equipped with HEPA filters that trap 99% of the bacteria and viruses circulating in the air. Additionally the cabin air is exchanged every two to three minutes on a plane. It is almost impossible to catch COVID while in air.
But still our leaders demand that we wear masks, that on an airplane, probably do more harm than good. And unfortunately, my Sunday trip, had a flight attendant, who made it her mission to make sure everyone was obeying the mask mandate to the letter. You didn’t dare have your mask not cover your nose. She would seek you out and admonish you in front of everyone.
My advice would be for us all to lighten up. Stop the mandates, federal government. If you haven’t noticed COVID is no longer the “boogie man” we once thought it was. Most of us are vaccinated or have had COVID at some point or another. And in the last couple of weeks that supposed “boogie man” has left the premises. COVID cases here, are few and far between.
And to you flight attendants who feel it is your duty to strictly enforce, take a chill pill. I have been on several flights where flight attendants have been very tolerant, yet on others, they feel it is their God-given right to demand strict obedience.
COVID kept us in lockdown for two years. Masks which were initially to be worn a couple of weeks, are still being mandated in several areas. It is time to stop and get on with normality.
UPDATE: A few hours after this opinion was written a federal judge struck down the Biden mandate for masks on airplanes and other public transportation. Scenes of airplane passengers celebrating and tossing their masks populated social media. It remains to be seen whether Biden will challenge the judge’s ruling.

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