In my recent travels, I’ve noticed that pilots and flight attendants have modified their pre-flight announcements. We no longer hear about how it is mandatory to wear a face mask that covers your nose and chin and how “neck gaiters” don’t cut it. Instead, the new announcement goes something like this:
“Due to a recent FAA announcement, face coverings are no longer mandatory on domestic flights. Whether passengers decide to wear a mask is a matter of personal choice. We ask that you respect the choices made by other passengers.”
In short, it’s pretty clear that the airlines think the skies aren’t that friendly anymore, and that they need to lecture us on how to behave lest arguments and fisticuffs break out between masked and non-masked passengers.
The fact that the airlines see a need to make that kind of personal behavior statement is weird and sad, but you can’t blame them: there have been multiple incidents of violent behavior by airline passengers in recent months. For what it’s worth, though, I’m not seeing any inclination by fellow passengers to mix it up over masks. Instead, there seems to be a kind of COVID exhaustion at work. Everyone on both sides seems to want to move on, rather than engaging on mask issues.
Let’s hope that this traditional American “live and let live” ‘tude continues to prevail and even spreads to encompass non-COVID issues, too. That would be a refreshing change.