OPINION: Airlines Are Not Self Regulating

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A letter to the editor by Laura Beverage of Medford, NJ

A neighbor of ours who has been in Florida and unable to return since mid-March due to COVID-19 was finally able to book a flight back to Philadelphia two months later, in mid-May. The specific airline our neighbor flew on matters little as to the focus of this letter. We have spoken to several other folks who have flown on various airlines over the last months, and the stories are all the same. Contrary to airlines’ assurances that there will be no overcrowding or over selling of seats, and that the middle seat in economy class will remain empty, such is not happening.

Dr. Joseph Fair, a healthy forty-two year old well known epidemiologist and virologist, who has regularly been seen on the Today Show since the pandemic first began, spoke to how he believed he fell ill with the virus just a few weeks ago. He was flying home, in coach, wearing a mask and gloves, but no goggles, and believes he contracted it through his eyes. He spoke to getting on the plane, and seeing there were no empty middle seats despite what he and other travelers had been told. His advice to viewers from his hospital bed – get off the plane if you see this happening.

This writer has no firsthand knowledge of specific other sanitizing methods all airlines are quick to assure us are being taken, but this much appears to be true from those that have flown since the virus began: the airlines’ pledge to self-regulate is simply not being met. Thus, the federal government needs to assume this responsibility before countless more needless illnesses and deaths are sure to occur.

Editor’s note: Related article: Fliers Beware: Poor Mask Discipline Endemic Even Among Airline, Airport Staff

Editor’s note: The opinions in this letter are the author’s only.

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