Commercial air travel in the Mizelle Age

This is a report on a trip from PBI-DCA-PBI, April 21-24. Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle struck down the Biden Administration’s mask order on April 18. (Friends on Facebook have been continuously posting reminders that Judge Mizelle is “not qualified.” In other words, a confused 80-year-old is well qualified to be President of the U.S., but a sharp-minded 35-year-old cannot be a judge.)

The PBI airport still had a few “masks required signs”:

Most of the advertising at PBI was geared toward selling real estate to those fleeing the Lands of Lockdown:

I estimate that 15 percent of the waiting passengers were masked here in majority-Democrat Palm Beach County. Contrast to a friend who was simultaneously flying SFO to EWR (he’s been a righteous supporter of masks, Biden, lockdowns, etc., but somehow is still participating in COVID-19-spreading activities such as travel) who reported 85-90 percent voluntary mask compliance at SFO and only 10 percent masked in Newark. Being in the airport was, despite the lack of audio announcements and signs regarding masks, not as relaxing as it might have been. The PA system was freed up for frequent reminders regarding unattended baggage and TSA liquid policies.

We were welcomed onto the plane by an unmasked flight attendant. The Followers of Science row was directly behind me, but even though were going from mostly-Democrat Palm Beach County to all-Democrat Washington, D.C., only a small minority of passengers chose to wear masks. (In other words, they voted for politicians promising to impose mask orders, but when given the choice won’t wear a mask themselves.)

The flight was on time and passengers, except maybe for the two behind me and their brothers, sisters, and binary-resisters in Science, cheered when the flight attendant announced that masks were optional. I witnessed no air rage.

I don’t remember any real estate ads in the D.C. airport. Here’s one for the central planners, though. All that they have to do to beat inflation is picture themselves winning:

The percentage of masked passengers and workers at DCA was no higher than at PBI, despite DCA being located right next to the twin hearts of Science (Anthony Fauci’s office at NIH and Dr. Jill Biden’s office).

On the return trip, I noticed a legacy “face coverings required” sign at DCA as well as a depressing Chick-fil-A (closed due to it being a Sunday):

Once again, JetBlue was on time and everyone was in a good mood. The lady sitting next to me had moved from Bethesda to Florida two months ago “for the freedom”. She and her husband (in “wealth management”) had returned for a wedding. They were not wearing masks.

We’re still left with a big question regarding each masked traveler. If he/she/ze/they is concerned enough about COVID-19 to wear a mask voluntarily, why isn’t he/she/ze/they concerned enough to stay home? Nobody held a gun to his/her/zir/their head and forced him/her/zir/them to travel by commercial airline or, indeed, to travel at all. The answer can’t be “an N95 mask protects against all viral attacks” because (1) not all of the masked travelers are wearing N95 masks, and (2) countries that imposed forced N95 masking, e.g., Germany, still had exponential plagues (i.e., two-way N95 masking failed to stop COVID-19 so what hope is there for one-way masking?).

4 thoughts on “Commercial air travel in the Mizelle Age

  1. Here in Maskachusetts, my father and I rented a minivan this morning and got there just as the place opened to pick it up. We were the only ones in the rental office and the guy running the place was unmasked. For some reason his tablet wouldn’t sync up with their other IT equipment, so he had to enter everything the old fashioned way – via keyboard and mouse connected to what would have been a supercomputer in 2005. While he was pecking away at the keyboard I said: “Well, it looks like IT is as reliable as it ever was but at least we don’t have to wear masks behind plexiglass screens any more.”

    He laughed. He was a bright young guy running the place by himself (obviously he had not had his healing marijuana that morning b/c he was sharp and sober and he opened the place right on time.) He said: “I don’t know if it’s right or wrong, but I always thought they were stupid. The way people wore them, you knew it wouldn’t work anyway.”

    I said: “I think you’re absolutely right. And it was a lot of money down the drain and a lot of stress on a lot of people.”

    He said: “I never saw the point. People get in the car and take off the masks and sit together in the car without them.”

    He was a smart person, prompt and efficient. No hassles.

    I said: “Well, for better or worse we’re free of them and I’m glad.”

    He said: “Me too.”

    Then he printed out the rental agreement, I initialed in 5 places, signed in two, did the walkaround and off we went.

    [Aside to philg: The 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan Flex Fuel (E-85 compatible) has some nice features but what I think is an unrefined, underpowered and quirky drivetrain. It LUNGES away from a stop at low speeds with just a touch of throttle for some reason – but then it feels woefully underpowered at highway speeds unless you really kick the transmission down. The “stow and go” seats are nice, however – they work very well. I don’t think it’s as good a minivan as an Odyssey with the 280 hp V6.]

    • And now that I think about it: why haven’t airlines and aircraft manufacturers made something like the equivalent of the Grand Caravan Stow-and-Go seats? I know space and weight are at a premium on aircraft, so why not some removable/stowable seats that are as sturdy and well-anchored as the ones in a Grand Caravan? Want some extra space between seats? Just pull the levers, unlatch them and either stow them or take them out. They’re awesome and acrobatic!

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