The airlines have quickly become a choke point for the face mask orders. On the ground you have a choice. If Walgreens turns you away, you can go to CVS. If CVS turns you away, you can go to the locally owned place. If Menards turns you away, you can go to Lowe’s. If Lowe’s turns you away, you can order online. If Sprouts turns you away, you can go to a farmers market. If the farmers market turns you away, you can go meet the farmer around back and buy what you need out of the back of his truck. Most of those places don’t turn people away, anyway, at least not if you invoke an exemption. As predicted, the lockdown doesn’t end when some blue ribbon panel says it ends. The lockdown comes to an end as every locked down person
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The airlines have quickly become a choke point for the face mask orders.
On the ground you have a choice. If Walgreens turns you away, you can go to CVS. If CVS turns you away, you can go to the locally owned place. If Menards turns you away, you can go to Lowe’s. If Lowe’s turns you away, you can order online. If Sprouts turns you away, you can go to a farmers market. If the farmers market turns you away, you can go meet the farmer around back and buy what you need out of the back of his truck. Most of those places don’t turn people away, anyway, at least not if you invoke an exemption.
As predicted, the lockdown doesn’t end when some blue ribbon panel says it ends. The lockdown comes to an end as every locked down person individually determines that they will return to living life normally again. Each day becomes more and more normal.
In The Air, It’s A Little Different
In the air, it’s a little different. It’s not different because a passenger is captive. It’s different because there is effectively no competition.
When there’s virtually no completion in an industry, that often points to one of two scenarios:
1.) A product is the best that anyone could come up with and the cheapest and it makes everyone so incredibly happy that no one would ever even dare challenge the single provider of that amazing good or service. That does not describe the commercial aviation industry in the United States. The other option is that:
2.) Government thugs and mandates weigh so heavily on an industry that there is little competition in that industry, and barriers to entry are nearly impossible to surmount, so the consumer is left without a business that can provide the consumer exactly what he or she wants. Unfortunately for consumers, that describes commercial aviation, banking, health care, and many other industries.
Don’t Get Caught Saying Tropes Like “Monopoly” Or “Free Rider Problem”
But there is one industry that it doesn’t even come close to describing: the internet. People call Google and Facebook monopolies. Please don’t be one of those people. Monopolies exist when a company makes everyone as happy as possible, or when a government protects a big player from competition. Neither takes place in tech, at least not yet.
There’s lots of competition for Google and Facebook. Some of the competition is pretty awful, and the consumer correspondingly chooses to use Google and Facebook, which makes those two incredibly powerful, but it’s not deserving of being called a monopoly.
When you call things a monopoly, or when you argue that externalities are bad, or when you call “free riders,” a “problem,” as in the common business school phrase “the free rider problem,” you work against freedom. Don’t fall for it.
When you make that mistake, you invite a bigger government to step into your world in a more magnified way, and boy will they figure out a way to screw up whatever they touch.
If you want to know why all the airlines are behaving lockstep in line with each other, it’s because there’s nearly no competition in the airline industry, which is because of government’s protective involvement in the industry.
Tyrannical Government Behaves Tyrannically
As can be expected, the face mask choke point is taking place in this heavily regulated anti-competitive industry.
Government and the corresponding lack of competition is one of the causes of this.
There’s a positive aspect here too. If you’ve been following any of my work on this topic ( here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here you know that there’s always an exemption. Let’s go through that a little.
The Same Four Steps Will Help You Through This Problem
That means you are doing this or some variation of this:
1.) Check the written face mask exemption policy.
2.) Figure out how you fit into the face mask exemptions.
3.) Requests your exemption.
4.) Confirm the details of how you fit.
Obfuscation Of Information Makes These Four Steps Really Hard, But Why?
At this point, I am more knowledgeable about airline face mask orders than any of the dozens of airline employees I’ve ever spoken to about the topic. Most employees trust Fox, CNN, NPR, or whatever garbage news source they pretend to learn about reality from.
That means, even those tasked with checking people in at the airport will say things like “There are absolutely no exemptions!” even though their airlines actually have exemptions.
The lady at the counter will have a very different understanding of the rule than the guy you spoke to on the phone at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, who will, in turn, have a very different understanding of the rule than the guy you spoke to on the phone at 5:17 p.m. on Tuesday.
“Why is this?” you may ask.
For some two decades, United has made it impossible for anyone to walk through an airport without humming “Rhapsody in Blue.” The marketing departments of the airlines know how to communicate a message. If a message is poorly communicated by an airline, it’s either because no one in the corporate hierarchy cares enough to communicate it well, or because someone decided that it should be poorly communicated.
Airline employees intimately connected to this topic have informed me that the latter is true.
“But, why is this?” Well, for goodness’ sake, the answer is because no one has a clue what they are doing, and they are pretty sure that their policies won’t stand up to scrutiny.
The insurance company has one view. The legal team has three views that are in clear dispute with each other. The C-Suite thinks something else. And none of them want to make a gutsy decision, just like almost everyone else in this awful cowardly land since on or about the Ides of March 2020 when the United States descended into a state of corona communism.
The big airlines are very difficult to get a straight answer from. Luckily, I’ve spent enough time traveling during this lockdown to still have gotten through my life without wearing a face mask, despite living in the most locked down city on this planet.
I’ve got a two point plan for those who are entirely unable to fly with a face mask on.
1.) If you’ve got a medical exemption, use it.
2.) Beef jerky and chewing gum.
If You Need A Medical Exemption, Just Use Delta & Bring A Doctor’s Note
Most large airlines in the United States not only tell you that they don’t offer medical exemptions, they actually follow through with it.
Luckily, one airline still has a somewhat clear face mask exemption policy. Delta. The following is, more-or-less, what you can expect.
If you walk up to the ticket counter and claim a medical exemption, about 1-in-5 employees will be trained well enough on the topic to not yell at you “No exemption!” while trying to hand you a clean face mask with their dirty hands from their big stack of surgical masks and waving it in your face.
If you don’t talk to the right one of the five, you just need to keep persisting politely, until someone says to the right person “This guy wants a face mask exemption. We don’t have face mask exemptions do we?” Eventually someone behind the counter will say “I’ll handle it.”
What will happen next, is that you will be asked if you have an exemption. Then you will be put on a telephone to speak to a Delta doctor at the University of Pittsburgh. The Delta doctor will ask you some questions such as:
“What is your age?”
“Why do you think you are unable to fly with a face mask?”
“Do you have a doctors note?”
“Are you currently being treated for this condition?”
“What medicines are you taking?”
“What techniques have you used to try to tolerate a face mask?”
Feel free to answer or decline to answer any of them. Also, at any time you feel uncomfortable in this process, you are likely to be able to decline to board and get a full refund from Delta on your ticket.
If you have a doctor’s note that says something like this, you might get an exemption from the Delta doctor. “This man has severe advanced heart disease. We have exhausted all options for alleviating his difficulty breathing. He must not be asked to wear a mask at all. He is safe to fly.”
Or if you have a note that says the following, then that request from your doctor might be honored. “This woman has severe advanced lung disease. We have exhausted all options for alleviating her difficulty breathing. She must not be asked to wear a mask for more than 5 out of every 20 minutes. She is also safe to fly.”
What If You Don’t Have A Doctor’s Note?
Even if you don’t have a doctor’s note like this, you might still be able to fly without a mask.
If you suffer panic attacks while wearing a mask and you speak about your difficulty breathing to the Delta doctor on the phone, and you don’t have a doctors note, and you’ve had this problem for years, and it’s always been under control, and you don’t take medicine for it, and haven’t needed to see the doctor for it for many years, and the face masks have been a real problem for you, then you might be offered an opportunity to board the flight and remove your mask every five minutes out of 30 minutes or every five minutes out of 60 minutes.
You won’t be able to go maskless. You’ll need to agree to alternate between the mask on and off.
This doctor isn’t so much a doctor as he is Delta’s face mask compliance and negotiation specialist. His job on the phone seems to be to convince you to only take off your face mask every 25 minutes. He’s a gatekeeper. Tell him that 5 minutes out of every 10 minutes would be better. Settle for whatever his counter offer is, thank him for his time, and then pass the phone back to the ticket agent.
You’re supposed to allot an additional one hour for this process, but it really takes around seven minutes.
That leg of the solution is then handled.
It’s very unlikely anyone will time you.
If there is anyone along the way who you will see for less than five minutes, this will get you past them. If they give you a hard time, which they probably won’t, just say ‘Delta says it’s okay,’ or ‘I have an accommodation.’ That will probably be enough.
Now this does not handle the whole problem. This may only get you through TSAs, into the lounge, through the gate, and onto the plane unmasked.
The next step of the plan is required in order to go fully unmasked the entire time.
Beef Jerky And Chewing Gum
Have you ever chewed a piece of gum for an hour? I have. I’ve also watched others do the same. It’s hard to tell what the person is actually chewing when they are chewing gum.
Have you ever chewed beef jerky? I have. That stuff can be a real jaw workout. I’ve also watched others do the same. It’s hard to tell what a person is chewing when they are chewing beef jerky.
Airline face mask orders have exemptions for eating and drinking. You can’t drink water every ten seconds for a three hours flight. But you can do something that produces the same effect.
You can open a bag of beef jerky on your lap, put a stick of gum in your mouth, and every time you are asked to remask can point to the beef jerky or your moving jaw. If you want to take it even further you can say “I’m eating.”
The Thing You Can’t Say
If anyone says to you “Are you refusing to wear a mask?” say “I was cleared by a Delta doctor,” or “I’m eating.”
Do not say “Yes, I refuse to wear a mask.” If you refuse to wear a mask, you probably won’t be able to board your return flight back. Delta claims to have blacklisted 150 flyers as of late August 2020 for refusing to wear a mask.
I have no idea when the Covid fear campaign and face masks will end, though Misters Biden and Trump seem to both believe that face masks will be done by mid-November. It would be awful if it went on longer and you ended up banned long-term from one of the airlines in this already anti-competitive industry, simply because you misspoke.
Before traveling, do your best to make sure that the telehealth “Clearance-to-Fly” system is still in place at Delta. That’s what this process is called. It won’t last forever. Something else will replace it.
The big airlines, true to their heavily regulated methods of protecting themselves from consumer-pleasing competition, have been clamoring for a face mask mandate from the federal government, which the government, to date, has refused to grant.
Delta’s Best Phone Number For Face Masks
While I have found Delta customer service to the helpful, I have found this page of Delta’s and the accompanying phone number to be the most useful customer service contact on this topic:
“Customers worldwide with general questions or concerns regarding services for those traveling with a disability can contact Delta at 404-209-3434.”
They won’t be able to answer many details, but they should be able to tell you with some accuracy if the face mask exemptions and the Delta “Clearance-to-Fly” program are still in effect, since they are more likely to interact with the program than the average customer service representative at the airline.
The same page cites “14 CFR Part 382,” a federal law entitled “Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel,” a topic that some people have chosen to delve deeper into on the topic of face masks exemptions and air travel, as an alternate path. I have not. Beef jerky and chewing gum are effective enough.
The Hoops One Must Jump Through To Have Their Legitimate Exemptions Honored
The airlines are unfortunately very close to an across-the-board ban on face mask exemptions. There’s not a lot of wiggle room. Millions of people have a legitimate face mask exemption for legitimate conditions. Yet the government protected airline industry is nearly lockstep saying to those millions of people “Stay home!”
If you can’t wear a face mask, they want you to stay home. If you still persist, they want you to be entirely unaware of the process, so unaware that you don’t even want to take the risk of traveling. If that doesn’t get you, they put out press releases saying that you could be one of those 150 banned passengers if you try to fly without a mask. If you indefatigably persist after that total obfuscation, they will use a phone call with a Delta-paid doctor, who has no allegiance to you, to use the authority of his white coat to bully you into doing something that could be dangerous for you.
That’s just another step toward the idea that we are not individuals, that medical interventions should be determined by plebiscite, that your neighbor should have just as much of a say about your own body as you do.
Fluoride in the water, mosquito abatement, other mass spraying of chemicals, statins in the water, forced vaccines, face masks for all, and so many other topics — these are personal medical decisions that some believe should be levied across entire populations by vote, at the behest of the public health profession. They are the same band of anti-social and destructive Marxists who plunged us into six months of economic and human misery claiming that they needed to implement corona communism to save 2 million Americans in 2020, an entirely false and disproven claim. The further away from the Ides of March, and more sober we get, the more evident it becomes that the people entrusted to handle this, deserved no trust at all.
One day, not long from now, it may be widely understood that these psychopaths with their heavy-handed solutions killed ten or twenty million in the name of saving a few thousand. Whatever other plans they have up their sleeves I am not privy to. Folks like Bill Gates say such twisted things, that if even 1% of it were true, the whole public health profession should be deported to a South Pacific atoll and left there to build exactly the society they want, far removed from the rest of us and far removed from any role of authority or public trust.
Disobeying An Unjust Order Is Individual Nullification
For those millions of Americans, with legitimate face mask exemptions, I’ve written this piece. When the law ceases to make room for an individual’s humanity, the maker of the laws must be reminded that the law was made for man and not man for the law.
And if you don’t want to go through the trouble of reminding lawmakers of such a thing, you can just individually nullify the tyrannical orders they give you.
On airplanes, at this moment in time, that means you bring a bag of beef jerky, a few sticks of gum, and fly Delta.
Send me your stories from the face mask compliance checkpoint, and help me put an end to this tyranny.