A union representing the nation's flight attendants has called for the US federal government to ban all leisure travel by air for now, among other requests in an open letter to two U.S. cabinet members.
The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA's letter to the Secretaries of Transportation and Health and Human Services calls for the government to provide masks to all passengers entering airports and to require their use within airports and on planes. The union also wants the government to force airlines to provide masks, disposable gloves, alcohol wipes and gel, and other personal protective equipment to flight attendants and crew on all flights.
(Given that taxpayers just forked over several billion dollars to the airline industry, they ought to have plenty of money to pay for that, right?)
The letter goes to on to request that the U.S. Department of Transportation "take further action to limit the spread of the virus
by restricting air travel to only that necessary to continue essential services." The letter acknowledges that lawmakers might have to provide temporary anti-trust exemptions to allow airlines to coordinate schedules.
"We believe that protecting this essential service and ensuring air travel is not aiding in spread of the virus requires a halt to all leisure travel until the pandemic is brought under control according to health authorities," the letter said.
Frankly, if there's any leisure travel going on in America at this point, it's so negligible that one has to wonder if eradicating it would be worth the legal effort. The TSA has reported that airline passenger traffic is down 95 percent from the same time last year. Heck, after this Friday, there no longer will be any scheduled nonstop flights from Los Angeles to Orlando. You can't fly non-stop from Disneyland to Walt Disney World anymore.
While the nation's flight attendants certainly have beef to complain about the lack of PPE on flights, asking for a ban on leisure traffic at this point seems like a classic "the horse is already out of the barn" scenario.
Or is it? A leisure travel ban probably wouldn't do much, if anything, to reduce the number of people flying right now. But lifting a formal leisure travel ban at some point in the future might help kickstart an ailing travel industry.
The only way to lift a leisure travel ban is to enact it in the first place, of course, so there might be a long-term PR play here.Tweet
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