This editorial was published by the Walla Walla (Wash.) Union-Bulletin.


Nobody enjoys wearing a face covering.

Yet, it’s clear after nearly eight months of battling the COVID-19 pandemic, wearing face coverings is the most effective way of limiting the spread of the virus.

Why then do some folks become so belligerent — if not downright hostile — when asked to cover their faces that they get banned from air travel in the U.S.?

It’s happening — a lot more than it should.

The Wall Street Journal last week reported that six U.S. airlines have banned nearly 1,500 people from flying for “egregiously violating face-mask requirements on airplanes.”

The Journal reports that airlines say they’ve seen a variety of motivations for passengers resisting wearing masks, including politics.

That’s very unfortunate. Wearing masks is simply a health issue. It’s about protecting each other from the spread of the coronavirus.

In the end, it’s also common — or what should be common — courtesy to each other.

While mask wearing was not considered essential in the first few weeks of the pandemic, the health experts quickly reassessed the situation and determined that they were wrong. They now strongly believe that wearing a mask keeps your germs from spreading to others in most cases. And mask wearing gives the wearer a little protection from germs from others.

So when airlines — or stores or any other public event — require masks it is not necessarily to protect the wearer, but others. If everyone wears a mask, we are all far more protected.

One would think that people traveling in an airplane, where passengers are packed together, would want their fellow travelers to wear a mask for their protection.

“Our customers overwhelmingly support the enforcement of masks on board our flights,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in an interview with the Journal. “Our medical experts we work with at the Mayo Clinic and Emory (University) tell us that masks are the single most important preventive measure we can take.”

Airlines, as they should, are taking a hard line on mask wearing because it makes sense health wise, but also from a business standpoint. Folks will not fly if other passengers are maskless.

Who can blame them?

The 1,500 or so who have been banned from flying were being ridiculous and selfish in refusing to wear masks.

This type of belligerence needs to end so air travel will continue to be available to us all.

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