Alyssa Sadler says Southwest Airlines refused to let her three year old, autistic son fly without a mask. Her son has sensory issues that prevent him from wearing a mask. Southwest has a well-known policy that allows no medical exceptions in regards to wearing a mask on their flights. The question is should Southwest have made an exception.
I do not think Southwest should have made an exception. What happens if this child had Covid 19 and passengers and crew got infected? What if one of those infected died? Don’t those people have rights? But you can’t discriminate against the handicapped. Correct but we are not talking about blindness or paralysis. Those are not contagious. Covid 19 is contagious. Can you imagine the further devastation to the airline industry if exceptions were made and people started getting sick due to flying with an unmasked passenger? People are hesitant to fly right now and that is with precautions. If people started getting ill from unmasked passengers the chances are the airlines would have almost zero passengers. The industry would collapse and that includes the travel industry and all the industries that rely on tourists or business conventions. The economy would tank further. Southwest made the right call.
But what about this child, he has a right to fly. Well he does not have a right to fly. Flying is a privilege you pay for it is not a constitutional right but I do understand the need or desire to fly. Fortunately, as is often the case, your pal has some possible solutions.
The boy in question is very sensitive to things on his face. A lot of flyers have issues with flying. They take a sedative. Why couldn’t his mother give her son a sedative and while he was asleep put the mask on him. He would not have known and the problem would have been solved. But listen I get it some people do not want to drug their kids. Babysitting by Nyquil is not for everyone.
My wife is flying to Florida in a few weeks. She will be taking a Covid 19 test before she flies and if she is negative she will quarantine until the flight. Why couldn’t this child do that? But he still needs to be in the airport so he could catch it there and he still won’t have a mask. True. I do not think he would be contagious if he just caught the virus and almost everyone else in the airport will be wearing masks so the chance of the boy getting the virus at the airport is greatly reduced.
We do have rapid testing technology that will give Covid 19 test results within minutes. Maybe it is time the government gives some of these tests to the airlines at the gate for these rare circumstances. The boy will not have to wear a mask and all those on the flight can be reasonably confident that he does not have Covid 19 so they are still safe.
We are in a different world from the one we were in six months ago. Ultimately, history will judge us by how we problem solved and the compassion we showed or did not show when we were faced with unique challenges.