United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said on Tuesday that airplanes are a safe indoor environment and those who want to fly without wearing masks should be perfectly comfortable in doing so.
Kirby made his comment during a national television appearance on “CBS Mornings.”
“It literally is the safest environment (you’ll be in) indoors anywhere that you are,” Kirby said, as recounted by the Washington D.C. publication The Hill. “That’s why being on an airplane next to two people in a middle seat is the equivalent of being 15 feet away from someone in a building. You’re safer sitting next to me on an airplane that you are sitting across from me right now.”
The federal transportation mask mandate was lifted last month by a Tampa, Florida judge. The Biden Administration said it would fight the ruling but, so far, has not done so.
Kirby was so confident in his belief that not wearing a mask on flights is still safe, he said that a plane has 10 times better airflow than a hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.
The Hill noted that a recent Gallup poll was practically evenly split on mask-wearing planes, with half the respondents saying the federal mask mandate should remain in place for passengers ages two and up, and half saying there should be no mask requirement at all.