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Re: Mask Exception - Asthma - Forced to apologize

New Arrival

When, in the history of CUSTOMER SERVICE, has a customer been required to offer a “sincere apology” to an employee after getting mouthy? It is that company’s duty to accommodate the customer, not only because she is in physical and emotional distress, but because she’s giving them her patronage. She could have easily flown with United or American. It’s disheartening when a company you’ve been loyal to treats you like a dog on the street.

 

The airline’s policy states that passengers are required to wear masks with the EXCEPTION of a medical emergency. She deserves a “sincere” apology from Martha, the employee, for lack of empathy and failure to uphold company guidelines. She also deserves a “sincere” apology from Southwest Airlines for failure to enforce their policies set in place to ensure the safety of all passengers.

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Re: Mask Exception - Asthma - Forced to apologize

New Arrival

I am appalled at the way a customer was treated.

As an asthmatic, I fully understand and sympathize with you.  Asthma is a dangerous condition and the outcome could have been deadly.   Yes, masks are mandatory, but so is oxygen and as you pointed out in your condition, the requirement to wear the mask should have been waived.   Asthma attacks are not always instantaneous and acute, but the longer it takes to reduce the swelling on the airway the more dangerous the situation.  And to have someone in obvious distress stand, mind you not sit to the side was negligent NOT helpful.  Then to further prolong relief and publicly humiliate the person should be grounds for at the very least disciplinary action. 

No you should not have said what you said, but the staff overreacted, put you at risk of an acute attack, humiliated you and inconvenienced all passengers on that flight.

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Re: Mask Exception - Asthma - Forced to apologize

Active Member

If you can't safely wear a mask, you can't safely fly. You are risking the health of everyone around you. It isn't like you are asking for more time to board or extra room on the plane. You are asking to risk the lives of other passengers in order for you to fly. I'm not sure how you justify that to yourself, but I guess you don't care if you kill someone else. That's life and not your problem.

 

And, as for who said what, here is the statement to which I was referring:

 

https://www.reddit.com/r/Masks4All/comments/hf8ttu/retired_surgeon_sam_laucks_has_this_to_say_about/

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Re: Mask Exception - Asthma - Forced to apologize

Top Contributor

Heck, Samuel Lauks ain't an infectious disease expert, He ain't affiliated with a major teaching hospital. He is a bowel and rectum surgeon. What the heck does that have to do with infectious diseases. He works in a hospital in the major metropolis of York, PA.   YORK PA??????  Does that make him qualify as a prominent surgeon????????

 

And yet you treat him a if he was the messiah - the know all end all

expert that every MD in the world bows to. He's not, sorry..

 

Both you and the good doctor are entitled to your opinions   However,  I'll take my ques from infectious disease experts - and not someone who would cut my butt.  

 

 

https://health.usnews.com/doctors/samuel-laucks-489389

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Re: Mask Exception - Asthma - Forced to apologize

Top Contributor

I too have asthma, but have not had any issues wearing a mask. I do realize that experiences vary widely by each individual. Some people that have difficulty with mask compliance have found that a clear plastic face shield provides a good alternative. While not as effective as a cloth covering, a face shield does contain larger droplets thought to be a primary source of transmission. Southwest airlines considers a face shield satisfactory for their face covering requirement.

 

There are, unfortunately, many people who won't wear a mask because of their political views (or incorrectly wear one, negating the protection). This is in disregard of the clear evidence supporting the public health benefits of universal mask wearing, especially when social distancing is not possible -- such as the interior of a plane. The OP, however, does not seem to be one of those people. She stated she understands the reason for the requirement, and generally complies when she can. Perhaps it's best to reserve outright anger at mask non-compliance for those who adamantly espouse their flawed beliefs.

 

The OPs situation, possibly a result of crew repeatedly dealing with the political non-mask crowd (not meant as a justification, only possible context), was very unfortunate. To me, it seems it was likely a misunderstanding that escalated unnecessarily. It's never appropriate to use a vulgar slur towards a crew member. But I also feel that the crew member absolutely should have taken more time to fully understand the situation and the OPs condition.

 

One other comment: Sometimes asthmatics, in the obvious throes of a full-blown attack, are denied boarding and moved to a later flight. Crew are trained to stop and check boarding passengers who appear to be having a medical issue, among other criteria. This has actually happened to me, although it was self-imposed. After a delayed arrival, I had an attack as I was running to catch a connection. Rather than board, I let the gate agent know what was happening, and she moved me to a later flight. I sat and used my rescue inhaler to get my breathing under control, and was fine well before the rescheduled departure. For me, it was the right decision, as I didn't want to risk having a medical event at 35k feet. I also understand that there are multiple variables that may make this not feasible for others, but do keep in mind that denied boarding could also have been a result of the situation.

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Re: Mask Exception - Asthma - Forced to apologize

Active Member

Fair enough. Name a single infectious disease specialist who doesn’t say that wearing a mask saves lives. 

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Re: Mask Exception - Asthma - Forced to apologize

Top Contributor

@bwallet wrote:

Fair enough. Name a single infectious disease specialist who doesn’t say that wearing a mask saves lives. 


NIce shuffle and jive. Why don't you stay on topic with what you said earlier in the thread.

 

I never disputed that masks save lives. I disputed three things:

 

1) Your contention that masks can't cause asthma attacks

 

2) Your contention that all passengers MUST wear masks

 

3) Your use of a rectum specialist in York, Pa.  (YORK, PA????????????????????) as your "expert."

 

As far as this topic goes, I'll believe the CDC, which doesn't use recturm specialists to formulate infectious disease policy (quoted from upthread):

 

"

According to the CDC, these people should not wear face coverings:

  • Children under age 2
  • Anyone who has trouble breathing
  • Anyone who is unconscious, unable to help themselves or can’t remove the mask on their own
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Re: Mask Exception - Asthma - Forced to apologize

New Arrival

Hi Everyone,

 

Thank you for your comments to my situation. I'd to offer additional pieces of perspective to show the seriousness of the situation. 

 

Once I felt my asthma was progressing I knew I needed to get off the flight and started that process immediately. I accepted an inhaler from a complete stranger, in the middle of a Covid epidemic, basically putting my life at risk of contracting covid exposure in order to breathe. I didn't have to use his inhaler, I could (and should) have just got off the flight and got my bag and used my own inhaler, as that would have been safer.  However, in the middle of an asthma attack, logic and reason tend to go out the window. Survival becomes the priority.  And the moment I had an option to breathe freely, I took it immediately without hesitation. 

 

Now I sit here praying that I don't have covid. Which is the whole point of wearing the masks in the first place. 

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Re: Mask Exception - Asthma - Forced to apologize

Top Contributor

@wdrake98 wrote:

Hi Everyone,

 

Thank you for your comments to my situation. I'd to offer additional pieces of perspective to show the seriousness of the situation. 

 

Once I felt my asthma was progressing I knew I needed to get off the flight and started that process immediately. I accepted an inhaler from a complete stranger, in the middle of a Covid epidemic, basically putting my life at risk of contracting covid exposure in order to breathe. I didn't have to use his inhaler, I could (and should) have just got off the flight and got my bag and used my own inhaler, as that would have been safer.  However, in the middle of an asthma attack, logic and reason tend to go out the window. Survival becomes the priority.  And the moment I had an option to breathe freely, I took it immediately without hesitation. 

 

Now I sit here praying that I don't have covid. Which is the whole point of wearing the masks in the first place. 


IMO, you made the right decision to use the other person's inhaler.

 

Why? Because there is no guarantee that Southwest  would have been able to get your bag out of the belly of the aircraft before departure so that you could have used your own. Even If the airlie did manage to offload the bag from the plane,  it might have taken some time to get   your bag to you.

 

Moral of the story: never check meds of other things you might need while on the plane. Besides what you have done if the bag had been lost?

 

Hopefully, you'll be fine.

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Re: Mask Exception - Asthma - Forced to apologize

New Arrival

I just cancelled my flight because I am hearing from friends who have been on planes recently that wearing a mask is not being enforced.  So people board the plane wearing a mask, but flight attendants are not enforcing the rule once the flight takes off.  I don't blame the flight attendants for fearing customers who take their masks off, the scenes that erupt when The New American doesn't get his or her way regarding something decent for the good of all is a far cry from the original American spirit.  And then it's a viral video and the airline has to take the fall, when the rules and expectations were made clear before boarding.  I believe this post from the asthmatic is true, but anyone might claim to have breathing issues to not wear a mask.  If a person cannot wear a mask for any reason they simply should not be allowed to board a plane.  I was willing to get on a plane wearing a mask and even bought some goggles to cover my eyes, but if even one person is carrying the virus and is not wearing a mask, no amount of social distancing on an airplane is going to be sufficient for the risk involved.  I would fear having a panic attack to be all masked up myself and then see others taking off their masks and no enforcement.   The virus is horrid even if it doesn't kill you or a loved one or your neighbor.  If I were guaranteed the mask-wearing was being ENFORCED, I would repack my suitcase.  They don't call it a pandemic as if getting sick or dying is not a potential crap shoot breathing anyone else's air.  Stay safe.  Thank you, Southwest Airlines for trying to make flying possible, but it's still too dangerous for me.