People wearing masks on a flight (photo via Hispanolistic / Getty Images )
Citing health concerns as well as their own physical safety, a group of nine flight attendants from six different airlines filed suit this week against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, asking a judge to strike down the federal mask mandate.
The group is arguing that wearing a mask not only obstructs their ability to breathe normally but also endangers their physical safety as nearly 75 percent of the 5,800-plus incidents at airports and on airplanes last year stemmed from passengers arguing about having to wear a mask.
The Biden Administration earlier this month extended the mask mandate another month to April 18.
Also earlier this month, a group of 10 pilots filed suit against the CDC over the mask mandate.
The nine flight attendants work for Allegiant, American, Delta, Frontier, Southwest and United. They filed the 61-page complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, since plaintiff Victoria Vasenden of Southwest Airlines is based at Denver International Airport, and several others often work flights in and out of Denver.
“Masks impair our health and reduce flight safety,” Vasendren said in a statement. “We are in planes and airports up to 18 hours a day with zero chance of fresh air. Physicians don’t wear masks that long. That’s assault on the brain, organs, and tissues of the human body. Yet we are expected to ensure all aspects of the flight remain safe, when masks clearly diminish our capacities.”
Like the pilots, the flight attendants charge CDC and its parent agency, the Department of Health & Human Services, with seven violations of the law and Constitution. The flight attendants ask Senior District Judge Marcia Krieger to vacate the mandate and permanently enjoin the two agencies from ever issuing it again.
Tammy Gipp, one of the nine flight attendants, is on medical leave from Frontier Airlines because she can’t tolerate wearing a mask.
“We have serious health and safety concerns regarding the FTMM, none of which were studied by the CDC or HHS prior to rushing the policy into effect,” she said. “There have been no studies conducted by the Federal Aviation Administration regarding how having a plane full of oxygen-deprived crew and passengers reduces emergency response time, particularly should a sudden decompression of the aircraft occur.”