THE VILLAGES, Florida – A group of 13 flyers from seven states, the District of Columbia, and Israel plan to file a motion for preliminary injunction this week asking a federal court in Orlando to stop Delta Air Lines from illegally conspiring with other carriers to share their no-fly lists of passengers who can’t or won’t wear masks.
Delta last week urged airlines to come together and form a national no-fly list of customers with disabilities who remove their masks in flight to be able to breathe freely. Plaintiffs, who Sept. 13 filed an amended civil complaint against Delta and six other major airlines in the nation’s first class-action lawsuit challenging their mask mandates, express outrage at Delta’s conduct.
“We condemn Delta Air Lines for continuing its illegal conspiracy with other carriers to ban passengers who medically can’t — or simply don’t — want to obstruct their breathing,” said lead plaintiff Lucas Wall, 44, of Washington, D.C., who has been stuck in Florida since early June because he was prohibited from flying due to his inability to cover his face. “We will be asking the court this week for a preliminary injunction to immediately halt this ongoing conspiracy to interfere with the civil rights of passengers like us who can’t tolerate masks due to our medical conditions.”
Delta has added more than 1,600 people to its forbidden list since it illegally began requiring customers to wear masks in Spring 2020 in violation of the federal Food, Drug, & Cosmetic Act, which requires airlines and other businesses to give customers “the option to accept or refuse administration” of any medical device such as face coverings approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration under an Emergency Use Authorization. Also, many mask types used by airline passengers are not authorized at all by FDA.
“Having a medical disability is unpleasant enough; being treated with disdain and being punished for it, is just horrible,” said plaintiff Aaron Abadi, a New York City businessman who has had to drive more than 25,000 miles during the pandemic because airlines won’t let him fly.
The federal lawsuit charges Alaska, Allegiant, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, and Spirit with conspiring to ban millions of Americans with medical conditions who can’t tolerate wearing face coverings from using the nation’s aviation system as well as unlawfully mandating that all passengers use EUA or unapproved face masks without their informed, written consent. Plaintiffs submitted into evidence 223 studies and articles explaining that face coverings do nothing to stop COVID-19 transmission but are harmful to our health in dozens of ways.
“We’ve also asked other airlines to share their ‘no fly’ list to further protect airline employees across the industry,” Kristen Taylor, Delta’s senior vice president of in-flight services, wrote in a recent memo to flight attendants, alleging the conspiracy concerns “unruly passenger behavior.”
But the airlines themselves have caused chaos in the sky, dangerously depriving passengers of oxygen at the equivalent of 8,000 feet altitude (plane cabins are typically pressurized at this level), where oxygen is already greatly reduced compared to sea level. Oxygen-starved flyers have ripped off their masks to be able to breathe, which has led to threatening and physical behavior by flight attendants and other passengers. The Federal Aviation Administration has received reports of 3,123 mask-related incidents aboard aircraft this year due to the airlines’ policies and the Federal Transportation Mask Mandate, which Wall is challenging in a separate lawsuit.
Plaintiffs charge Delta and the other six airlines with reckless endangerment, conspiracy to interfere with the civil rights of the disabled, and 28 other violations of the Constitution, federal laws and regulations, contract and tort laws, and international treaties. They have named Delta CEO Ed Bastian as a likely personal defendant for showing animus toward the disabled, relegating them to second-class citizenship by telling them they can’t travel.