Last week United Airlines announced that it was adding some items to its pre-boarding checklist. In addition to agreeing to wear a mask while on board, you, dear prospective passenger, “must acknowledge” that you “have not had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days” and that you’re not experiencing any of a list of common COVID-19 symptoms now—and you didn’t exhibit said symptoms over the past 14 days.
Click “Accept” and you’re good to go.
Feel reassured? No? Well, neither is Twitter user @KnightsAtari, who last week responded to United’s tweeted announcement about its new “Ready-to-Fly” health “self-assessment” with: “This will be about as effective as the ‘Please confirm you are over 18 to continue’ button on Pornhub.”
Of course, the history of modern commercial air travel has been a bumpy ride not only for passengers but carriers. It seems there’s always some sort of crisis to contend with. Consider the double whammy outlined in a Nov. 5, 1979, Advertising Age front-page story titled “New routes keep airline ads on course.” That winter, carriers faced not only another energy crisis—what we called the “un-flagging march of fuel prices”—but a bewildering morass of service changes (new destinations, new hubs, discontinued routes) in the wake of government deregulation.