Illustration for the article titled Dealing with a Passenger Who Doesn't Follow COVID-19 RulesPhoto: Oleg Elkov (Shutterstock)

At this stage of the pandemic, it makes no sense to even comment on how much COVID-19 has changed air traffic – that goes without saying. And how did that go? It depends on who you ask.

When We interviewed Brian Kelly, aka The Points GuyBack in October 2020, he mentioned that in his own experience there were fewer people on planes and those who flew followed the rules and were polite to each other. (That was a few months ago, so he might have other observations now.)

But not everyone has shared this sentiment, and many people notice fellow travelers who don’t believe the COVID-19 public health measures apply to them. As if the virus was approaching them, she realized that they were rich and privileged – or felt justified to ignore the precautionary measures for other reasons – and then just went on her merry way.

When you run into someone with this attitude while traveling, you may not be entirely sure how to deal with it for a number of reasons, including realizing that the chances that they’ll listen to you and then stick to it, are low. However, if you do decide to work together like this, here are some expert tips to help you navigate different situations.

Illustration for the article titled Dealing with a Passenger Who Doesn't Follow COVID-19 Rules

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The person is not wearing a face mask

Instead of giving a talk on germ theory, Nick Leighton, an etiquette expert who did the “Were you raised by wolves?” Podcast advises a neutral approach. Here is what he is recently said USA Today::

“When you deal with another traveler, you approach the person in a manner that is impartial and unbiased, and assumes that the problem is just an innocent mistake and not intentionally malicious. The right tone is often the key to successfully defusing and resolving sticky etiquette situations. “

In this context (assuming you made an innocent mistake) you can also mention something about that new TSA fines for wearing a mask at the airport.

Illustration for the article titled Dealing with a Passenger Who Doesn't Follow COVID-19 Rules

Person is not physically distant

This tip is from Jeanie Johnston, a Tour operator based in Minneapolisand takes a similar approach: combining kindness with a context that may be relevant to the person in the immediate vicinity. On a recent trip to Disney World (um …) she politely asked that some people queuing near her give her some space, her USA Today said.

But before she did, she noticed that Disney World hasn’t had a case of COVID since July – she reckoned they had put two and two together on their own, and figured out if Disney World should stay open should they follow guidelines.

Person skips the hand sanitizer

This is an old trick usually used to trick someone with bad breath into accepting a stick of gum or a mint. Except this time, you’re at an airport (or on an airplane, etc.) and see someone who might use hand sanitizer. Instead of giving them unsolicited hygiene information, take out your bottle of hand sanitizer, use something, and then offer it to the person casually– polite, not passive-aggressive.