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Since late August, I've been on a few flights, including this past week flying to and from Washington, D.C.

I think it's time to admit that dealing with TSA and other passengers is no longer the most annoying thing about air travel.

The worst, most annoying thing about air travel now is having to wear masks at the airport and on flights. And really, it's not even close. Due to FAA regulations, if you want to fly the friendly skies and you are above the age of two, you have to wear a mask.

The reason, the FAA says, is the coronavirus pandemic. They say that wearing a mask will protect you from catching COVID-19. So keeping us healthy is the reason airlines and the FAA are requiring masks. Personally, I'm not buying it. Instead, I think the FAA and the airlines want to give the appearance that everything is healthy, just as the TSA makes many travelers feel safer.

If the airlines and the FAA wanted people to stay healthy and happy, they wouldn't sell the middle seat on airlines, and they would spread customers out throughout the flight. But that doesn't happen. Instead, airlines are packing as many people as possible on the planes.

On two flights I've been on recently, one from Phoenix to Dallas and one from Dallas to Washington, D.C., the flights were completely full. You expect me to believe the you can be shoulder to shoulder with people on a plane, but wearing a mask you've hardly washed and have tossed into the backseat of your car is going to prevent you from getting COVID-19? Again, I don't buy it.

Every week we're seeing football stadiums packed with college kids and adults. Very few, if any, are wearing masks. Soon, the MLB Playoffs will begin, and I bet we'll see very few masks. By the way, we haven't seen any data that shows football games are leading to COVID-19 outbreaks. But boarding a packed plane that has its own filtration system, and a face mask is the one thing that will prevent you from getting sick?

The airlines are also using the pandemic to cut back on service. Flying to Hawaii on Southwest and want a special Hawaiian cocktail that the airline does on those flights? Nope, not going to happen. Want a Dr Pepper? Nope. On Southwest, you have five choices, and they either want you to point at a picture or use your fingers to indicate which drink you want, 1 through 5. It's ridiculous.

Of course we've all seen the videos of passengers yelling at or getting physical with flight attendants. It's wrong and it shouldn't happen. But it doesn't happen every day or even every week. Yet the excuse to cut service on the airlines is because of some videos that went viral. The vast majority of customers are fine, but our service suffers because of a few incidents.

Here's another reason to do away with masks on planes: very few folks are keeping their masks on 100 percent of the time. You only have to wear a mask when you aren't eating or drinking. Don't want to wear a mask? Pack snacks and keep ordering drinks. Just sayin'.

It's time to ditch the mask on planes and bring back customer service. Stop harassing families because a four year old isn't wearing the mask 100 percent correctly. And if an unmasked plane scares you? Drive or get vaccinated and wear your mask and don't worry about it.

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