Air Transat Passenger ‘Abuses’ Mask Exemptions Sparking Outrage

On Saturday, a known anti-mask activist posted a video of himself on an Air Transat flight sporting a mask-less face and clearly visible stubble. The airline says that he presented a medical certificate that made him eligible for an exemption. However, his video, along with footage of him wearing a mask in other situations, has put the certificate’s authenticity into question.

Air Transat
An Air Transat passenger boasted about getting away with not wearing a mask on one of their flights last week. Photo: Vincenzo Pace |

The sport of in-flight anti-masking

We have heard of many crafty and sneaky ways airline passengers have tried to get around the requirement of face masks on board flights. Some have boasted about making a tube of Pringles last for an entire five-hour journey to keep on eating. Others throw tantrums and refuse to mask up before departure.

The latter is understandable when you are a two-year-old, not so much when you are a grown individual who ends up taking to physical violence, like the passenger who struck a flight attendant on a Delta Air Lines flight in October.

However, this is the first we have heard of someone allegedly falsifying a medical certificate or obtaining one under false pretenses to get out of wearing a mask. On December 12th, Twitter user Chris Saccoccia, a known Toronto anti-mask activist, uploaded a video of himself on an Air Transat flight, clearly mask-less to “prove to the world it can be done.”

Charged with breaking quarantine

Chris Saccoccia, more known by his handle Chris Sky, and his wife Jessica Saccoccia were the first people in Canada to be charged in October for failing to isolate following a trip overseas. After returning from Ireland, the couple broke quarantine to attend an anti-mask rally at the Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto.

Air Transat Airbus A330
The airline says it strongly deplores any actions that may put other travelers at risk. Photo: Getty Images

Air Transat’s response

Air Transat has faced backlash for allowing a known anti-mask activist to board their flight without a mask. The airline says that Mr Saccoccia presented a valid medical certificate and thus fulfilled its exemption requirements from the rule on facial coverings. A spokesperson for the airline told Simple Flying that,

“We can confirm that this passenger presented a valid medical certificate signed by a medical professional, indicating that his medical condition did not allow him to wear a mask at all times during the flight. In accordance with the federal COVID-19 emergency orders in effect, he did meet the requirements allowing him not to wear a mask.

However, we strongly deplore any actions or initiatives encouraged on social media that may put the public and travellers at risk.”

Masks onboard
The passenger has not been forthcoming about what his medical condition preventing him from wearing a mask might be. Photo: Getty Images

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Reasons for exemption unknown

So what exactly is Mr Saccoccia’s medical condition? He has not been forthcoming with that information. It is, of course, every individual’s prerogative whether they choose to share personal medical information or not.

However, there is footage of Mr Saccoccia clearly wearing a face mask while receiving a tattoo on his neck from earlier this year. This was shared by another Twitter user further down in the thread with the initial in-flight video.

Whatever it is Mr Saccoccia suffers from which makes it impossible for him to breathe through a mask for a couple of hours, it must have had quite the sudden onset. That is no small tattoo, and its application most likely lasted longer than last week’s flight.

We are not really quite sure what to call this stunt. Do you have any ideas? Let us know in the comments.