US Airlines and Airports: Face Mask Optional

U.S. Airlines and Airports: Face Mask Optional


U.S. Airlines and Airports Have Dropped Their Face Mask Mandate, after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said that they would no longer enforce the federal mask mandate, which had been extended until May 3, 2022. The CDC and TSA reversal came after U.S. District Court Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle in Florida (who was controversially appointed by Trump and rated by the ABA as “Not Qualified”) overturned the federal mandate in a suit brought by the Health Freedom Defense Fund.

“Today's court decision means the CDC's public transportation masking order is not in effect at this time…TSA will not enforce…mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs at this time.”

Quickly, major U.S. airlines such as United Airlines and Alaska made masks optional for both passengers and staff. They were followed by Delta, American Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest, and other U.S. airlines.

Hawaiian Airlines the last major airline to rescind its mask mandate: ““This is a rapidly evolving situation, and we are making the wearing of face masks optional onboard our flights effective immediately – for guests and employees.”

That said, some smaller airlines may not have rescinded their mask mandates; a small carrier we flew today still had a mask mandate in its terminal and aboard its aircraft, which in our view made sense as some small planes are not fitted with HEPA filters.

While we're looking forward to having the option to not wear a mask every minute while aboard domestic flights, we will likely continue to wear face masks for much of the time on board our flights and especially in airports, which often don't have the air filtration and fresh air interchange of commercial flights. For parents of young or autistic children who have a hard time keeping a mask on, the end of the masking rule should come as an enormous relief, since they'll no longer have to worry about being thrown off a flight for a child's non-compliance.

If you flew a domestic U.S. flight today, was a face mask mandate enforced or not?

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