Major U.S. airlines drop mask mandates

WASHINGTON — Major U.S. airlines have dropped mask requirements after a federal judge in Florida ruled the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s travel mask mandate as unlawful.

The White House said the CDC’s public transportation mask order was no longer in effect, adding the Transportation Security Administration would not enforce the rule on public transport and transportation hubs while the ruling is reviewed.

The airlines include:

  • Delta – Employees and customers “may continue wearing masks if they so choose,” under Delta Airlines’ new policy that was unveiled Monday evening.
  • United Airlines – The airline said in a statement, “Masks are no longer required on domestic flights, select international flights (dependent upon the arrival country’s requirements) or at U.S. airports.”
  • Alaska Airlines – They said guests and employees have the option to wear a mask while traveling in the U.S. and at work. Additionally, they touched on the topic of guests banned from traveling when the federal mask policy was in effect, saying, “Based on our reports, we will have some guests whose behavior was particularly egregious who will remain banned, even after the mask policy is rescinded.”
  • JetBlue Airlines – They said mask wearing will now be optional and customers and crew are welcome to continue wearing them. Those traveling internationally should always have a mask with them in case they continue to be required at their destination.
  • American Airlines – The airline said in a release that face masks will no longer be required for their customers and team members at U.S. airports and on domestic flights. They also said masks may still be required based on local ordinances and may differ when traveling to and from certain international locations.
  • Southwest Airlines – Employees and customers “will be able to choose whether they would like to wear a mask on flights,” adding, “We encourage individuals to make the best decision to support their personal wellbeing.” They also said that it would continuing supporting travelers “by offering additional layers of protection” including its cabin air ventilation systems with HEPA air filtration.
  • Frontier Airlines – “Masks are now optional on domestic flights, however, certain airports or countries may still require masks, so check the policy at your destination prior to departure and we’ll see you in the sky,” Frontier said on their Twitter.

Despite the airlines becoming more flexible with their mask rules, some rail and bus systems are keeping their rules in place. New York City’s MTA system will keep masks in place under state regulations, as will Chicago’s CTA, the Bay Area’s BART, and Los Angeles’ LA Metro, systems.

Some airports across the country are also opting to keep mask rules in place.

Philadelphia International Airport said masks must be worn inside the airport’s terminals in compliance with their governor’s indoor mask requirement. San Francisco International Airport said they are waiting for further guidance from the TSA and would continue with masks in the meantime.

Categories: Coronavirus, National News