Update, 4/18 at 10:30pm ET: Avelo, Breeze, JSX, Hawaiian, and Sun Country have now dropped their mask requirements.
Update, 4/18 at 9:20pm ET: Spirit writes to DansDeals that,
“Due to the recent updates to the mask mandate for transportation, we are no longer requiring our Guests or crew members to wear facial coverings onboard our aircraft. Guests who wish to continue to wear their facial covering are welcome to do so. Please keep in mind that certain airports may continue to require facial coverings throughout the terminal.”
Update, 4/18 at 8:30pm ET: JetBlue and Allegiant have now dropped their mask requirements.
Update, 4/18 at 7:40pm ET: Delta writes to DansDeals that,
“Following the ruling of a U.S. district court judge on Monday, April 18, the Biden Administration announced that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will no longer enforce the federal mandate requiring masks in all U.S. airports and onboard aircraft. Effective immediately, masks are optional for all airport employees, crew members and customers inside U.S. airports and onboard aircraft.
You can find a copy of the guidance Delta shared with its employees on Monday at the link here.”
Update, 4/18 at 7:30pm ET: United has now made this official on their Twitter page:
Masks are no longer required on domestic flights, select international flights (dependent upon the arrival country's requirements) or at U.S. airports. More comfortable keeping yours on? Go right ahead… the choice is yours (you look dino-mite either way)! pic.twitter.com/hwq678v55d
— United Airlines (@united) April 18, 2022
Update, 4/18 at 6:50pm ET: United writes to DansDeals that,
“Effective immediately, masks are no longer required at United on domestic flights, select international flights (dependent upon the arrival country’s mask requirements) or at U.S. airports.
While this means that our employees are no longer required to wear a mask – and no longer have to enforce a mask requirement for most of the flying public – they will be able to wear masks if they choose to do so, as the CDC continues to strongly recommend wearing a mask on public transit.
We will continue to closely monitor the situation in the event of changes.”
Alaska also says that face masks all now optional on their flights:
BREAKING: Face masks are officially optional in airports and onboard all Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air flights, effective immediately. Full statement: https://t.co/zVonJVowr7
— Alaska Airlines News (@AlaskaAirNews) April 18, 2022
Update, 4/18 at 4pm ET: The Biden administration says that the TSA will not enforce the mask mandate in airports and on public transportation at this time. Airlines are now free to set their own policies.
Update, 4/18 at 2pm ET: A federal judge has ruled that the mask mandate is unlawful and has vacated the mask mandate effective immediately. It’s unclear if the CDC or the Biden administration will appeal and/or revise the mandate, or what airlines will do at this point.
Update, 4/13: The CDC announced that they will be extending the end of the transportation mask mandate from April 18th to May 3rd.
The CDC says that the additional 2 weeks will allow them more time to study the impact of the BA.2 omicron subvariant.
This comes after cities like Philadelphia are adding back their indoor mask mandates, though the CDC is not recommending that cities to that.
This also comes shortly after the CDC said it will drop the Title 42 order on May 23rd, which had allowed to US to expel migrants due to COVID-19. At the time the CDC said that, “After considering current public health conditions and an increased availability of tools to fight COVID-19 (such as highly effective vaccines and therapeutics), the CDC Director has determined that an Order suspending the right to introduce migrants into the United States is no longer necessary.”
Update, 3/23: Every major US airline has requested that the US transportation mask mandate and COVID testing requirements be dropped immediately in light of plummeting COVID cases and deaths in the US.
Across the pond, KLM says that as of today, they will no longer enforce their government’s mask mandate, as they say it is “irresponsible that mask mandates apply on airplanes and nowhere else.”
Meanwhile, kids with autism are still having problems being able to fly in the US without masking.
Will the White House give in to the growing pressure to remove the transportation mask mandate?
Update, 3/15: The Senate has voted 57-40 to remove the transportation mask mandate. 8 Democrats voted in favor of removing the mask mandate, while 1 Republican voted against removing the mandate. It now heads to the House of Representatives, where even if it is allowed to come to a vote and passes, can still be vetoed by President Biden.
This comes one day after the UK announced that they will drop all COVID travel restrictions, testing, and transportation mask mandates.
Separately, 17 Republican congressmen are suing to have the mandate removed, based on the CDC exceeding its authority.
Do you think any of these efforts to remove the mandate will succeed?
D’s voting Yea:
Cortez Masto (NV)
R’s voting Nay:
Romney (UT) https://t.co/o457pZFWXr
— Senate Periodicals (@SenatePPG) March 15, 2022
Originally posted on 3/10:
On the day after he was inaugurated, President Biden signed an executive order requiring masks for everyone on all modes of public transportation and the CDC soon followed with updated rules that required everyone 2 or older to wear a mask. Before that, airlines like Delta offered exceptions for older children.
That mandate was supposed to expire on 9/13/21, but it was previously extended to 1/18/22 and then 3/18/22.
The White House says that the CDC will work with government agencies to help inform a revised policy framework for when the mask rules can be lifted.
At one point we were told that flying was safer than any indoor activity due to the HEPA filters used on planes. And yet now, it will be the last bastion of government mandated masking.
The FAA has received reports from airlines about thousands of passengers refusing to wear a mask this year. Many of those were removed from their flight and/or banned from flying the airline.
While on some of our flights the flight attendants haven’t been very vigilant about mask enforcement, on our last flight the flight attendant hounded our young children, even while they were eating, for not masking up in between each cheerio they ate. It does not make for a pleasant flying experience.
While the rest of the world’s transportation mask requirements exclude children under the age of 6 or 12, the US has by far the harshest rule, requiring toddlers from the age of 2 to mask up. I’ve written several time about how absurd it is to expect a toddler to keep a mask on and who you can contact about changing that.
Some families are opting to fly internationally via Canada to avoid US masking policies on toddlers.
The CDC mask order actually has no expiration date. A former Biden senior advisor for COVID response has said that we should never get rid of the mask mandate. Will that view win out? Will we see it removed before the November 2022 midterm elections in time to declare victory over COVID? Will the courts eventually strike down the transportation mask mandate?