Mask Confusion: Required At JFK, Optional At Newark. Required On El Al, Optional On US Carriers

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Yesterday, the Biden administration gave US airlines and airports the green light to drop mask requirements after a federal judge vacated the CDC mandate. The administration says they may appeal that decision, should the CDC determine that the mask mandate is still necessary. Given that the CDC just extended the mandate last week after asking for a month to deliberate on when to end the mandate, one would assume that ipso facto the CDC believes it to still be necessary to have a mask mandate, but assumptions are never a good idea when it comes to COVID policies.

US airlines weren’t required to, but all of them decided to immeditately drop their mask requirements.

While most US airlines have said that they will require masks to destinations that still require them, reports from passengers on US airlines’ international flights have been unanimous that masks are no longer required on any flights. That includes reports from American, Delta, and United flights between the US and Israel yesterday and today, despite Israel still having a mask requirement for flights to and from Israel.

On flights from foreign airports with a mask requirement, reports have been that passengers have been told they can remove their masks after boarding doors have been closed.

That’s not surprising given that airlines are allowing passengers who were banned from flying due to mask compliance to fly once again. With no way to enforce mask requirements, flight attendants have no intention of policing it and the vast majority of the flight crew and passengers have ditched their masks on US airlines’ domestic and international flights. A reader reports that a maskless flight attendant on a United flight from Newark to Tel Aviv tonight gave a resounding “NO” when asked if masks were required on the flight.

However, multiple readers have reported that El Al has strictly enforced mask policies on flights yesterday and today.

Among other foreign carriers, BA, KLM, and Virgin Atlantic are not enforcing mask requirements on most flights, while Air France, ITA, and Lufthansa are.

In addition to airline confusion, there’s airport confusion. NY controlled JFK and LaGuardia still require masks in the terminal, though NJ controlled Newark Liberty does not. Uber and Lyft in most of the country no longer have a mask requirement, but Uber, Lyft, taxis, and other public transportation in NY still have a mask requirement. But what’s the rule if you take an Uber from NYC to Newark or vice versa? Does it go by point of origin, destination, or after crossing state lines?

I asked El Al about their mask enforcement and they responded with this comment,

“EL AL flights to and from the US are governed by rules and regulations of the FAA and the Israeli government. At this time, the Israel Ministry of Health requires all passengers 6 years old and above to be masked during flight. When these regulations are updated EL AL will adjust to meet those current requirements.”

El Al previously required children 2 and above to mask on US flights, so this is a change from before. But for now, the airline is regulated by the Israeli Ministry of Health and are obliged to follow their guidance.

The airline says that they are lobbying for changes to be made, but for now, they will indeed be strictly enforcing mask requirements and abiding by Israeli law.

  • For those keeping score at home, that means:
    • You’ll need a mask at the airport when flying AA or Delta from JFK to Tel Aviv, but can remove the mask onboard.
    • If you’re flying United from Newark to Tel Aviv you won’t need a mask at the airport or on the flight.
    • If you’re flying El Al from JFK to Tel Aviv you’ll need a mask the whole time, but if you’re flying El Al from Newark to Tel Aviv you won’t need a mask at the airport but you will onboard.
    • All bets are off once you get into that Uber.

Of course in this wild west state of mask confusion, all of this is subject to change at any time, or even in middle of a flight.

May the odds be ever in your favor! Safe travels, good night, and good luck. And be sure to let us know what happens on your flight.

Will you change your travel plans based on airports or airlines enforcing or not enforcing mask requirements?

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97 Comments On "Mask Confusion: Required At JFK, Optional At Newark. Required On El Al, Optional On US Carriers"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions arenā€™t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.

BigIssy

friend flew from Laguardia today. said 50/50 on the mask wearing. News is claiming at ORD you need to mask. have been told by another friend at it was 80/30 maskless

Simmy

I didn’t wear one yesterday in ORD and no one said a word to me. This was even before any airline made an official statement (3pm flight). Could be as everything started to drop they started to enforce it but I don’t know as I was already midflight when they made the official announcement.

Avi2

As of last evening, City of Chicago and State of Illinois lifted mask requirements at MDW and ORD.

3rd grader

“addition to airline confusion, thereā€™s airport confusion. NY controlled JFK and LaGuardia still require masks in the terminal”

Wow. So the science has changed yet again. According to our UNELECTED privileged white Karen woke Governor, Kathy Hochul, (and her sidekick Eric Adams) only in New York airports can one catch Covid and die, but not on airplanes or airports in any other State. Simply amazing.

DoB

Or maybe it’s just that New York State currently requires masks on public transportation, per New York State’s Commissioner of Health (https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2022/03/2.60-determination-5.0_3.2.22.pdf), while New Jersey does not.

Does it somehow come as a surprise that policies differ between jurisdictions?

Steve

What if an entertainer was flying? Do they need to be vaccinated now?
Bunch of clowns.

Jeff

Flew MSN-JFK yesterday, no masks were required in terminal’s or on board

Chaim m

Just flew from LGA and the TSA agent we got asked us to put our masks on. Apparently, not everyone got the memo that itā€™s not required anymore. Though about half the people were unmasked and aside from that one agent no one said boo.

DoB

As indicated above – masks are still required at LGA, as at every other transportation hub in New York State: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2022/03/2.60-determination-5.0_3.2.22.pdf

Your TSA agent was in fact correct.

YM

@Chaim m I would have said to the the TSA agent “Sir I only want to make sure you don’t make a fool out of yourself to anyone that decides to make an issue out of what you just told me, so I’m just going to politely show you that you’ve actually got it all wrong – read here to see that you actually should not be enforcing masks. Again I’m only mentionimg this purely out of care and concern for you..”

Or, “ooh, rebelling against Mr President are we…?”

Wonderingyid

#karen

The Bidener Rebbe

I just took off from JFK. No masks in the airport. Lots of them voluntarily on the plane now

A chossid

Same. Was in JetBlue terminal 5, I’d say 75% had masks but no one said anything to us.

Flight attendants were excited to announce you don’t need a mask

Lipa

We flew LGA (terminal A) today. No masks were required.

Realshlomo

Flight newark to FLL
No masks required 50/50 wearing.

Moish P

Uber sent an email tha t masks are now optional, and after flying today LGA to ORD, not too many people in LGA were wearing masks

Moish P

Same goes for ORD, very few mask wearers there.

elikip

Was in LGA today, in terminals B and D – no apparent enforcement. I interacted with several agents (Jetblue and Delta counters +) and wasn’t asked to wear a mask at any point. (Most airport personnel wore masks, but a number of them didn’t, and some had them down on the chin) I did not actually take a flight, so can’t comment beyond the pre-security experience.

Fascinated

Since the updated rules I haven’t seen anyone in Boro Park wearing a mask. It would seem that parts of NY are in fact following the updated guidelines.
Fascinating!

yy

People in BP were wearing masks before?!

Raph

LOL

thewiz23

lol lol lol!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Shmulit

Is ANA Syd-Hnd-Jfk requiring/enforcing masks?

Elikay

Was in EWR today, lots of people wearing masks. Over 50%. But zero enforcement. Interesting how many people are still in the mask mentality.

Friedman

I Didnā€™t wear a mask in jfk today along with probably 10% of the people there including staff didnā€™t either and no one said a word to me

LSD :-)

I flew to Israel from JFK on Virgin Atlantic before pesach. From LHR to TLV most of the people seemed to be wearing them except for the family sitting in front of us. The only mention of masks came directly from the pilot and was not enforced by the fa.
I’m not holding my breath for the way home, I will be wearing my mask. Plenty of people I know said corona wasn’t any fun and I am still trying not to catch it. Tg I have been successful so far.

samdaman

Why don’t you stay home than?

Mask up or not, it\'s your choice

Exactly. Because if someone thinks a mask is going to stop them from getting the flu, then there’s no hope. Also how does one know they didn’t just have an asymptomatic case?

Put a mask on if you want and if you don’t want, then dont put one on. I know someone that was (in their mind) “careful” to mask up and was thrice vaxxed and still got Delta (or maybe was omicron) and ya know what they survived with the other 99%+ people who got it…I had it twice (2nd time was nothing really, just an annoying headache).

That said, mask up if you want, it’s your choice and no one will stop you – just don’t push it on others.

joel

doubt its the mask that has been saving you.

Steve

Hope you fit tested that n95 your wearing.

Y R

In LAX and itā€™s chill in here..prob 80% of ppl not wearing masks and the last 20% are big time N95ers

Y R

You canā€™t make this up. On JetBlue, they announce masks are not required but please respect if those around you would like to wear a mask. Just remember, is you are wearing a mask, make sure it covers your nose and mouthā€¦ WHAAAA

thewiz23

thats what msnbc recommends too.

chana

I usually fly Elal, but will switch to united and delta if Elal doesnā€™t drop the mandate soon

Israel

Too bad for them.
This case is not up to them but most ppl will choose other carriers

thewiz23

please its a rule they can just be cool about it and let people do what they want and not “strictly enforce ” it. honestly i would love to see this play out to see if people choose to take other ailrines for this reason.

R

What about Turkish?

May we never fall for the BS again

Because it’s frightening how people just complied without thinking for themselves

Wonderingyid

+1

Gebu

Flew out of JFK this morning. I’d say about 70/30 masks/no masks

Y R

Flew into JFK 70/30 No masks lol

Qsman

I traveled yesterday in my Subaru from home in Baltimore County to shul over the line in Baltimore City and picked up some people on the way on the county side. They were not wearing masks, although I could see the little string loops sticking out of their pocket. When I crossed into Baltimore City I was not stopped, however there was no parking by the shul. I dropped my passengers at the Departures (same as Arrivals, in the middle of the street), and went somewhere else where I could find a seat and parking nearby.

ckmk47

LOL

Avi2

What I think people need to understand is that in the good old U. S. of A. we have dual sovereignties between the States and Federal Governments and then there is local control as well. A State or local in most situations can be more restrictive than the Federal Government (unless it infringes on a Federal right or statute). So the Feds may have dropped the Federal mandate but the States and local governments may have not. Also, private companies can do whatever they want if there is no regulation involved.

Seltzer

I was traveling thru Penn station in Manhattan yesterday and today. No masks on the Amtrak trains and no signs for them. In Penn station it was about 50-50. In one Manhattan Uber the driver wasnā€™t wearing a mask and the other driver was and asked me to put it on but didnā€™t seem to care that it was very quickly below my nose and then below my chin

r

Is thurkish to israel requiring masks?

jason green

wait! who will enforce mask mandate in the airport? until now the airline banned you on board so it was a deterrent. But in the airport airline has no authority. wil the TSA arrest me for not wearing a mask?

thewiz23

tsa ended the mandate so no. and honestly lots of people werent wearing masks walking through the AIRPORT this whole time. in the lounges mostly people didnt wear it.

Tavster

“El Al previously required children 2 and above to mask on US flights” this has never been implemented as far as my personal experience goes..

FBR

In my experience it was and in business class to boot! Was super annoying.

HelpMe

Justice Dept. to appeal order voiding travel mask mandate.

Steve

My question is, why are/were airlines so gung-ho about enforcing these ridiculous requirements.
I get it, they need to officially comply, but there was no reason to be so anal about it. The proof is that as soon as it was lifted they very quickly changed their ways,

HelpMe

It is no different than seatbelts or smoking. Don’t blame the airlines. They should enforce all rules no matter if they agree with them or not.

Melech

ElAlā€™s statement sounds like just trying to avoid the question. It really depends on the flight crew I think.

isaac

it was optional @ JFK this morning

Danfan

Ya, was told it’s optional at JFK as well this morning.

Morris

Did anyone fly El Al recently? Were they being strict on enforcing masks?

A Tzaddik

I flew from Switzerland to JFK terminal 1 on April 26 and about 70-80% were not wearing masks including a few immigration officers at the passport control and other airport employees

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