U.S. Airlines Lift Mask Mandates for Passengers and Crew
On Monday, U.S. airlines are lifting mask mandates for passengers and crew, after a federal judge in Florida ruled against the Biden administration's mask requirement for travelers on planes and other public forms of transportation.
The ruling set off a domino effect of changes to the U.S. air travel landscape. Several airlines announced that masks will now be optional for travelers aboard their aircraft. This also means that airline employees no longer have to wear masks, nor will they have to enforce the rule on passengers.
However, airlines also warn that travelers should still bring a mask on their trip, to conform with the rules where they land, especially if they'll be taking any international flights.
On social media, travelers reported that many airlines decided to make the announcement mid-flight, resulting in a mixed response. Passengers traveling with young children (unable to wear either a mask and/or be vaccinated) as well as those that are immunocompromised expressed frustration at having the rules and regulations changing without advance notice.
This is what United Airlines tweeted soon after the news broke:
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
American Airlines – and many others – also followed suit on social media:
Face masks will no longer be required for our customers and team members at U.S. airports and on domestic flights (though there may be some exceptions based on local or country requirements). https://t.co/GT1lZq5TAf
— americanair (@AmericanAir) April 19, 2022
Which Airlines Have Lifted the Mask Mandate?
As of April 18, 2022, the following U.S. airlines lifted mandatory mask mandates, allowing both passengers and crew to choose whether or not they want to wear one while in flight: