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Masks off: U.S. airlines drop mask requirements for passengers and employees

The Biden administration has announced it will no longer enforce a U.S. mask mandate on airlines and public transportation, after a federal judge in Florida ruled that the directive was unlawful, overturning a key White House effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The Biden administration has announced it will no longer enforce a U.S. mask mandate on airlines and public transportation, after a federal judge in Florida ruled that the directive was unlawful, overturning a key White House effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The ruling comes as COVID-19 infections rise again in the United States, with 36,251 new infections reported on average each day, and 460 daily deaths, based on a seven-day average – the highest number of reported total COVID-19 deaths in the world.

The White House called the ruling “disappointing.”

Airlines however welcomed the move by saying they would no longer require masks. The easing of restrictions also applies to travel on Amtrak trains and public transportation.

Here’s what some of the major U.S carriers had to say about it.

Alaska Airlines

“Face masks have been like boarding passes for nearly two years — you couldn’t fly without one. But, as of today, masks are optional in airports and onboard aircraft, effective immediately.”

“While we are glad this means many of us get to see your smiling faces, we understand some might have mixed feelings. Please remember to be kind to one another and that wearing a mask while travelling is still an option.”

American Airlines

Airline Update

“Face masks will no longer be required for our customers and team members at U.S. airports and on domestic flights.

“Please note face masks may still be required based on local ordinances, or when travelling to/from certain international locations based on country requirements.”

Delta Air Lines

“Effective immediately, masks are optional for all airport employees, crew members and customers inside U.S. airports and onboard aircraft.”

“We are relieved to see the U.S. mask mandate lift to facilitate global travel as COVID-19 has transitioned to an ordinary seasonal virus. Thank you for your support in complying with the federal mask mandate and keeping each other, and our customers, safe during the pandemic.”

United Airlines

“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.”

JetBlue

“Mask wearing will now be optional on JetBlue. While no longer required, customers and crew members are welcome to continue wearing masks in our terminals and onboard our aircraft.”

Southwest Airlines

“Southwest employees and customers will be able to choose whether they would like to wear a mask, and we encourage individuals to make the best decision to support their personal wellbeing.”

Industry trade group Airlines for America said, “The high level of immunity and widespread vaccine accessibility in the U.S. coupled with the hospital-grade cabin air on aircraft provide a strong, science-based foundation for passengers to travel with confidence as restrictions are lifted on our nation’s airlines.”

“We look forward to welcoming millions of travellers back to the skies this summer to reunite with loved ones, attend conferences or take a vacation.”

Should you still wear a mask on flights in the U.S? It’s totally up to you of course, but our advice would be to wear one for the benefit of your and your loved ones’ travels.

The last thing you need is to catch Covid on your trip.