There has been a federal mask mandate requiring masks to be worn on just about all public transportation in the United States since early 2021. If you’ve flown on a plane (or ridden a bus or a train), I’m sure you’ve encountered this.
On Monday, federal judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle ruled that the mandate exceeded the authority that the CDC has. As a result, many people are wondering is this the end of masks on airplanes (and other forms of transportation)
Will President Biden appeal the decision?
The Biden Administration has already said that they will direct the TSA not to enforce the mask mandate any more. They say that they are “reviewing their options” with regards to an appeal, but to me it seems unlikely. After all, the mask mandate was already set to expire in a few weeks, the airlines all don’t want it, pretty much every PERSON doesn’t want it (even those like myself who were for it in the first place), and this way it seems like the administration gets the best of both worlds. The mandate is over, but THEY didn’t have to be the ones to say it was over (and take any negative feedback for it)
Do you have to wear a mask on a plane?
For awhile, it was a bit up in the air, since airlines (as private companies) would have the right to still require you to wear a mask when flying with them. In the past day or so, the following airlines have all said that they will not require masks for their employees or passengers:
- Alaska Airlines
- Allegiant Air
- American Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- Frontier Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- JetBlue Airways
- Southwest Airlines
- Spirit Airlines
- United Airlines
That covers just about every US airline, so it’s likely that the next time you fly domestically that you will not require a mask. Of course you can still wear a mask if you prefer. There may also be other situations flying internationally or on airlines from other countries where a mask is required. This is a bit of a fluid situation so I am interested to hear from anyone who’s flown in the past day or so what the situation is.
Do you have to wear a mask in the airport?
Similarly, it looks like masks are now optional at many airports as well, given the judge’s ruling. I checked CVG (my local airport) and their FAQ now says “As of April 18, 2022, wearing a face mask at the airport is optional”. On the other hand, the Port Authority of New York is saying that masks will still be required at JFK and LaGuardia, but optional at Newark. So check with your local airport.
Personally, I can’t see any way that this is going to work, since pretty much nobody is going to wear a mask and at this point nobody is going to enforce it. So I would expect to see about 90% non-mask wearing at every airport, even ones where they are “required”. But maybe I’m wrong. It will be interesting to see. I know that personally, as someone who has been very supportive of vaccinations and mask wearing, even I am a bit tired of masks. And if *I* feel that way, I’m sure the 75-95% of people who are less supportive than I was are certainly over it all.
What I plan on doing
As it turns out, my daughter and I are headed on a trip this weekend, so we’ll get to check it out first hand. I think that we will probably end up wearing masks in most places where there are lots of people. Since we are both vaccinated, I feel like there is pretty much little to no risk of getting seriously sick. Still, even emotionally, it’s a bit hard to not feel “germy” especially in situations where you’re around a ton of people. Plus, I know that my wife (hi honey!) will want my daughter at least to wear a mask in most situations. And at this point, we’re all pretty used to it.
Have you flown recently? What has the situation been like? Leave
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