The days of being required to wear a mask on domestic flights are over.
On Monday, many U.S.-based airlines opted to removed their mask mandate policies after a federal judge ruled that the Biden administration’s mask mandate for airplanes was unlawful.
The airlines are Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Spirit and JetBlue – aka, all of the major players in the U.S. airline market.
Now, masks are no longer required on domestic flights and, depending on the destination, some international flights. You can check in with each individual airline for their specific announcement and policy changes.
To no surprise, the news is being met with split reactions. Some are very happy to see the mandate go, while others still feel the anxiety associated with the pandemic, including crowded, small spaces and unvaccinated children.
The expectation is that some passengers will continue to wear the masks when flying, especially in the short term.
“While we are glad this means many of us get to see your smiling faces, we understand some might have mixed feelings,” Alaska Airlines wrote on its website. “Please remember to be kind to one another and that wearing a mask while traveling is still an option.”
Airports are also starting to drop mask requirements in the terminals, with many major hubs, such as Dallas and Miami, saying they will no longer enforce the mandate. Other airports are being more cautious and are awaiting further directions from the TSA.
It’s expected that there will be more fallout from this ruling, including a relaxation of rules on public transportation, such as subways and buses, in the coming days and weeks.
As with all things pandemic-related, we’ll have to wait and see how it plays out in practice. Be sure to check the updated regulations at your local airport and with your airline of choice before flying.