Major U.S. airlines have already dropped their own requirements after the Biden Administration decided to end the mask mandate.
The federal rules about conduct on aircraft as a passenger will no longer cover face masks as a result of the White House's instructions.
The mask mandate has been extended by the Biden Administration for two more weeks, despite airlines lobbying the White House to drop it.
A District Court judge in Florida ruled on Monday that a lawsuit that was filed in July of 2021 was not within the purview of the CDC to require passengers to wear masks.
The full court decision is what this is.
The judge said that the mask mandate exceeded the CDC's authority.
The administration could have taken the case to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, but it's unlikely that will happen. Two years into the Pandemic which has now been classified as endemic in many parts of the world, mask-wearing and especially the mandate has become a contentious issue with even longstanding advocates saying it's time to do away with them.
The following statement was issued by the Transportation Security Administration.
Monday, April 18, 2022
Due to today’s court ruling, effective immediately, TSA will no longer enforce its Security Directives and Emergency Amendment requiring mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs. TSA will also rescind the new Security Directives that were scheduled to take effect tomorrow. CDC continues to recommend that people wear masks in indoor public transportation settings at this time.
Immediately after, airlines announced that they would no longer require masks on flights.
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
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
Read the guidance @Delta shared with employees regarding the White House announcement on the federal mask mandate: https://t.co/vWNjlT2Vgs
— Delta News Hub (@DeltaNewsHub) April 18, 2022
BREAKING: Face masks are officially optional in airports and onboard all Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air flights, effective immediately. Full statement: https://t.co/zVonJVowr7
— Alaska Airlines News (@AlaskaAirNews) April 18, 2022
Southwest Airlines has yet to make a statement or update their website as of this moment, but that is probably just a matter of time.
The rules for flying to the U.S. with a foreign carrier might be different. It might be worthwhile to book flights with the U.S. carrier again.
According to the New York Times, Amtrak has stopped requiring masks even though they still have a pinned post from February saying the opposite.
A federal judge in Florida struck down the mask requirement on airplanes, trains, buses and other public transportation on Monday, less than a week after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had extended it through May 3.
The ruling left it up to individual airlines and local transit agencies to decide what to do, and by late Monday, the nation’s largest airlines had dropped their mask requirements for domestic flights. The Amtrak rail system said passengers and employees would no longer need to wear masks.
In a 59-page decision, Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, who was appointed by President Donald J. Trump, voided the mandate — which also applies to airports, train stations and other transportation hubs — nationwide on several grounds, including that the agency had exceeded its legal authority under the Public Health Services Act of 1944. Because of the ruling, the masking order was not in effect for the time being, and the Transportation Security Administration would not enforce it, a Biden administration official said on Monday evening.
The official said that the administration was still reviewing the decision and assessing whether to appeal it, and that the C.D.C. still recommended that people wear masks in enclosed public transportation settings. …
Last month, the executives of major airlines — including Delta, American Airlines, and United Airlines — had asked the Biden administration in a joint letter to let the mask mandate on planes and in airports expire.
In her ruling, Judge Mizelle also faulted the agency for issuing the mandate under emergency procedures without delaying for public comment — rejecting the idea that there was no time for that since the pandemic was then already a year old. …
The White House is unlikely to appeal the decision at this time, as the mandate was set to expire in two weeks, and the appeal would be filed with the 11th Circuit in Atlanta, GA. The matter would be left to the SCOTUS.
The masking requirement has become unpopular with airlines, business groups and large parts of the population so it's probably futile or not very wise for the administration to pursue the matter at this point in a crucial election year.
There are limits to the power an elected government can impose on the people thanks to the courts. The most important cases are usually settled at the SCOTUS when key policies are dragged through and often struck down by the courts. A functioning judicial system is something we should be thankful for no matter where we stand on single issues.
All major U.S. airlines have announced that face coverings are no longer required. Passengers can wear a face mask if they choose to do so. Common sense and decency will prevail on both sides of the discussion. I don't want to see fights on planes with people who can't let others be.
I'm very happy about this. I have a long flight from South Korea to San Francisco coming up next week and I'm happy that I don't have to wear a face mask for 11 hours. If I feel like it, I will probably wear one in places with large groups of people. I have worn masks in such a setting since I first moved to Japan 10 years ago. This has nothing to do with Covid for me, but it has been turned into a political, almost religious matter. I wish we could start respecting each other again without the urge to pick fights with strangers.