Earlier today, a federal judge in Florida ruled that the federal mask mandate on public transportation including planes, trains and buses is “unlawful.” News and misinformation are spreading faster than  wildfire.

After researching diligently for hours, I was seconds away from doing a national television spot on News Nation when news broke that the TSA will no longer enforce the mask mandate.

Per White House reporter Kaitlin Collins: “An administration official says agencies are still reviewing Florida judge’s decision but “in the meantime, today’s court decision means CDC’s public transportation masking order is not in effect at this time.” TSA is NO LONGER enforcing the mask mandate.”

That’s great but I don’t think the general public realizes that the TSA doesn’t control airports. They enforce security. Mask policies are still in place until airport authorities and airlines say they’re not. Which it looks like they’re about to start doing.

The first of what I suspect will be many, if not all U.S. airlines, is Alaska Airlines, which just tweeted this: “BREAKING: Face masks are officially optional in airports and onboard all Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air flights, effective immediately. Full statement.

A few minutes later, I received an email from United Airlines PR department stating: “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. We will continue to closely monitor the situation in the event of changes.”

I’m sure American, Delta or Southwest will be next with a similar announcement.

UPDATE:
Delta Air Lines just made their announcement just as my sister was boarding her plane. News travels quickly and she caught the flight attendant’s announcement. Video.

UPDATE 2: American Airlines just made it official.

UPDATE 3: Southwest Airlines just made it official too.

UPDATE 4: JetBlue just joined the party.

Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, said the federal judge voiding U.S. mask mandate for airplanes and travel is “a disappointing decision” and notes that the DOJ will decide whether to pursue litigation. She went on to say: “The CDC continues recommending wearing a mask in public transit.” Source: ABC News

No matter what the airline policies are, I’m still going to wear a mask when I feel the need and I think many others will, too. One silver lining of the pandemic is that airlines got rid of those ridiculous and expensive change fees, which pretty much forced people to fly sick. With change fees a thing of the past, it’s much easier to reschedule your flight if you’re sick. Another upside is that masks have become normalized, unlike pre-pandemic days when I used to wear a mask because I wasn’t feeling well or if I noticed my seatmate was sick, and I would get strange looks. Those days are hopefully over.

Unfortunately, one rule I hope the Biden administration gets rid of is the testing requirement for those traveling into the US. According to a source, they have no plans to drop it, which is a shame.

So, will you continue to wear a mask after the airlines make them optional?

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5 Comments On "All Major U.S. Airlines Have Now Made Masks Optional"
  1. DML|

    I’m definitely going to continue to wear a mask on flights for awhile.

  2. Marlin Yoder|

    No I will not, let’s have a mask burning party.

  3. Katie|

    I 100% will continue to wear a mask on all public transport. And I feel horrible for people who were mid-flight when airlines lifted the mandate, causing some people who decided to fly only because they felt it was safe enough with everyone masked great distress when their risk suddenly shifted and they couldn’t do anything about it. The least the airlines could’ve done was wait a day or two to give people notice so they could decide whether they still feel comfortable flying.

  4. Watomi|

    Masking for sure. At this point I’m double masking with an N95 and 2 layer fabric with filter masks as I know several Covid-positive people (friends included) who boarded planes strongly suspecting they had Covid or flat out knowing they were Covid positive. One was symptomatic one week ago but waited to test (positive) until they got home.

  5. John|

    100% will not wear one. Cloth masks are little more than “facial decoration” per Dr’s Wen and Osterholm. EU airlines don’t allow cloth for that reason.

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