Airports, airlines drop mask mandates after court ruling

Travelers celebrated across the country on Monday as airports and airlines dropped their mask requirements after a federal judge in Florida on Monday invalidated the Biden administration’s mask mandate for planes, trains and buses.

But the enthusiasm also came with confusion, as some airports, airlines and transport companies had not yet announced whether or not they would continue to enforce the mandate – or confirm masks would still be required.

Following the judge’s ruling, United Airlines, Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines and American Airlines all relaxed their mask policies for customers, crew and workers.

“It feels good to be flying the moment the mask mandate has been lifted. At this airport, there is a celebration, literally.” Darrin Smith tweeted Monday night.

United and Delta lifted the mask requirement for all domestic flights. United also said the policy change would apply to “select international flights,” while Delta said masks would also be optional on “most international flights.”

Southwest and American Airlines also lifted mask requirements for travelers and employees, but didn’t say whether the switch extended to international flights.

However, airports such as Raleigh-Durham, Miami and Portland have confirmed that they will no longer enforce mask requirements under local TSA guidelines. said the San Francisco airport it “will continue to comply with the current TSA safety policy on masks until we hear otherwise from TSA.”

FILE - Travelers walk through Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Friday, April 1, 2022 in Seattle.  On Monday, April 18, 2022, a Florida federal judge overturned the national mask mandate for airplanes and other public transportation, saying it exceeded the powers of U.S. public health officials.
A federal judge in Florida ruled that the CDC failed to properly explain its decision to impose the mask mandate or follow proper rulemaking procedures.
AP/Ted S Warren

The Port Authority, which operates JFK Airport, LaGuardia Airport, Newark Airport, Teterboro Airport, as well as the Port Authority bus terminal and the PATH rail system, has made no announcement of suspension of the mandate.

In New York City, subway and bus drivers have been instructed to put on their masks.

“The mask requirement for public transportation in NY remains in effect for now, pursuant to a decision by the New York State Department of Health dated March 2, 2022,” the MTA said in a statement Monday night.

People ride the subway in Brooklyn.
The MTA said subway and bus drivers must keep their masks on.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

However, the Washington DC Metro has ruled that masks are now optional for drivers.

U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle — a person appointed by President Donald Trump — ruled that the CDC failed to properly explain its decision to impose the mandate or follow proper rulemaking procedures.

The Biden administration confirmed Monday night that travelers can refrain from wearing masks for the time being pending a review and possible appeal of the ruling.

US District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle stands behind her desk.
U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle ruled that the CDC exceeded its powers by maintaining transit mask regulations.
US federal government

Last week, the CDC announced that transport mask mandates would be extended by an additional 15 days after they were due to expire on April 18 following a small spike in COVID cases of the BA.2 Omicron subvariant, prompting the TSA to delay their enforcement until extend May 3rd.

Enthusiastic travelers took to social media after the announcement, describing scenes of the celebration as passengers learned the news.

Passengers and airline employees wear masks as they interact at the Los Angeles International Airport flight terminal in Los Angeles, California, the United States, April 13, 2022.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced the extension of its mask mandate for air travel through May 3, 2022.
The Port Authority, which operates JFK Airport, LaGuardia Airport, Newark Airport, Teterboro Airport, and the Port Authority Bus Station and PATH rail system, has made no announcement regarding the suspension of the mandate.

said Kenneth Naylor, “Boarding an American Airline flight when the mask announcement was made – everyone cheered. Flight attendants were euphoric,”

“Well. In an unexpected twist, they announced mid-flight that the mask mandate had been lifted. People were clapping and they were coming down the island picking up trash to collect disposable masks and the flight attendant posted a Us-y for Tik Toc . said Brent Toellner.

Others were surprised when they heard about the rule changes.

Michael Rosenbloom asked, “Does anyone know if any airlines are still conducting mask mandates (and will still be conducting them in the summer?”. “I’m considering registering for a conference that requires a cross-country flight and I’m not really ready for a flight to climb, which does not require masks.”

With post wires Airports, airlines drop mask mandates after court ruling


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