After a federal judge shot down the CDC’s face mask mandate for public travel, the industry didn’t wait long to act. Almost immediately, Amtrack announced that masks would be optional on trains. American, Southwest, United, Delta, and Alaska Airlines all announced that masking would be optional within hours. Some pilots made the announcement to passengers in mid-flight. Cheers were reportedly heard from passengers in some instances. This should probably send a very clear message to Joe Biden if he plans on challenging the judge’s ruling. (National Review)
The largest American airline companies and Amtrak said they are dropping requirements to wear masks after a federal judge overturned the Biden administration’s mask mandate for air travel and public transportation.
American, Delta, Southwest, United, and Alaska Airlines all said on Monday night that passengers could fly without masks, with some pilots announcing the policy change mid-flight. U.S. district judge Kathryn Mizelle ruled Monday that the mandate violated the Administrative Procedure Act, and hours later a Biden administration official told media outlets that the mandate “is not in effect at this time.”
“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,” United said in a statement on Twitter.
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
Southwest Airlines probably had the most socially sensitive announcement. They urged passengers to “wear or not wear a mask based on what was best for your personal wellbeing.”
Check out this guy who broke into an impromptu soul music performance on the plane, singing “throw away your masks” as he walked up and down the aisle with a bag to collect people’s masks.
Posting again because Twitter deleted (?)
The end of the #maskmandate has this plane singing
🎶 Throw away your masks 🎶 pic.twitter.com/BvvCNLE6Ts
— Guy P. Football (@Guy_P_Football) April 19, 2022
As I mentioned above, the federal government should think long and hard before challenging this ruling and attempting to put the mandate back in place. Airline travel has probably been the biggest flashpoint in the face mask wars. We’ve literally had fights break out between passengers and flight attendants. Flying is stressful enough as it is without having to go through all of that. And nobody is actually banning masks on flights, trains, or anywhere else. Each announcement that came out yesterday made it quite clear that passengers were welcome to keep masking if that’s what they want to do.
But particularly in the case of the airlines, the requirement was already looking patently ridiculous. How is it that people are congregating in crowded bars and restaurants all over the country without masks when essentially none of those establishments have air filtration systems that are anywhere near as powerful as the ones on planes? None of these questions changed the fact that the ruling came as a terrible disappointment to Jen Psaki. But I’m sure she’ll manage to get over it somehow.
We’ll close with the other bit of good news that arrived later in the day. TSA will stop enforcing the mandate at airports. You may go about your business now in whatever manner passes for “normal” these days.
Full statement: pic.twitter.com/DgG5FKaOwf
— Philip Melanchthon Wegmann (@PhilipWegmann) April 18, 2022