Will masks come back on planes? All you need to know

A Florida judge overturned the CDC’s order for masking on all public transportation.

Sarah Tew/CNET

For the latest news and information on the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO and CDC websites.

US aircraft masking requirements – which were originally due to expire on April 18, but have been extended until May 3 — have currently been suspended due to a court order. A Florida judge at the Eleventh Circuit Court ruled Monday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had not followed proper procedure in issuing its order for masks on public transportation, originally issued in January 2021.

The federal mandate required travelers to wear masks on buses, subways, trains, ferries and other forms of public transportation. And now that the requirement has ended, many airlines no longer enforce the mandate.

However, the federal government is appealing the court’s decision and a new poll shows a majority of Americans support a mask mandate for air travel.

We’ll explain what’s going on with the plane mask warrant and court order, including whether it can be reinstated. For more information, here is the news of the BA.2 variant of COVID-19how to find free COVID-19 antiviral pills and how order more free COVID-19 tests. We’ll update this story as new information develops.

Could the mask mandate be reinstated?

After the court’s decision overturned the federal order, the The Biden administration has indicated it will fight the decision. Wednesday, the The Department of Justice announced that he would appeal.

The Biden administration told reporters Tuesday that the Transportation Safety Agency would not enforce the mask mandate while the court order is reviewed. However, several transit companies have said they will continue to require masks.

The United States has seen a dramatic drop in the number of new COVID-19 cases since February, and political pressure to end the airplane mask mandate has grown – the Senate passed a bill in March to eliminate transit mask requirements, with eight Democrats joining the yes vote.

An April 20 poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 56% of Americans support mask requirements for “people traveling by plane, train, and other types of public transportation.”

seven N95 masks lined up

It is always possible that the mandate will be reinstated.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Which states have sued to end the mask requirement?

Twenty-one states have sued to end the mask mandate on public transit. All 21 states have Republican attorneys general. Here is the list: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.

Do flight attendants support the mask mandate?

Flight attendants as a group have not taken a position on whether or not to keep the mask mandate in place, the Association of Flight Attendants said. They are, however, responsible for enforcing the mandate, which means dealing with passengers who refuse to comply.

A group of nine flight attendants from Allegiant, American, Delta, Frontier, Southwest and United filed a lawsuit in late March, alleging the mask mandate is unconstitutional. These flight attendants argue that mask requirements on planes are leading to hostility and violence against them, according to ABC4.

As of April 12, the Federal Aviation Administration reported that 744 of 1,150 unruly passenger cases in 2022 were related to face masks. Given these numbers, an expired warrant could significantly reduce the number of violent in-flight altercations.

However, the flight attendants’ union disagrees with major airlines’ plans to bring back passengers who had previously been banned due to the refusal to wear masks, per AP.

Which US airlines still need masks?

Currently, the majority of airlines in the United States have ended the mask requirement for flyers. On March 23, Airlines for America, an industry association that includes the seven major US airlines, sent an open letter to President Joe Biden asking him to end masking and international testing requirements before departure. The organization said the rules “no longer make sense in the current public health context” and that “the science clearly supports lifting the mask mandate”.

Generally, airlines follow protocols put in place by the Transportation Security Administration, so if the mandate is not reinstated, airlines are likely to retain the “no mask necessary” policy.

“We remain in communication with the administration as it re-evaluates existing mask requirements and works to identify a way forward from COVID-era policies,” a representative said. AFA at CNET. “We are encouraged by the lifting of mask requirements in all 50 states and other COVID-related restrictions across the country.”

A plane that flies

For some airlines, you will still need to wear a mask when traveling to other countries with mandates, such as Canada.

James Martin/CNET

Which international airlines have ended masks on flights?

U.S. mask requirements on airlines have ended, and several international airlines, particularly in Europe, have also recently removed mandatory masking on flights.

On April 4, norwegian air announced that it was removing mask requirements for all of its flights. Norwegian flies almost entirely within Europe.

British Airways also lifted its mask requirements on some of its flights, following the end of mask mandates in England and Wales.

Swedish airline SAS eliminated masking required on flights in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. All passengers over the age of 6 traveling to or from other countries must always wear masks.

March 16, Virgin Atlantic made masks optional for travelers traveling to Barbados, Saint Lucia, Antigua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, Bahamas and Jamaica.

Icelandair also made masks optional for all flights except those to and from Canada, the United States and Germany.

UK based airlines EasyJet, Jet2 and You have all lifted in-flight mask requirements for flights that depart and end in places that do not require masks, including England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

How can I stay protected while the mask mandate is lifted?

If you are concerned about COVID-19 while traveling, there are a few steps you can take to protect yourself.

  • Wear a face mask during the flight.
  • Choose a window seat, if possible, it exposes you to fewer people than an aisle seat.
  • Stay up to date on your vaccines.
  • Wipe down your seat and tray with a disinfectant cloth.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands before eating.

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical or health advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.

Comments are closed.