Following a federal court ruling in Florida, the Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) said it could no longer enforce the mask mandate on public transportation, which led to several US airlines announcing masks would no longer be required in flight.
In a statement released today, the TSA said “effective immediately, TSA will no longer enforce its Security Directives and Emergency Amendment requiring mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs”.
The statement follows a federal court ruling in Florida on Monday that saw US District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle strike down the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) mask mandate for travelers on planes, trains, taxis, buses, and other forms of public transportation.
In a 59-page ruling, Mizelle said the mandate went beyond the CDC’s statutory authority. “The court concludes that the mask mandate exceeds the CDC’s statutory authority and violates the procedures required for agency rulemaking under the APA,” the judge wrote.
The White House said it is reviewing the decision and assessing potential next steps. “This is obviously a disappointing decision,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Monday. While it’s no longer mandatory, she said the CDC continues to recommend wearing a mask when using public transport.
The CDC’s public transport mask mandate has been dropped © George Frey / Bloomberg via Getty Images
Which airlines have dropped mask mandates?
In response to the TSA’s statement on Monday, most major US-based airlines dropped mask mandates effective immediately including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue, Spirit Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and United.
Airlines stressed that passengers can continue to wear face masks on board their flights if they wish, regardless of the ruling. Some carriers said masks may still be required on certain international flights depending on the local rules at a given destination.
“Face masks have been like boarding passes for nearly two years — you couldn’t fly without one. But, as of today, masks are optional in airports and onboard aircraft, effective immediately,” Alaska Airlines said in a statement.
“While we are glad this means many of us get to see your smiling faces, we understand some might have mixed feelings. Please remember to be kind to one another and that wearing a mask while traveling is still an option.”
Do I need to wear a mask in airports?
The ruling means that masks are no longer required in airports or any transport hub, but it’s still a good idea to pack one if traveling internationally as many airports around the world require that passengers wear a face mask while in their terminals.
If you need to catch a connecting flight outside the United States, it’s likely you’ll need to wear a mask on board the airplane. Many countries, particularly in Europe and Asia, require that passengers wear masks in taxis and on board busses and trains too. Failure to do so could result in a fine.
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The post Which US airlines have dropped mask mandates after the federal court ruling?
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