Most major U.S. airlines are no longer requiring travelers or employees to wear face coverings on domestic and some international flights.
The decisions came hours after a U.S. judge on Monday overturned a federal mandate for passengers to cover their faces. The U.S. Transportation Security Administration said after the court ruling that it would stop requiring passengers on planes, trains and other public transportation to wear masks “at this time.”
The five largest U.S. carriers — American Airlines Group Inc., Alaska Air Group Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc., Southwest Airlines Co. and United Airlines Holdings Inc. — said they were dropping their mandates effective immediately. Use of masks will be optional for both passengers and staff, they said.
I was in the Atlanta airport this afternoon when this ruling came down. There was a noticeable buzz. What’s interesting is that in the dozens of conversations I overheard (three hour layover… ugh), I didn’t hear a single person complaining. People were wondering if and when they could take their masks off. They were saying that it was about time. They were looking forward to traveling without a mask. But nary a comment in favor of requiring masks. I’m sure there are some people who want to continue the mandate, but they are few and far between.
Hats off to the airlines for dropping the mandates so quickly. I look forward to flying sans mask later this week.