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Masks Officially No Longer Required On Planes in the U.S.

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It’s official, masks are done on flights, effective immediately. TSA made a statement Monday afternoon officially ending their enforcement of the travel mask mandate, effective immediately, after the judge’s ruling earlier today.

A Biden administration official stated “Today’s court decision means CDC’s public transportation masking order is not in effect at this time.” continuing with “Therefore, TSA will not enforce its Security Directives and Emergency Amendment requiring mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs at this time,”

This means that effective immediately, passengers in the U.S. can now board public transportation like airplanes, trains, and buses, with the personal option of wearing a mask.

Earlier this morning, US district judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, released a 59-page ruling on the topic of the mask mandate. Judge Mizelle wrote in her statement that “Since the mask mandate regulates an individual’s behavior – wearing a mask – it imposes directly on liberty interests.” The judge also wrote that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “overstepped its authority” when the mask mandate was issued for all forms of public transportation throughout the country.

While the TSA’s mask mandate has now been dropped, effective immediately on April 18, 2022, the CDC is still recommending that passengers wear masks on flights and trains, but it is now a personal choice for each individual. Passengers can no longer face repercussions, like refusal of boarding or monetary fines.

couple on plane without mask

Airlines are taking quick action

Alaska Airlines only took seconds to tweet out their new optional mask policy on board all flights.

Popular flying blog Live and Let’s Fly obtained a press release from United that was issued to all staff moments ago. The statement reads

Effective immediately, masks are no longer required on board domestic flights, select international flights (dependent upon the arrival country’s mask requirements) or at U.S. airports.

This change comes after a decision by a federal judge voiding the federal mask mandate. We will continue to closely monitor the situation in the event of changes.

While this means that you are no longer required to wear a mask – and no longer have to enforce a mask requirement for most of the flying public – we ask that you respect the decision of those employees or customers who choose to do so, as the CDC continues to recommend wearing a mask on public transit.

At the moment, there will be no changes to testing requirements for entry into the U.S.

As the rest of the U.S.-based airlines prepare their statements, we’ll be sure to add them to our list of worldwide airlines that have already dropped mandatory masks for passengers.

No changes on entry requirements… yet

While passengers are now free to fly without masks, there are still no changes to the entry requirements at the border. All returning citizens, or visiting tourists, will still need to provide a negative antigen test, performed within 1-day before their flight.

The U.S. keeping the testing requirement in place for as long as they have comes as quite the surprise, especially since much stricter nations, notably Canada and Australia, have both removed them. Fully vaccinated Americans can now travel test-free to almost the entire continent of Europe, and almost all of Central and South America, but still need a test to return home.

Read More:

Very High Travel Demand Is Back, But Are Airports And Airlines Ready For It?

Top 5 Busiest Airports In The U.S. And How To Beat The Queues

10 Cities Worldwide That Tourists Can Visit Mask-Free

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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories


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Tiff

Wednesday 20th of April 2022

How I wished I had a trip this week to partake in the celebrations!

AyL

Tuesday 19th of April 2022

oh so now all of a sudden airlines are enthused about this news. finally no more power tripping from flight attendants.it was just a short 3 months ago I was scolded 3 times for not having my mask on while I was chewing my snack

Liberty

Tuesday 19th of April 2022

Now strike down testing!

Stephen White

Tuesday 19th of April 2022

Deo gratias! I never bought the US government's argument of extending the mask mandate just so they could evaluate the risks of the new Omicron B2 variant. Better to allow the mandate to expire and then, IF the evidence supports it, reimpose it. Basically they wanted to incarcerate everybody first and then see if a crime was committed. That's essentially they logic they were employing.

P

Tuesday 19th of April 2022

@Stephen White, if the government knew this was coming down from the court, extending the mandate allows them to save face with a large portion of those who never want to see the pandemic end. Now the big bad evil court struck it down because they want to kill grandma rather than the administration being blamed.

Christian

Monday 18th of April 2022

While masks fascists are loosing, it is time to jail those responsible. Also I won’t travel back to the US as long as the entry requirements aren’t lifted.