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.
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.
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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