Big airlines drop mask mandate after federal court ruling
Washington DC - American Airlines and several other major carriers will no longer require face masks at US airports and on domestic flights, in accordance with the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) decision.
The airline said face masks will not be compulsory as TSA no longer enforces the federal face mask mandate applied to public transportation and transportation hubs.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which had issued the Biden administration's mandate in February 2021, last week extended it through May 3.
The latest developments follow a ruling by a federal judge in Florida, who struck down the mask requirement by the CDC on airplanes, trains, buses and other public transportation.
A Biden administration official reportedly said that CDC's public transportation masking order is not in effect at this time following the court ruling.
CDC, however, recommends that people continue to wear masks in indoor public transportation settings.
American Airlines added that its customers and team members may continue to wear masks at their own discretion. According to the company, face masks may still be required based on local ordinances, or when travelling to and from certain international locations based on country requirements.
American Airlines is one among several airlines and travel authorities that made masks optional for its employees and customers, even as new coronavirus cases are sharply rising again.
Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines, JetBlue also dropped the requirement.
Cover photo: 123RF/jovannig