The TSA, major airlines, and Amtrak will no longer enforce a face mask requirement on planes, trains, and other forms of public transportation after a federal judge in Florida overturned the Biden administration policy.
The decision by U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, an appointee of former President Trump, was met with dismay by the White House. The ruling had an immediate impact, though, as airlines and the TSA immediately embraced the decision.
“Due to today’s court ruling, effective immediately, TSA will no longer enforce its Security Directives and Emergency Amendment requiring mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs,” the TSA said in a statement yesterday. “TSA will also rescind the new Security Directives that were scheduled to take effect tomorrow. CDC continues to recommend that people wear masks in indoor public transportation settings at this time.”
“Masks are no longer required on domestic flights, select international flights (dependent upon the arrival country's requirements) or at U.S. airports,” United tweeted.
American Airlines announced “face masks will no longer be required for our customers and team members at U.S. airports and on domestic flights.” Delta earlier today said, “Effective immediately, masks are optional for all airport employees, crew members, and customers inside U.S. airports and onboard aircraft.”
Other airlines to announce they will no longer require face masks include Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Travel, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, and Spirit Airlines.
Amtrak issued a statement yesterday saying “passengers and employees are no longer required to wear masks while on board trains or in stations.”
Despite the ruling, which she described as “disappointing,” Pasaki advised travelers to continue wearing face masks while the administration decides whether the appeal the ruling.
“So we would say to anyone sitting out there: We’d recommend you wear masks on the airplane.”,” Pasaki said in a press briefing Monday at the White House.
All airlines noted that local and foreign laws and regulations may require face masks while under their jurisdiction in airports and elsewhere. They also noted that, while not required, face masks may still be worn by travelers concerned about their well-being.