Major Airline Carriers Deem Masks Optional on Domestic Flights

Samantha Elkins, News Editor

In recent months, various public health mandates have eased due to fewer COVID-19 cases. Policies regarding masks specifically remained at the forefront of these mandates, as people question how much longer certain institutions will enforce them. On Monday, major airline carriers like American Airlines, JetBlue and United Airlines officially announced their “mask optional” policy on domestic flights. 

Florida’s U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle declared the Biden Administration and the  Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s mask mandate as unlawful, stating that they went beyond their legal authority when issuing the mask mandate in Feb. 2021. This mandate calls for optional mask-wearing in airports, planes, trains and other public transportation services. While The White House confirmed the CDC’s law as officially nullified, they continue to voice their encouragement and support of masks to optimize people’s health. Nonetheless, most domestic flights join the mask optional policies that most restaurants and stores have adopted. 

Previously, airlines remained strict on their mandatory mask-wearing — asleep or awake on flights. Those who refused to comply with the safety guidelines were often removed from flights, with some instances even resulting in physical violence. 

The following large airlines have adopted the policy: American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Alaska Airlines, JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines. Many passengers and flight attendants rejoiced upon hearing the news, many having waited for this announcement for almost two years.