June 1, 2023

US mask mandate removed

The mask mandate across flights within the United States has been removed.

Following the ruling of a US district court judge on Monday, the Biden administration announced that the Transportation Security Administration will no longer enforce the federal mandate requiring masks in all US airports and onboard aircraft.

Airlines have been quick to react. A spokesperson for Delta stated: “We are relieved to see the US mask mandate lift to facilitate global travel as Covid-19 transitions to a more manageable respiratory virus – with better treatments, vaccines and other scientific measures to prevent serious illness.”

American Airlines said face masks may still be required based on local ordinances, or when travelling to/from certain international locations based on country requirements.

“In keeping with our commitment to creating a welcoming environment for everyone who travels with us, customers and team members may choose to continue to wear masks at their own discretion,” it added.

Dr Joe Leader, APEX/IFSA CEO, commented: “After two years, airline passengers and crew are more than ready to advance to a phase of personal responsibility for Covid-19 wellness.

“The end of the US airline mask mandate will be followed by the official ending of US international entry testing by next month. Stay safe and stay tuned for the announcement – with an amazing summer of travel ahead!”

But a recent poll by Harris found 60% of US citizens wanted the mandate to be extended, with 32% feeling strongly that it should continue. In comparison, only 21% of participants strongly opposed its extension.