Federal Government Will No Longer Enforce Masks On Planes

After a federal judge struck down the transportation mask mandate, the Biden Administration has made clear they will comply and no longer enforce the rule.

The Transportation Security Administration will not enforce the mask mandate on public transportation after the court’s ruling, a Biden administration official said.

The administration “is reviewing the court’s ruling” and hasn’t publicly stated whether they will appeal. However it seems unlikely that they will re-start enforcement after having stopped it.

Each airline is free to impose its own mask mandate. That was the status quo from spring 2020 until the Biden administration made masks on planes a federal rule at the end of January 2021.

Alaska Airlines has already stated that masks are optional. American Airlines Chairman Doug Parker, who stepped down as CEO at the end of March, said last month that when the federal government dropped the mask mandate, American would too. I am waiting to hear back from American (and other airlines) on their plans.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Any airline who doesn’t follow Alaska will lose business big time!
    United are you listening???

  2. I find it interesting that the president had a chance for a “win” before opting for the latest two-week extension. Instead, Florida, Gov. Desantis, Trump appointee for the win! Everything he touches turns to . . .

  3. Once again, Gary demonstrates his total ignorance of how things work. The Biden Administration, until (if) an appeal is filed, has no choice but to stop enforcing the mandate.

    “The Transportation Security Administration will not enforce the mask mandate on public transportation after the court’s ruling, a Biden administration official said.”

    This is not a statement of policy preferences or an indication of what the Administration is thinking on this. It is statement of the current legal requirement.

  4. Multiple airports have already said they are not enforcing masking because there is no legal basis to do so.
    The TSA has said it will not enforce the mask mandate.

    It is over after 2 long years – ended by a federal judge rather than the administration which says volumes.

  5. With this ruling, we need a massive class action lawsuit from all travelers ILLEGALLY forced to wear masks. Every single one of us is entitled to compensation.

  6. Everyone take a deep breath. Even if one wanted to appeal, an issue could not be litigated and decided in the two remaining weeks. Save the political comments on either side, it’s over. Let’s move on and talk about racking up points.

  7. UA announced on Twitter 5 minutes ago it’s over. Expect AA, WN and DL to announce within the hour. IT’S OVER!!!!!

  8. @Bob – we know this is not the administration’s policy preference. They could have prioritized obtaining an emergency stay of this ruling. They aren’t doing that. They appear to essentially be giving up, this thing is done.

  9. 1 down…mask mandate

    1 to go…the 1 day entry test.

    Oh and the CDC announced it has a new formula and removed ALL countries from its Do Not Travel list.

  10. There’s politics, and there is science.

    Only time tells when politics wind out.

  11. Bob, just to clarify the law, a holding by a trial court is not final if the losing party files for appeal. The losing party has 30 days to file an appeal. The Administration could simply wait those 30 days and it would get its two-week extension and then simply not file an appeal. And, the Administration would not be legally bound to comply with the trial court’s holding during those 30 days. But, the Administration has apparently said that it will not go down that road. Perhaps it is best not to call Gary ignorant on the issue.

    Separately, even if the government does not mandate masks, any business can choose to impose a mask mandate. Whether the business is an airline or a department store. Perhaps not a good business decision but they can. Gary has repeated discussed this nuance. Gary has noted it again. Gary is not saying the airlines will and is not advocating the airlines should. He’s simply differentiating the issues. Again, perhaps it is best not to call Gary ignorant.

    Now, has everyone heard about the elevated offer for the Chase Sapphire Preferred?

  12. Alaska was really smart to very quickly drop the requirement. That uncorked the bottle and made it much harder for the feds to consider trying to override the district court’s decision. They were wise not to fight. I expect Amtrak, the bus companies, Uber, etc. to quickly follow suit. In a way this whole issue has become like having insurance. Sure, there’s always an argument to increase coverage, or to continue a big policy, but at some point changing circumstances require reviewing what is now reasonable. We’ve reached that point.

  13. Hey Reno Joe,
    Good post about not blaming Gary, or calling him ignorant.
    Agree completely!
    I can’t wait to see what the WOKE millennial experts at The Points Guy will have to say. I’m sure it will be fun to read. The Points Guy himself was a big mask proponent in the beginning, then he leaves NYC during the peak, leases a horse, gets a dog, and acts like everybody can easily afford to do that. Another example of out of touch coastal elitist entitlement mentality.

  14. Good.

    Now the industry needs to remain laser-focused on the one big remaining covid-related barrier to US int’l travel recovery: the pre-departure testing requirement.

    Hopefully, Gary and other opinion-builders can help keep the pre-departure testing requirement removal issue front-and-center from today on.

    I’m among those still concerned about the new covid variants – but the travel decisions need to be given back to the individual.

  15. @Reno Joe:

    You are not a lawyer and you are legally incorrect.

    I actually AM a lawyer and practice in the federal courts.

    Federal court orders are immediately effective and the filing of an appeal does not stay the order unless a separate stay is applied for and granted, which is rare. Here, the administration is not even seeking a stay.

  16. Love the ruling, flying TATL today, w/b. Pity she let Brandon off the hook though.

  17. I can’t believe that anyone actually gives a sh!t about this. Who cares if anyone wears a mask. And who cares if anyone gets infected by the COVID virus or is even vaccinated. After two years of this BS, I really don’t give a rats ass if people are dying from their own stupidity. The only person that can protect anyone from this virus is yourself, and those that just don’t want to do so, can simply go straight to . . . Actually looking forward to the next pandemic. The world is way to overpopulated and perhaps the next time, it will be done right.

  18. This is wonderful news, but we must not let our joy diminish the memory of the crimes perpetrated by these tyrants over the last two years. Final victory will only come when everyone responsible for these mandates is in jail, and when the people are compensated for being ILLEGALLY assaulted by their governments.

  19. The administration has bern seeking a way to end the mask mandate without getting the blame if there is new upsurge in cases. The court ruling is a blessing for Biden because now if there is any new outbreak he can blame the Federal judge’s ruling for it. I think he’s very happy.

  20. Jamieo, this is the first thing that swept through my mind … what a win for the bureaucrats and politicians. Nobody can ‘blame’ them. They’re such toads, but in this case they’re all genius toads.

  21. Bidens freak show of supporters are choking on their own saliva. Joe fumbles once again.

  22. Varying reports show that between 2.7% to a high of 5.4% of the world’s population in 1918 died of the Spanish Flu (which also according to reports actually started in New York!). In 2020, the world’s population was about 7.76 billion people. According to WHO, about 3,000,000 people died globally of COVID-19. So, doing the raw math, 3,000,000/7,760,000,000 = 0.00039. I’m not a physician but math doesn’t lie. More people died of Spanish Flu as a percentage and actual numbers of population than have died of COVID-19. Yes, I took smallpox, polio, shingles, pneumonia, flu, yellow fever (I’m in the airline business) and 3 COVID vaccinations because I figured that “tis better safe than sorry” but the percentages of NOT getting COVID are very high. Granted, if a person gets COVID, then that person’s chances were 100%. This effort to stem COVID in the fashion that was exhibited over the last 2-1/2 years has been a coordinated effort to frighten the populations, which was wildly successful.

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