A federal judge in Florida ruled against the Biden administration’s mandatory mask mandate for air travelers and most of the major airlines wasted little time scrapping mask requirements.
Among those taking action, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, American Airlines and Alaska Airlines announced that masks are now optional for travelers. Some passengers were instructed midflight and video footage of their reactions was shared online.
U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle concluded in a 59-page ruling that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mask mandate “exceeded the CDC statutory authority,” and that it was “arbitrary and capricious.”
The judge who just overturned the mask mandate on airplanes is Kathryn Kimball Mizelle. 35-years-old, former Clarence Thomas clerked, appointed by Trump and confirmed by the Senate right before the lame duck session ended in 2020. pic.twitter.com/lu6ck1FIvT
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) April 18, 2022
In one tweet, the pilot is heard saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your pilot speaking. This is the most important announcement I’ve ever made. The federal mask mandate is over. Take off your mask if you choose!”
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is your pilot speaking. This is the most important announcement I’ve ever made. The federal mask mandate is over. Take off your mask if you choose!”
— Ben Dietderich (@ben_dietd) April 18, 2022
In another clip, a Delta flight attendant appears to break into tears while making the announcement midflight:
A Delta flight attendant breaks into tears as she takes off her mask for the first time in two years.
What COVID law has done to people is terrible.pic.twitter.com/HcLALvzMzv
— Aaron Ginn (@aginnt) April 19, 2022
“Following the ruling of a U.S. 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 U.S. airports and on board aircraft,” Delta said in a statement. “Effective immediately, masks are optional for all airport employees, crew members and customers inside U.S. airports and on board all aircraft domestically, as well as on most international flights.”
“Delta employees and customers may continue wearing masks if they so choose. Wearing a well-fitting mask protects the wearer, even if others around them are not wearing masks,” the airline added.
Delta also dubbed COVID-19 as an “ordinary seasonal virus,” as seen here:
Delta declares the pandemic over and COVID-19 is “an ordinary seasonal virus”. The silence from CDC is deafening. pic.twitter.com/4FYWFFiLRu
— Jonathan Reiner (@JReinerMD) April 19, 2022
American Airlines also released a statement saying masks are no longer required, but can still be worn if desired.
“American Airlines has prioritized the health and safety of its team members and customers throughout the pandemic and has supported the federal government’s measures to slow the spread of COVID-19,” the airline said. “In accordance with the Transportation Security Administration no longer enforcing the federal face mask mandate, face masks will no longer be required for our customers and team members at U.S. airports and on domestic flights.
“Please note face masks may still be required based on local ordinances, or when traveling to/from certain international locations based on country requirements,” AA continued. “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.”
As for the reaction, it’s safe to say that for many it was pure bliss… here’s a sampling of some of the responses from Twitter:
JetBlue Flight Attendants celebrate the end of mask mandates
This is awesome
— Blake 🇺🇲 (@PatriotBlake22) April 19, 2022
Posting again because Twitter deleted (?)
The end of the #maskmandate has this plane singing
🎶 Throw away your masks 🎶 pic.twitter.com/BvvCNLE6Ts
— Guy P. Football (@Guy_P_Football) April 19, 2022
— DE🌻 (@thebluevanda) April 18, 2022
Delta has now ended its mask mandate as well. Hearing from multiple people they’ve been making announcements on the PA mid-flight. https://t.co/CPzsfhihyV
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) April 18, 2022
Just landed after a long flight on United, during which a flight attendant announced the mask mandate had been struck down & put up a sign. When we got off, the pilots were smiling. We told them it was wonderful to see their faces again. Majority of passengers were also thrilled. pic.twitter.com/PmOSuCyI2z
— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) April 19, 2022
They just announced on my flight the mask mandate for flights is over! pic.twitter.com/iRnkFly2w9
— Rennie Cook (@renniecook) April 18, 2022
I’m on Delta flight to NYC now and the plane absolutely went bonkers when Captain said NO NEED TO WEAR A MASK ON THIS FLIGHT. We are taking our country back!!! pic.twitter.com/gsOtfxijo5
— My Info (@franzlambert2) April 19, 2022
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