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The US Is Scrapping Mask Mandates On Flights & Here's What It Means For Your Next Trip

Don't throw away your mask quite yet 😷

Global Staff Writer
Passengers on a flight without a mask. Right: Passengers at the United Airlines counter at an airport.

Passengers on a flight without a mask. Right: Passengers at the United Airlines counter at an airport.

Air travel, bus rides and Uber trips are going back to pre-COVID normal in the United States, thanks a major ruling that struck down mask mandates on public transit.

A judge in Florida struck down the federal government's rule on Monday, saying that it's unlawful because it goes beyond the authority of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control And Prevention, reported CNN.

Effective immediately, the government will no longer enforce mask mandates on planes, trains, buses, taxis or other forms of public transportation within the country, the CDC says.

In other words, masks are now optional on public transit within the United States, although the Biden administration still recommends them. The rules also get trickier if you're flying into our out of the U.S. from a foreign destination.

Several U.S. airlines were quick to address the ruling with statements clarifying exactly what it means for passengers.

"Face masks will no longer be required for our customers and team members at U.S. airports and on domestic flights," American Airlines said in a statement.

However, it added that masks "may still be required" based on local laws or when travelling to or from certain international spots, depending on country requirements.

Travellers to Canada, for instance, must wear masks "in indoor areas of public transportation (including on airplanes) travelling into, within, or out of the U.S. and indoors in U.S. transportation hubs (including airports)," the CDC says.*

Delta Airlines also declared that masks will be "optional" for all crew members, airport employees and customers in U.S. airports and on domestic flights, "as well as on most international flights." However, they added that "local mask mandates in other countries may still be in effect."

Some flight crews celebrated the news mid-flight on Monday, prompting a bunch of cheers from passengers.

A Twitter user shared video of one of the celebrations on a JetBlue flight.

The video's caption read: "JUST NOW @JETBLUE PILOT MAKES MID FLIGHT ANNOUNCEMENT OF MASKS NO LONGER BEING REQUIRED ON JETBLUE! This is history!!"

Although a lot of people are celebrating the decision, the White House says it's disappointed and is still encouraging people to mask up.

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration and the CDC did not fight the judge's ruling on Monday, reported Bloomberg.

*Note: This story has been updated to reflect international travel rules for Americans.

Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.

    Sameen Chaudhry
    Global Staff Writer
    Sameen Chaudhry is a Staff Writer for Narcity’s Global Desk focused on TikTok drama and is based in Toronto, Ontario.
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