Federal Judge strikes down airplane mask mandate


Blake Staudacher, Staff Writer

For the last two years, masks have been federally mandated in airports and on all airplanes, but on April 19, the mask mandate on all planes, trains, and buses was lifted due to a federal judge’s decision. US District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle ruled on Monday that the federal mask’s obligations to planes, trains, buses, and other  public transport were “unlawful.”

Senior Alivia Peters is happy the mandate has been lifted.  “I think it is safe to remove the mask mandate. I think we all need to move on and start to enjoy life again,” she said.

The CDC is still going to recommend wearing a face covering on all forms of public transportation, and all international flights are going to still require a face covering. All of the major airlines in the US have already dropped their mask policies, however, other airlines might still require you to wear a mask. 

It may be a sigh of relief for some airlines that had to deal with over 7,100 unruly passengers reported. Some reports say that some of the unruly passengers that have been banned from the airline because of the mask mandate are able to get the ban lifted. Junior Grace Mellock is okay with this. “ As long as someone isn’t making a big deal about something, I would feel safe,” she said.

Could the mask mandate be reinstated on planes? On Wednesday, April 20, the Department of Justice announced that it would be filing an appeal, but the Biden administration told reporters that the Transportation Security Administration would not enforce mask obligations while the court order was being reviewed. However, some transit companies have announced that they still are going to continue to require masks. “I would feel comfortable with people around me not wearing a mask on a plane as long as no one is sick,” Mellock said.

One report said that it was expected for the mask mandate to drop within the transportation industry due to the lack of Covid cases since February 2022.