Travel News

Masks No Longer Required on US Airplanes – What Next?

Written by Charlie

With the mask mandate gone, what will happen next in US aviation? Here is a look at some of the questions that still remain.

Within the hours following the federal judge’s ruling that blocked the CDC mask mandate for federally-covered transportation, mass confusion came. Travelers that were onboard flights after hearing the news started ditching masks but airlines were quick to put out statements that the mask rules were still in place.

Mask Mandate Gone – What Next?

However, after it was made clear that the Biden administration would not appeal the decision, airlines began releasing statements that mask use would now be optional onboard their airplanes. Alaska Airlines was the first to make this step with other airlines following. So, as of now, passengers no longer are required to wear masks in US airports, on planes in the US, or on trains or in their stations.

Here is a portion of the statement by Delta about the lifting of the mask mandate:

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.

We are relieved to see the U.S. mask mandate lift to facilitate global travel as COVID-19 has transitioned to an ordinary seasonal virus. Thank you for your support in complying with the federal mask mandate and keeping each other, and our customers, safe during the pandemic.

Going Forward

I actually do appreciate certain parts of this statement that will hopefully be understood by passengers going forward. I think there may be a fair amount of disdain for fellow passengers in cases where one passenger does not wear a mask and the seat mate does wear a mask.

As Delta says, “…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.” In other words, a person wearing a mask should not be upset at another person not wearing one, thinking that this person is a threat to them. And in the reverse, a person not wearing a mask shouldn’t be upset that another person chooses to wear a mask – this is certainly a wonderful demonstration going forward of the freedom that Americans love.

What About International Flights?

US airlines are saying that the masks are no longer required on many international routes as well but this will likely come down to what the destination country required. Previously, flights going to the US, no matter the airline, had to enforce mask use by everyone over the age of 2, even if the departing country only required it over the age of 6. So, there will still be some destinations where mask use may be required but my guess is that US airlines will not actively enforce it as they had in the past.

If you are flying internationally on a US airline in the coming week or so, you should receive an e-mail from your airline with all the normal “day of” information that will let you know if you are supposed to wear a mask or not. But, the masks will not be required in US airports regardless. Just still keep a mask handy in case your flight does require it.

What About the Testing Prior to Travel to the US?

I wrote a post before about how the current Covid-19 director for the US had said that the requirement for testing was still staying in place. If I had to guess right now, my guess would be that this dropping of the mask mandate all but guarantees that the testing will not be dropped for at least a few weeks. The US authorities will not want to give that up at the same time they had to give up the mask mandate.

So, even though the mask mandate is gone, pre-departure testing is still in effect for travel to the US so do not forget about that! Hopefully, that too will soon be gone.

What About the No-Fly Bans?

Airlines had said, when first taking the no-fly lists for non-mask wearers, that the list would last as long as the mask mandate did. So, now with the mask mandate lifted, will these airlines allow those people on the lists to travel with them again? My guess is that this will be quietly dropped and people on the list that try to book a flight will simply find that they are able, once again, to do so.

I imagine we will know more about this in the coming weeks as well!

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • What’s next? Well a bunch of whining from the covid cultists to start off with. ALL the virus theatre will be finished soon – useless testing, silly chin diapers, moronic lockdowns, failed vaccines, etc. People are finally waking up!!! It’s OVER!

  • What’s next? … exactly the same that happened in the UK. Watch for a big increase in flight attendants & Pilots getting covid, airlines cancelling flights saying it’s due to “staff shortages”, its inevitable … It happened in the UK & the US is no different. Covid does not recognise national borders

    • Neither does influenza, norovirus, etc.

      Ever fly during flu season? Same thing has happened for years.

      End the COVID testing requirement to get into the US now! Again, follow the money. The CEO of the test kit company has ties to the administration…surprise, surprise!

      COVID cannot cross US borders on foot, by sea or land but it’s SO much different on a plane that we MUST continue to test there? What a sham

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