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Pressure Builds for US to Drop Pre-Departure Testing and Mask Mandate on Airplanes

Written by Charlie

Could the US drop the pre-departure testing requirement and mask mandate for air travel? An influential group is asking the White House to drop it now.

As I have written about before, we are getting close to the mask mandate being lifted on airplanes in the US. We are getting even closer now as airline CEOs lobby the White House to remove this mandate.

Pressure Builds for US Mask Mandate to Drop

You can go pretty much anywhere in America today without having to wear a mask – unless you are flying above it (or in the airports, trains, metros – anything under federal transportation rules). The current mask mandate for things like air travel in the US is set to expire on April 18. President Biden had said they will review it again at that point.

This last extension of the mask mandate was the shortest mandate timeframe yet with an extension of just one month. I wrote before that extension that I did not think the mask mandate would last much longer, citing many reasons (check out this post if you are curious). Even after it was extended, there had been a Senate vote calling for the mask mandate to be lifted as well that I said showed that the lifting of it was not far off.

Now we have another very influential group of people requesting that the mask mandate on air travel be lifted – the airline CEOs themselves. This is important because it was the airlines that actually put the rules for masks onboard in place first. It was not until a while later that the federal government made it a mandate to wear a mask onboard.

But, now this same group is saying it is time to let the mask mandate go. Does this mean that people will never wear masks onboard again? Certainly not – but it does mean that people would not have to wear masks onboard anymore.

It was a letter from the Airlines for America’s board of directors that made this request of the president. You can read the whole letter here but here is a pertinent part of the letter:

“Now is the time for the Administration to sunset federal transportation travel restrictions – including the international pre departure testing requirement and the federal mask mandate – that are no longer aligned with the realities of the current epidemiological environment.”

They also cited scientific reports that say that 99 percent of the US population no longer needs to wear mask indoors.

As for the pre-departure testing to fly to the US, yes, this is something that absolutely should be dropped. Countries around the world are opening up and dropping testing requirements yet the US is still requiring everyone to test before their flight. For airlines, this is a huge problem because I know that many people are putting off booking travel right now due to the fear that they may test positive before returning to the US – and have to pay out of pocket for hotels for the next 5 days as well as missing work/school/etc.

So, yes, part of the airlines’ reason for this request is about their bottom line but it is also time for both the testing and mask requirements to go.

But, will the administration bend to this pressure before the April 18 date? After that date, this issue will undoubtedly become even more political as we head towards the midterms but making a decision on this now also becomes a political hot potato. If the president lifts these requirements before this date, does it show that is bowing to these calls by CEOs and public opinion? But, if he waits until April 18, what does that show beyond just waiting for an arbitrary date?

I certainly hope both of these requirements end soon. I honestly cannot say, at this point, if the White House will do it now or April 18 but I am positive that it will be lifted by then.

What do you think? Will the requirements be dropped before April 18 or not until April 18?

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About the author

Charlie

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.

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