Airline Executives Pushing to End Mask Mandates on Planes

Airline Executives Pushing to End Mask Mandates on Planes

( – In February 2021, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issued a mandate requiring the masking of employees and passengers on all public transportation. However, many airline executives are pushing President Joe Biden to stop the requirement both inside airports and aboard planes. A letter written by executives from United Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta told the president the measure is not necessary anymore because hospitalizations and cases are down.

Executive Perspective

The airlines’ executives said there were the inconsistencies in masking policies in their letter to Biden. They said it doesn’t make sense to keep the masking requirement in place for airplanes while allowing people to gather without masks in schools, public events, and eating establishments. They also asked the president to reverse the mandate requiring proof of a negative COVID-19 test before boarding some flights.

Notably, enforcement of the masking policy has been an ongoing issue on flights. While in the air, it’s up to the flight attendants to ensure passengers follow the mandate, which has led to negative interactions with some passengers. In fact, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) received almost 6,000 unruly passenger reports in 2021.

The extra responsibility and frustration from passengers cause a strain on those who work for the airline.

Scientific Evidence

According to the Mayo Clinic, viruses have a hard time spreading on planes because the air filters aboard are so efficient, although it did mention that wearing masks lowered the risk of transmission even further. The positive aspect is the TSA increased its cleaning protocol inside planes and airports to lessen the chance of coronavirus spread. The National Library of Medicine (NIH) also says the risk of viral transmission while in flight is very low, but it also recommends a layered approach for protection.

Points in the Letter and Safety

The airline CEOs told Biden in their letter that while they appreciated his leadership, the current COVID-19 measures no longer apply in the “current public health context.” While making their case, they pointed the leader to a study from the US Department of Defense (DOD), which they say proves airplane cabins are among the “safest indoor environments.” The safety comes from the filtered air and the direction of the airflow into the cabin itself.

The government recently extended the current federal mask mandate for air travel until April 18, but the executives call for Biden to remove the measures immediately. There is no word yet on how the president will respond to the plea.

Do you think airlines should continue to require masks, or do you think restrictions should be lifted?

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