Airline Mask Mandate Extended Into 2022

Airline Mask Mandate Extended Into 2022

56

This ultimately doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but the federal mask mandate for airplanes and airports has been extended into 2022.

Biden extends mask mandate until January 2022

The federal transportation mask mandate in the United States has now been extended through January 18, 2022. For context:

  • All airlines in the United States started requiring masks in 2020, within a few months of the start of the pandemic
  • When Biden took office in January 2021, he introduced a federal transportation mask mandate, which applied to airlines and airports; while it didn’t have that many practical implications, it ultimately supported airline employees in enforcing a federal law, rather than just an airline policy
  • Until recently this was supposed to apply through September 14, 2021
  • With it being less than a month until this was due to expire, this has now been extended by roughly four more months

This shouldn’t come as a surprise

I think I speak on behalf of nearly everyone when I say that I wish this weren’t being extended (though everyone has different motives — most people wish others would get vaccinated so we could get this pandemic under control, while other people think, well… something).

But realistically speaking, it was a given that this was going to be extended:

  • The delta variant and lack of vaccination is causing coronavirus to spiral out of control again — we’ve gone from an average of 11K cases per day, to an average of 140K cases per day
  • The CDC has reversed its guidance on vaccinated people not having to wear masks indoors, given the rising case numbers along with breakthrough infections
  • As we get into fall and winter, there are even more concerns about the spread of coronavirus, as people in many parts of the country will be congregating indoors more frequently

Even beyond the situation in the United States and federal regulations, the reality is that airlines lifting mask mandates will be complicated:

  • Even if the United States were to lift its mask mandate for aviation, other countries might not
  • It will create a lot of confusion if passengers have to wear masks to some destinations, but not others

I have no clue when we’ll no longer have to wear masks on planes, but personally I don’t think it will be an easy process, and I don’t think it’ll be in early 2022.

Bottom line

The federal transportation mask mandate in the United States has been extended through January 18, 2022. This comes as the country is seeing a surge in coronavirus cases, given the delta variant, and the number of people choosing not to get vaccinated.

Personally I’d be shocked if this weren’t extended beyond January 2022…

What do you make of the federal transportation mask mandate being extended?

Conversations (56)
Newest comments are displayed first.

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. Margie O.

    Corona a has ~99.85 % survival rate. It's a nasty flu that is of course, highly contagious. Wear a mask, keep distance, and get the experimental vaccine-that's all one can realistically do. The teevee theatre shows (corporate "news") are having a field day using psy ops/propaganda/psy triggers to the mainly imbecilic populace getting anxiety derangements etc. Great for teevee ratings!. Enjoy the decline!

  2. Samo

    Actually, mask mandates are already being lifted in some locations, albeit on a very small scare. Regional Swedish airlines such as BRA and Air Leap have removed their mandates from 1st of July to be able to compete with trains (which never had any). I took a few flights with Air Leap since then and pax were very quick to adapt - and on one occasion not even the FA bothered to wear one.

  3. E.

    It will never be lifted, I suspect. It will be like taking your shoes off at the airport. (Just like I am convinced border closures and some places completely cut off from the rest of the world are also permanent things.)

    Vaccines work - masks are useless.

    So disappointing but our world is irrevocably changed by bad governance and hysteria.

  4. Joe1293

    I really do hope Masks remain permanent for all airplane travel
    It’s a privilege to fly
    So masked up
    or don’t fly
    Simple as that

  5. CMC

    I'd rather see mandatory vaccines for the ability to get on a plane or go into an airport (or any other public indoor space). I think that's the only way to actually get this under control. Just like no shoes, no service - it should be no vaccine, no entry. People shouldn't be spreading their second-hand covid indoors just like people cannot spread second-hand smoke. I'd rather second-hand smoke - at least can be seen and avoided unlike second-hand covid.

  6. Steve

    Not being political but there seems to be no difference in cases in countries and states with high mask compliance and mandates versus countries and states that have little to no mask compliance. Vaccinations prevent serious illness and hospitalization but a piece of cloth over your mouth provides zero benefit or protection. Vaccine mandates would be great, mask mandates is pure theatre and probably does more harm by preventing people for getting shots since there...

    Not being political but there seems to be no difference in cases in countries and states with high mask compliance and mandates versus countries and states that have little to no mask compliance. Vaccinations prevent serious illness and hospitalization but a piece of cloth over your mouth provides zero benefit or protection. Vaccine mandates would be great, mask mandates is pure theatre and probably does more harm by preventing people for getting shots since there is less incentive for them if they still have to wear a mask.

    1. David

      This is just not true and this is not about politics. High rates of mask wearing do reduce the spread of all types of respiratory infections.

    2. E.

      No, they do not.

      There is 0 evidence for mask wearing as a rule. The CDC and WHO always said there was not - until it became a political issue.

      No scientific study has shown anything but masks being useless - except maybe well fitted N95s.

      Covid is aerosol. It's everywhere. Masks won't stop it.

  7. tipsyinmadras

    Have you considered disabling comments on posts like this? The amount of misinformation in the comments is nuts

    1. Alex

      I also support this. Giving the ill informed anti-mask/anti-vaccine people another platform to post by their misinformation doesn’t help anyone.

    2. UA-NYC

      Lucky and team do a pretty good job - you should see the open racism and disinformation on some of the other travel blogs…

    3. Joe1293

      Are you high
      If you don’t like comments
      Then go to Support #TPG
      Better yet join their FB group
      TPG lounge
      I love Ben’s blog and these comments
      It helps with people going through problems
      By reading all these comments on this blog

  8. BookLvr

    I agree this is absolutely not a surprise and I think it's a good call. According to Reuters, as of today (8/17/21), the United States is now back up to 55% of its peak amount of COVID cases and rising, with 293 infections per 100k people reported in the last 7 days. The United States is back to leading the world in the daily average of new cases, and this is one gold medal the...

    I agree this is absolutely not a surprise and I think it's a good call. According to Reuters, as of today (8/17/21), the United States is now back up to 55% of its peak amount of COVID cases and rising, with 293 infections per 100k people reported in the last 7 days. The United States is back to leading the world in the daily average of new cases, and this is one gold medal the United States absolutely does not want to win.

    It's crazy is how quickly this has happened. As of July 4th, according to that same Reuters site, the United States was at only 29 infections per 100k. There was hope of a close to normal school year, and it made perfect sense to me that the E.U. had reopened to U.S. tourists.

    The data suggests we loosened our restrictions a little too quickly, and now we are going to have to go back to masking until we can get things back under control. I know everyone is bored of COVID restrictions, but masking really seems like a small price to pay to get these numbers back under control. I would MUCH rather see the federal transportation mask mandate extended than see the U.S. get banned from travel to countries which have currently opened up to U.S. travelers...and that could happen.

    1. Miamiorbust

      There is absolutely zero basis for linking mask wearing on domestic flights and any meaningful input that would reasonably be expected to impact immigration restrictions of other countries and decisions to restrict access for american passport holders. Zero. Exactly, zero. Is masking the right thing to do, sure. Whether it will even meaningful impact US infection rates is dateable given how few people fly or use public transportation vs total population. Impact your planned vacation?...

      There is absolutely zero basis for linking mask wearing on domestic flights and any meaningful input that would reasonably be expected to impact immigration restrictions of other countries and decisions to restrict access for american passport holders. Zero. Exactly, zero. Is masking the right thing to do, sure. Whether it will even meaningful impact US infection rates is dateable given how few people fly or use public transportation vs total population. Impact your planned vacation? Zero impact. You can return to being peacefully smug.

  9. Apso Eyot

    Now that the mask requirements seem to be getting as strict as the ones we saw when the lockdown was in full force, I wonder what is the likelihood that we will go into another lockdown (even if it’s just a small-scale or short one) and border closures will be extended at some point within the next several months. Will the full-fledged masking be enough without some sort of lockdown or social distancing or Zoom...

    Now that the mask requirements seem to be getting as strict as the ones we saw when the lockdown was in full force, I wonder what is the likelihood that we will go into another lockdown (even if it’s just a small-scale or short one) and border closures will be extended at some point within the next several months. Will the full-fledged masking be enough without some sort of lockdown or social distancing or Zoom to accompany it, like in 2020? Seems like the Delta variant is continuing to grow without any signs of slowing down. And really testing the capabilities of the vaccines. Not to mention new variants that could likely be on the rise.

    1. Alonzo

      Please learn the difference between lockdown and quarantine. We were never in a lockdown.

  10. Bernhard

    I als hate wearing masks.
    But I believe it is necessary for everybody to wear one to keep the number of hospital patients below what the system can handle.
    So I completely support wearing masks.

    1. Steve

      Mandating masks does more harm in my opinion. 99% of masks that people wear (a designed cloth or a cheap disposable) provides no protection. It also prevents many people from getting their shots, i hear so many people say why get a shot if i still have to wear a mask. There is no proof that cloth masks work, there is proof vaccines work. Mandate vaccines not masks.

  11. Will

    It’s nice to see the CDC’s exceptional job will continue into the new year. It’s so comforting to know we have the absolute best protecting us…. This is such a joke

    1. Steve

      Brought to you by One Hyatt at a Time!

  12. Common Sense

    There was an article another day about European airlines requiring N95 type masks since cloth or thin paper masks don't work - the exact kind the majority of people wear on domestic flights.

    1) N95 masks work when used properly which means glued to your face so tight it causes marks. Outside of that, masks do very little.

    2) The delta variant originated in India. It is not from Americans who are not vaccinated....

    There was an article another day about European airlines requiring N95 type masks since cloth or thin paper masks don't work - the exact kind the majority of people wear on domestic flights.

    1) N95 masks work when used properly which means glued to your face so tight it causes marks. Outside of that, masks do very little.

    2) The delta variant originated in India. It is not from Americans who are not vaccinated.

    3) The vaccines we currently have don't stop people from getting infected (break through cases) and do not prevent people from carrying and infecting others. They simply lessen the effect of the illness when you get it.

    4) Unvaccinated areas outside the US will continue to cause mutations. Before there was even a vaccine there were different variants of this virus around the globe. The idea that unvaccinated individuals in the US are the cause of this is a joke.

    5) People on plans can simply remove their mask to eat and drink. I've worn my mask maybe half the time I am on a plane so even this mandate is a joke.

    Almost 2 years into this pandemic and the fear and disinformation continues. We have 3 vaccines for the virus, a couple of treatments and have been living with it long enough to understand it. Those who want a shot or a booster can get it. Those who don't who cares. You want to wear a mask, cool. You don't, cool. Time to move on and stop focusing on this thing. It is the summer and over 70% of Americans have at least one shot and out hospitals are overloaded? Maybe we should expands the number of beds and train more nurses.

    1. Mike

      @Common Sense, you are exactly right in each of your statements. Everyone will cry and say that your statements are "misinformation" but they are the ones misinformed. I love how everyone likes to shame Americans who aren't vaccinated and blame them for these variants like Delta, even though they didn't even originate in the US. What most people don't seem to realize is that there are dozens upon dozens of Covid strains. Nobody even talked...

      @Common Sense, you are exactly right in each of your statements. Everyone will cry and say that your statements are "misinformation" but they are the ones misinformed. I love how everyone likes to shame Americans who aren't vaccinated and blame them for these variants like Delta, even though they didn't even originate in the US. What most people don't seem to realize is that there are dozens upon dozens of Covid strains. Nobody even talked about specific strains until it became obvious that most people were prepared to move on with life and live with Covid like any other virus. The fear mongering about strains was only to keep people afraid and compliant.

      More importantly, I think you and I agree that these mandates need to end. There is enough data now to see that there isn't a lot of difference between the infection, hospitalization, and deaths rates in places with strict restrictions and places with loose/no restrictions.

  13. NYGuy24

    I'm planning some upcoming international travel in the very near future. The reason I am doing it now is because I believe there will be significant surges in the fall and international travel will likely not be viable again until spring 2022 if even then. I think the virus is getting reseeded this summer travel season and will just explode and then we will have the holidays and it will surge again. We will stay...

    I'm planning some upcoming international travel in the very near future. The reason I am doing it now is because I believe there will be significant surges in the fall and international travel will likely not be viable again until spring 2022 if even then. I think the virus is getting reseeded this summer travel season and will just explode and then we will have the holidays and it will surge again. We will stay on the merry go round until people get vaccinated in much larger numbers. Even then with soo much spread we may get a mutation that completely evades the virus and sets us back 1-2 more years. It is time to crack down on the anti-vaxxers and stop letting them drag the world down.

  14. Another Lump

    Yeah, be sure masks have been working so well this far. Clinical trials show very little benefit at best in narrow situations, and often makes it worse. But at this point it's just virtue signalling and conditioning the public to comply regardless. All for delta which is much lower death rate, and basically zero if vaccinated, which are freely available. Sad times.

    1. Alex

      You are so ill informed. Please stop spreading this kind of nonsense because it is literally killing people. Clinical trials actually show masks work to protect people.

    2. JeffP

      There are no clinical trials for masks...that’s funny…but telling. It’s the death rate that matters not cases. Look at Cambridge study with Delta updated data…death rate is same as seasonal flu…that was a real clinical study.

    3. Alex

      If you do a basic google search you can easily find mask clinical trials with results that show masks are effective. Example: “Effectiveness of Adding a Mask Recommendation to Other Public Health Measures to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Danish Mask Wearers”

  15. JeffP

    This decision is not based on science and reality like everything else this administration is botching. The promotion of the lie we are in a pandemic is going to exposed soon. We are in a endemic… that is the truth. Vaccinations help but this virus will continue to mutate…etc…it is not going away. It’s not the anti vaccers…I know countless people who are getting Covid with the vaccine. The UK U Cambridge study https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9732213/Fewer-one-1-000-patients-dying-Covid-compared-one-90-second-wave.html shows...

    This decision is not based on science and reality like everything else this administration is botching. The promotion of the lie we are in a pandemic is going to exposed soon. We are in a endemic… that is the truth. Vaccinations help but this virus will continue to mutate…etc…it is not going away. It’s not the anti vaccers…I know countless people who are getting Covid with the vaccine. The UK U Cambridge study https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9732213/Fewer-one-1-000-patients-dying-Covid-compared-one-90-second-wave.html shows us the death rate for all combined ages is the same as typical flu. Masks are political theater.

  16. david

    What? "Nearly everyone" is against it? I would bet the opposite. Although plenty of people will be annoyed, most people are FOR this - at least until the pandemic is more under control. Just curious why you would think no one supports it?

    1. JC

      "most people are FOR this - at least until the pandemic is more under control."

      Why just this pandemic. We lose thousands of Americans with immune system issues every year. Perhaps we can have a permeant mask mandate.

  17. Endre

    To be honest, I wouldn't mind if wearing a mask became a habit.

  18. Sandy

    Biden will single handedly have destroyed any reelection chances the Democrat Party had at the midterm elections. The GOP will win in a landslide.

    1. Jake212

      Between the mess at the southern border and now Afghanistan Biden has already given away any chances for Dems to maintain control after the midterms. And the GOP will take back the White House easily in 2024. Biden will go down as the worst single term President in history.

    2. Miamiorbust

      Where is Team Biden to insult and demean anyone that disagrees with their world view? Summer siesta?

    3. D3kingg

      Yes the GOP will win big in 2022 and 2024 unless the democrats run Biden. Then he has a chance of re election. Kamala or AOC would get destroyed even with all their cheating.

  19. Jerry

    This isn’t about protecting the unvaccinated. It’s about the waning efficacy of the vaccines and the government trying to save face for spending billions on the worlds largest clinical trial. No coincidence this announcement happened around same time as government recommending booster shots. Not like masks do much anyways (unless a properly worn n95 ).

    1. Alex

      Vaccines have actually proven their worth with the delta variant! 99% of COVID deaths are now from unvaccinated people. Masks have also been proven to be effective in stopping the spread of COVID. Please stop spreading this kind of misinformation you are literally killing people who believe it.

    2. Alonzo

      What you just said has literally nothing to do with the efficacy DATA that has been coming out recently. Read the Israel studies on efficacy.

    3. Alex

      Mask wearing is currently all about protecting unvaccinated populations. 99% of vaccinated people won’t get deathly ill but they can still get sick and still spread COVID to unvaccinated people who can get deathly ill. Please wear a mask to a least protect the kids under 12 who cannot get a vaccine at this time.

  20. Jan

    20 years later, (most people) are still taking off your shoes after check-in, and can't bring water past security. Is anyone really surprised by this? Ask me again about mask mandates in 2041.

  21. AlanD

    I’ve been saying for some time that I assumed it would be extended through the Holidays. I think the only way around it anytime in the next few months unless things change dramatically would be to require both vaccination AND negative PCR testing for all domestic and international flights, and I doubt that is happening the good ole USA.

    Who knows how bad Delta or other variants will be in the next few months, even...

    I’ve been saying for some time that I assumed it would be extended through the Holidays. I think the only way around it anytime in the next few months unless things change dramatically would be to require both vaccination AND negative PCR testing for all domestic and international flights, and I doubt that is happening the good ole USA.

    Who knows how bad Delta or other variants will be in the next few months, even if vaccination increases significantly? We may have a long ride left with COVID domestically and we sure as heck will internationally with so many counties still at very tiny vaccination rates.

    Whatever happens, I think we’re going to see a lot of voluntary masking during travel for several years to come.

  22. JetSetGo

    @lucky you have a typo. The sentence before Bottom Line should read “ and I don’t think it’ll be in early 2022”

    Not a big deal to wear a mask while on airplane. But I guess many more people will be banned due to noncompliance. Too bad for them.

  23. Alonzo

    CDC is just covering their ass through the holidays of Thanksgiving and Xmas. Mask mandate will be around until 2023, it ain't going anywhere anytime soon.

  24. T. Jones

    It seems to me that if the mask mandate was extended to January 18, 2022, then it is expected that COVID-19 will still be a thing early into the new year. I'm speculating that this move represents a "best guess" estimate of when transmission rates will be low enough to safely lift the mask protocol.

    1. Corey

      Nope, just an extension to get through the Holidays.

      Hard to say, things could have been way better if not for antivaxxers :(

    2. Another Lump

      You're protected if you are vaxxed. Why are you so obsessed with what others do?

    3. UA-NYC

      Higher levels of spread...kids under 12 aren't vaccinated...stresses on the medical system...broader issues they cause.

    4. WiscoIllini

      You're not 100% protected if you are vaccinated. The Delta variant has broken through to many vaccinated people, which is why wearing a mask is still so important to stopping the spread. Not to mention the people who can't get vaccinated (immunocompromised, young children, etc.) that are being put in danger when unvaccinated people don't wear masks

    5. Another Lump's Kid

      Obviously because we are still having to wear masks...

    6. JBR

      Another Lump:

      Many vaccinated people are upset at the unvaxxed because the unvaxxed have been flooding hospitals in the last 6 weeks, requiring authorities to reinstate indoor mask mandates which affect all of us.

    7. aw

      If you're (the general "you") are not going to get vaccinated and believe that COVID is a hoax, then you have to have the balls not to get treated and overwhelm the hospital system. You can't do both. And you certainly can't beg for a vaccine when you're about to get ventilated and say "why didn't anyone ever tell me this was dangerous?"

    8. snowe

      Vaxxed people are spreading the virus

Featured Comments Load all 56 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Paul L.

Extending the mask mandate = good call.

Steve

Not being political but there seems to be no difference in cases in countries and states with high mask compliance and mandates versus countries and states that have little to no mask compliance. Vaccinations prevent serious illness and hospitalization but a piece of cloth over your mouth provides zero benefit or protection. Vaccine mandates would be great, mask mandates is pure theatre and probably does more harm by preventing people for getting shots since there is less incentive for them if they still have to wear a mask.

Joe1293

Team masks forever

Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
4,523,713 Miles Traveled

25,807,500 Words Written

28,675 Posts Published

Keep Exploring OMAAT