Alaska Airlines announced today that face coverings on its flights are now optional.
“Face masks have been like boarding passes for nearly two years — you couldn’t fly without one. But, as of today, masks are optional in airports and onboard aircraft, effective immediately,” the airlines announced. United and Delta also dropped their mask requirements.
Earlier Monday, a federal judge ruled the Biden Administration’s face mask mandate in transportation facilities and aircraft, trains, and buses is an illegal action by the federal government. The Transportation Security Administration immediately announced it is no longer enforcing the federal government’s mask mandate.
The airlines noted that while TSA is no longer enforcing the Biden mandate, it may take time for individual airports to be responsive. Also, those traveling to Canada on Alaska Airlines flights will need to wear masks, the company said.
Alaska said that guests who were banned for not following the previous mask policy may remain banned if their behavior was “particularly egregious.” The airline did not provide guidance for how those decisions would be made or when people on the no-fly list, such as Sen. Lora Reinbold, might be permitted to use the airlines once again.
Sen. Reinbold has insisted from the beginning of the pandemic that the mask mandate was an unlawful overreach of power of the federal government, and today’s court ruling proved she was correct. She was banned from Alaska Airlines last year for not complying to the company’s satisfaction when it came to donning a face mask in the airports and on its jets.