On these US airlines, masks are now optional

Judge strikes down mask mandate on transportation 1:14 (CNN Business) — After a federal judge in Florida struck down the Biden administration’s mask mandate for airplanes and other methods of public transportation, airlines are starting to act. Several US airlines announced Monday that masks are now optional on their planes: Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines and JetBlue. Delta Air Lines (DAL) says it will make masks optional and warned travelers that they “may experience inconsistent enforcement over the next 24 hours as this news is more widely communicated.” “Given the unexpected nature of this announcement, please note that customers, airline employees, and employees of federal agencies, such as the TSA, may receive this information at different times,” the airline said. United Airlines (UAL) said in a statement that “masks are no longer required at United on domestic flights, select international flights (depending on arrival country’s mask requirements), or at US airports.” Alaska Airlines similarly said that masks are now optional and asked passengers to be considerate. “While we are pleased that this means many of us can see your smiling faces, we understand that some may have mixed feelings,” the airline posted on its website. “Remember to be nice to each other and that wearing a mask while traveling is still an option.” American Airlines (AAL) said that “face masks will no longer be required for our customers and team members at US airports and on domestic flights.” “Please note that face masks may still be required depending on local ordinances, or when traveling to/from certain international locations depending on country requirements,” it said. Alaska Airlines said some of its passengers who were barred from the airline during the mask policy will continue to be barred from its planes. Southwest Airlines, meanwhile, said on its website that employees and customers can “choose whether they’d like to wear a mask, and we encourage people to make the best choice to support their personal well-being.” It also said it would “continue to support the comfort of those traveling with us by offering additional layers of protection.” JetBlue (JBLU) said in a tweet on Monday that the use of masks will be optional within the United States. “While no longer required, customers and crew members may continue to wear face coverings in our terminals and on board our aircraft,” the company tweeted. Meanwhile, on the ground, Amtrak said it will no longer require face masks for passengers and employees. Last week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended the mask mandate through May 3. The mask requirement was applied to planes, trains and other forms of public transportation. A Biden administration official says the order is no longer in effect while the ruling is reviewed. – CNN’s Gregory Wallace contributed to this report