Factbox-U.S. airlines drop mask requirements for passengers, employees

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Delta Air Lines passenger planes parked in Birmingham

(Reuters) – The Biden administration will no longer enforce a U.S. mask mandate on public transportation, after a federal judge in Florida ruled that directive was unlawful, overturning a key White House effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Airlines welcomed the move on Monday by saying they would no longer require masks:

ALASKA

“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.”

“While we are glad this means many of us get to see your smiling faces, we understand some might have mixed feelings. Please remember to be kind to one another and that wearing a mask while traveling is still an option.”

DELTA

“Effective immediately, masks are optional for all airport employees, crew members and customers inside U.S. airports and onboard aircraft.”

“We are relieved to see the U.S. mask mandate lift to facilitate global travel as COVID-19 has transitioned to an ordinary seasonal virus. Thank you for your support in complying with the federal mask mandate and keeping each other, and our customers, safe during the pandemic.”

UNITED

“Effective immediately, masks are no longer required at United on domestic flights, select international flights (dependent upon the arrival country’s mask requirements) or at U.S. airports.

“While this means that our employees are no longer required to wear a mask – and no longer have to enforce a mask requirement for most of the flying public – they will be able to wear masks if they choose to do so, as the CDC continues to strongly recommend wearing a mask on public transit.”

AIRLINES FOR AMERICA (INDUSTRY TRADE GROUP)

“The high level of immunity and widespread vaccine accessibility in the U.S. coupled with the hospital-grade cabin air on aircraft provide a strong, science-based foundation for passengers to travel with confidence as restrictions are lifted on our nation’s airlines.”

“We look forward to welcoming millions of travelers back to the skies this summer to reunite with loved ones, attend conferences or to take a vacation.”

(Compiled by Rajesh Kumar Singh in Chicago, David Shepardson and Costas Pitas in Los Angeles; Edited by Heather Timmons and Stephen Coates)

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