Delta, other airlines make masks optional effective immediately

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines said it will being making masks optional effective immediately. It was just one of a half dozen airlines that made the announcement at the start of the week.

This after a federal judge in Florida struck down the national mask mandate covering airlines and other public transportation Monday. 

The Biden administration said the rule would not be enforced while federal agencies decide how to respond to the judge’s order.


In a statement released on Monday, Delta wrote in part:

"Effective immediately, masks are optional for all airport employees, crew members and customers inside U.S. airports and on board aircraft, as well as on most international flights.

"Delta employees and customers may continue wearing masks if they so choose. Wearing a well-fitting mask protects the wearer, even if others around them are not wearing masks."

The White House said the court ruling means that for now the mask order "is not in effect at this time."

The CDC had recently extended the mask mandate, which was set to expire Monday, until May 3 to allow more time to study the BA.2 omicron subvariant of the coronavirus that is now responsible for the vast majority of cases in the U.S.

According to the White House, the Transportation Security Administration will not enforce the mask mandate in light of the recent ruling. 

"The agencies are reviewing the decision and assessing potential next steps. In the meantime, today’s court decision means CDC’s public transportation masking order is not in effect at this time," a White House administration official told FOX Television Stations in a statement. "Therefore, TSA will not enforce its Security Directives and Emergency Amendment requiring mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs at this time. CDC recommends that people continue to wear masks in indoor public transportation settings."

Delta also asked for patience from travelers as the information begins to be decimated to the various agencies. It's statement concludes:

"Given the unexpected nature of this announcement, please be aware that customers, airline employees and federal agency employees – such as TSA – may be receiving this information at different times. You may experience inconsistent enforcement during the next 24 hours as this news is more broadly communicated – remember to show understanding and patience with others who may not be aware enforcement is no longer required. Communications to customers and in-airport signage and announcements will be updated to share that masking is now optional – this may take a short period of time.

"Local mask mandates in other countries may still be in effect. Additional updates will be provided as new information becomes available.

"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."

Alaska Airlines, American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest and United Airlines are also be making masks option for passengers.