CONFIRMED: Mask mandate during air travel, other public transport will be extended until January

Aug 17, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Editors’ note: This post has been updated with a confirmation from TSA and a statement from Airlines for America.


 

The Transportation Security Administration confirmed to the Points Guy Tuesday evening that the federal government is extending a mask mandate on public transportation through January. The news was first reported by Reuters and CNBC, and confirmed by other TPG sources.

In a statement to TPG a spokesperson said, “TSA will extend the directives through January 18, 2022. The purpose of TSA’s mask directive is to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on public transportation.”

U.S. airlines were briefed on the planned extension on Tuesday morning, a source, who spoke on background because they were not permitted to discuss the topic with media, confirmed to TPG. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) plan to announce the extension publicly later this week or early next, the source said.

Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter!

The TSA is the agency that sets the mandate.

The current mask order was set shortly after the Biden administration took office in January, and has remained in place since. It requires face masks to be worn by travelers on all public forms of transportation, including airplanes, trains, buses, taxis, cruise ships and ferries, as well as at terminals such as airports and train stations.

The extension comes as cases rise and hospitals fill across the U.S., particularly in regions with low rates of vaccination, largely driven by the spread of the aggressive delta variant.

In May, the CDC backed off its indoor mask use guidance for vaccinated Americans, although the requirement remained in place for travel. The CDC has since reimposed guidance as breakthrough cases become more common.

“Right now for travel, we are asking people to continue to wear their masks,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in May. “We are going to be looking at all of our guidance and updating all of our guidance, including our travel guidance.”

Over recent months, an increase in unruly passenger incidents aboard aircraft has been linked partly to the enforcement of the mask mandate, particularly as mask usage as become increasingly politicized.

U.S. airlines, through trade organization Airlines for America, said in a statement that they would continue to enforce the mandate.

“As they have done for months, U.S. airlines will comply with the federal mask mandate and strictly enforce this requirement in collaboration with the TSA and the FAA,” the statement said.

Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, praised the expected extension of the mask mandate on Tuesday.

More: What to know about COVID-19 vaccines in the US

“We have a responsibility in aviation to keep everyone safe and do our part to end the pandemic, rather than aid the continuation of it. Air travel is one of the most controlled indoor spaces with layers of safety protocols that make it possible to serve our communities,” Nelson said in a statement.

“Administrator Pekoske’s decision in coordination with the Biden administration to continue the TSA enforcement directive for the CDC transportation mask mandate will help tremendously to keep passengers and aviation workers safe,” she added, referring to TSA head David Pekoske.

Caroline Tanner contributed reporting.

Featured photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images. 

 

 

 

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.