‘We’re still in a crisis’: Flight attendants want federal mask mandate extended

Apr 23, 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.

Wearing a mask has been part of the new normal of air travel during the pandemic. With the vaccination rollout continuing to pick up steam and many states beginning to ease COVID-19 restrictions and easing mask mandates, some people are wondering when the federal government may follow suit and pull back on its mask mandate on planes.

According to flight attendants, the answer to that question should be, “not anytime soon.”

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

The head of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, which reps workers at airlines such as United, Alaska, Frontier and Spirit, said as much during a meeting Wednesday of a Senate subcommittee on aviation safety. “We are still in the middle of the crisis,” said Sara Nelson. “I do think it’s important that we recognize that and stay the course here with the mask policies, with all of our diligence (and) with the efforts to get the vaccine out to everyone.”

Airlines also support extending the mask mandate on airplanes. But for how long? Pandemic fatigue is a concern for health officials, as is hesitancy to get the COVID vaccine. During the Senate hearing, a health expert said the new coronavirus variant strains that have popped up have made it harder to determine when it will be safe to roll back mask mandates.

“So right now our recommendation from the science community is to continue wearing a mask,” said Dr. Leonard Marcus, director of the Aviation Public Health Initiative at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He added that while there is growing evidence that vaccinated people gathered outside have a very low risk of catching or transmitting the virus, there are conflicting reports on whether that applies in indoor settings like airports or planes.

U.S. airlines have required passengers to wear masks since shortly after the pandemic broke out in 2020, but were faced with a constant struggle around enforcement. Industry officials asked for a federal mask mandate to help the airlines enforce mask-wearing on flights, but those efforts failed until Joe Biden was elected to the White House. He signed an executive order requiring masks be worn on all flights shortly after taking office.

Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

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.