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Supreme Court dismisses challenge against federal mask mandate for air travel

Dec. 12, 2021
3 min read
Supreme Court dismisses challenge against federal mask mandate for air travel
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The U.S. Supreme Court this week rejected a challenge to block the federal mask mandate at U.S. airports and domestic air travel amid the ongoing pandemic. Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr. denied the 89-page emergency petition for review without comment and without referring the application to the full court.

The lawsuit was seeking an immediate injunction to stop the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) mandate requiring face coverings, on the grounds of medical reasons. Michael Seklecki filed the suit on behalf of himself and his autistic son. Seklecki says he and his son can't tolerate wearing masks, and the son needs to fly on a regular basis to seek out-of-state medical care. Lucas Wall, who has already filed another lawsuit seeking to block the mask mandate, also joined the case.

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The New York Times reported on the TSA's response to the lawsuit. The agency argued that Congress put the mask mandate in place to protect passengers, and argued that the plaintiffs failed to “[pursue] an available procedure for obtaining medical exemptions.” Chief Justice Roberts did not comment on his ruling or refer it to the full court. According to the Times, this suggests he "viewed the legal question in the case as insubstantial." In other words, this lawsuit has no chance to be taken up by the highest court in the land.

The TSA implemented the latest mask requirement shortly after President Joe Biden took office in January. The mandate applies to everyone passing through “TSA airport screening checkpoints and throughout the commercial and public transportation systems.” The mandate applies to all U.S. airports, commercial aircraft, buses and rail systems.

Related: New rules for international travel, mask mandate extended

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Airline employees have had to endure a huge increase in unruly passengers and sometimes violent confrontations with passengers over the enforcement of the mask mandate.

Related: If you threaten a Delta employee, you could lose your SkyMiles

The TSA has extended the mask mandate several times to help curb the spread of COVID-19 and most recently extended it again during the outbreak traced to the delta variant of the coronavirus. The mask requirement will remain in place until at least March 18, 2022, at which time the TSA will review it and decide whether or not to extend it once again.

Featured Image: SOPA Images for Getty Images.

Featured image by SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

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10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
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    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

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  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
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Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more