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You Are Now Free to Fly Maskless: Here’s What Airlines Are Doing in Wake of Ruling

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Hawaiian will no longer require all passengers to wear face coverings from check-in to deplaning. PC: Hawaiian Airlines

Monday’s ruling by a federal judge against the Biden administration’s mask mandate quickly and dramatically reshaped U.S. air travel, as a number of carriers said face coverings are now optional for travelers aboard their aircraft.

The profound shift also means many airline employees no longer have to wear masks and won’t have to enforce the rule on passengers.

Hawaiian Airlines was one of the airlines that said coverings will be optional.

“We advise travelers to stay informed and follow mask requirements that may remain in effect at their origin or arrival airports,” it said.

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In Hawai‘i, the state Department of Transportation said shortly after the Florida judge’s decision that masks will still be recommended for passengers in the Aloha State, but the mandate will no longer be enforced at any of the state airports.

“Federal agencies are reviewing the decision and will provide future guidance so there may be further updates,” the DOT stated Monday afternoon.

But what does that mean right now?

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Here’s a list of where some of the major airlines stand, as comprised by NPR Newsdesk reporter Johnathan Franklin. As an aside, most airlines said their decisions are subject to change in light of changing circumstances around the COVID-19 pandemic, and also cautioned that travelers should still be prepared to mask up if the destination to which they are traveling requires masks in their venues.

Alaska Airlines
Masks are now optional for customers.

American Airlines
American’s mandatory mask requirement for travelers and staff at U.S. airports and on domestic flights is now rescinded.

Delta Air Lines
Masks are optional.

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Frontier Airlines
“To mask or not to mask, the choice is yours,” the airline said, according to Franklin’s article.

Hawaiian Airlines
Face masks are now optional for passengers and crew members on board flights, the airline said.

JetBlue Airways
Face coverings are optional.

Spirit Airlines
Face coverings optional

Southwest Airlines
Face masks optional.

United Airlines
Masks are no longer required on domestic flights and some international flights.

Tom Hasslinger
Tom Hasslinger is a journalist who lives in Kailua-Kona. Prior to joining Big Island Now, he worked as the managing editor for West Hawaii Today and deputy editor for The Garden Island newspaper on Kauai. He's worked for over 15 years as a reporter for the Oahu-based Civil Beat news outlet, as well as in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho and Douglas Wyoming.
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