Major airline CEOs write letter asking Biden admin to drop mask mandates for travel

A group of CEOs from all the major airlines in the United States have joined together to encourage President Joe Biden to end the federal mask mandate for transportation as well as the international pre-departure COVID-19 testing requirement.

The airline leaders wrote an open letter to the President, which was released by the travel-industry lobbying group Airlines for America. 

In the letter, the group asked the Biden administration to “sunset federal transportation travel restrictions” as they argue that the guidelines no longer go along with the “realities of the current epidemiological environment.”

The leaders of ten U.S. companies signed the note, including six of the largest in the nation: Alaska Airlines, American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, and United.

“It makes no sense that people are still required to wear masks on airplanes, yet are allowed to congregate in crowded restaurants, schools and at sporting events without masks, despite none of these venues having the protective air filtration systems that aircraft do,” the letter reads.

The CEOs argue that the uptick in vaccinations throughout the country as well as the easing of restrictions in other countries are reasons that the current administration should review and possibly walk back its COVID-era policies for travelers. 

“We are encouraged by the current data and the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions from coast to coast, which indicate it is past time to eliminate COVID-era transportation policies,” the group wrote.

The authors emphasized that, as they’ve so far supported and gone along with the federal government’s COVID-19 guidelines, like masking and pre-departure testing, the enforcement of those rules has fallen upon the airline employees for the last two years.

“This is not a function they are trained to perform and subjects them to daily challenges by frustrated customers. This, in turn, takes a toll on their own well-being,” wrote Airlines for America.




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