TSA Extends Mask Mandate for Planes, Airports Until April 18
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has extended the federal mask mandate for another month into April, keeping face mask rules in place on planes and airports even as states across the country relax face-covering rules.
The federal transportation mask mandate will remain in place through at least April 18, the TSA announced Thursday, requiring masks be worn onboard planes, in airports, and on other forms of transportation like trains and buses. The mandate was initially put in place in January 2021 and was previously set to expire on March 18.
The extension comes at the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the TSA.
The decision also comes as several cities and states across the country have waived mask wearing rules, including in Nevada and California. Additionally, several cruise lines have eased face covering rules on board like Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, and Carnival Cruise Line.
Recently, the CDC changed its face mask recommendations, considering hospitalization rates and hospital capacity in its mask guidance, rather than case numbers.
Over the next month, the TSA said the "CDC will work with government agencies to help inform a revised policy framework for when, and under what circumstances, masks should be required in the public transportation corridor. This revised framework will be based on the COVID-19 community levels, risk of new variants, national data, and the latest science."
Beyond the United States, several countries have relaxed face mask rules, including the United Kingdom. There, British airline Jet2 made the decision to drop its mask mandate onboard, a unique move in the airline industry so far as face coverings still remain a requirement for most major carriers.
For those who do choose to wear a mask, the CDC recommends people pick the mask "with the best fit, protection, and comfort for you." And experts have told Travel + Leisure they should think about rotating their masks and discarding non-washable ones when they become dirty or wet.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.