TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The federal mask mandate on U.S. airlines is set to end in April, but the largest airlines in the country don’t want to wait.
In a letter to President Joe Biden, the heads of 10 major airlines, including United, Delta and American call for an immediate end to the mandate.
The letter lists the high level of immunity in the U.S., availability of masks for those who want to use them and the ease of access to the COVID-19 vaccine as reasons President Bide should lift the requirement.
National numbers show COVID-19 cases have dropped by 24% in the past two weeks. In the same timeframe, coronavirus related deaths are down 66%.
According to the letter, the mandate’s removal could help airline employees who have to enforce the face covering requirement.
The Federal Aviation Administration’s tracker shows 635 of the 961 unruly passengers reported in 2022 are mask related incidents.
According to the tracker, there have been 4,000 mask related incidents aboard airplanes since the start of the pandemic.
“It would be nice if we don’t wear masks, but, we have to think about other people. There are some old people and you don’t even know who is sick and who is not. It’s just a balance,” traveler Zaidy Traveres told 8 On Your Side.
“I think the cases have dropped enough at this point to allow the relaxation,” said Michael Millen. “If the cases started to go up again they could always reimpose it just like elsewhere.”