On Monday, a federal judge in Florida voided the Biden administration’s COVID-19 mask mandate for public transportation, deeming the policy unlawful.
Airlines were among the first companies to issue statements, and Delta Air Lines responded by offering travelers the choice to mask up and stating that COVID-19 had “transitioned into an ordinary seasonal virus.”
The wording quickly received negative attention on social media, forcing Delta to revise its statement.
BREAKING— Under pressure for spreading misinfo that COVID is an “ordinary seasonable virus”—@Delta has now reversed course and changed to now say it is a “more manageable respiratory virus”. That’s very debatable but better. #CovidIsNotOver— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) April 19, 2022
HT @WUTangKidshttps://t.co/rqHU4mHGG0 pic.twitter.com/fgPYUUhpCX
On Tuesday, in an editor's note, Delta said that the original post was updated for "clarity and accuracy."
Delta declined additional comment.
Other major airlines have also dropped mask requirements, with exceptions for some local ordinances and certain international destinations.
The airline said in a statement, “Southwest employees and customers will be able to choose whether they would like to wear a mask on flights, at domestic airports and at some international locations.”
Masks are no longer required on domestic flights, select international flights (dependent upon the arrival country's requirements) or at U.S. airports. More comfortable keeping yours on? Go right ahead… the choice is yours (you look dino-mite either way)! pic.twitter.com/hwq678v55d— United Airlines (@united) April 18, 2022
Face masks will no longer be required for our customers and team members at U.S. airports and on domestic flights (though there may be some exceptions based on local or country requirements). https://t.co/GT1lZq5TAf— americanair (@AmericanAir) April 19, 2022
BREAKING: Face masks are officially optional in airports and onboard all Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air flights, effective immediately. Full statement: https://t.co/zVonJVowr7— Alaska Airlines News (@AlaskaAirNews) April 18, 2022
U.S. Travel Association
The U.S. Travel Association said it supports the policy change and urged the Biden administration to end pre-departure testing for vaccinated inbound international passengers.
The decision to halt enforcement of the federal mask mandate returns the choice of mask usage to travelers & industry workers. We continue to urge @POTUS to immediately end pre-departure testing for vaxxed inbound int’l passengers. Our statement ⬇️ https://t.co/Sewio5U1l7— U.S. Travel (@USTravel) April 19, 2022