Flying from Michigan for Spring Break? Better Bring Your Mask
While the world seems to be easing up on the mask mandates and restrictions we've been under starting almost exactly two years ago, to the date, it looks like airlines are still not quite sure they're ready to do the same.
Of course, we know the COVID-19 pandemic is certainly not over but as we find ourselves in this lull from the previous wave caused by the Omicron variant, TSA has pushed back the date they were going to no longer require masks.
With spring break either here or drawing nearer and nearer here in Michigan, what does that mean for your travel plans to get away from the cold and snow?
When Did the Air Travel Mask Mandate Start?
When things first started getting rocky in 2020, airlines were struggling to survive after lockdowns and travel bans made it nearly impossible for recreational air travel.
Then, in the middle of 2020, according to the Washington Post, airlines started requiring masks, then the federal mask mandate that we have been traveling with went into place. From there we heard the announcements in the airports that it was federal law to comply.
Of course, people were NOT happy and took their bad moods and irrational behavior to the skies.
According to the Washington Post, the FAA received about 6,000 reports of "unruly passengers", 70% of which were specifically related to masks and people's issues with wearing them.
Personal Experiences Flying With the Mask Mandates
As someone who just recently flew for the fourth trip since the mask mandates went into place, I have sort of just gotten used to masks at the airport being the norm.
Personally, without getting too much into political opinions, I see the benefit in wearing masks at the airport as there are so many people coming and going from various places that may have different requirements, procedures, etc. The phrase "you don't know where they've been" comes to mind.
Only one flight out of my four trips (so eight flights total, round-trip) was there someone I thought was going to get kicked off a plane for not complying with proper mask-wearing policies. The phrase "if I have to remind you again..." was uttered.
Other than that, the only other time we saw "unruly behavior" was a guy throwing a fit because he could not sit in an exit row and a flight attendant got bit by someone's dog.
Basically, the mask mandate has not necessarily been a "burden" on my air travel experience, though it does kind of feel like taking off a bra at the end of the day when you finally get to your destination and can remove it.
Air Travel Mask Mandate Extended (Again)
While the CDC and more local municipalities have started easing up on their masking guidelines, literally two weeks ago, TSA was planning to end their mask mandate on March 18th but have now extended it.
The decision to extend the mandate another month, to April 18th as reported by NPR, follows a lot of online debate over the issue.
Personally, I've seen more of those opposed to ending the mandate citing how maybe flying with masks on isn't such a bad idea as you are in a metal tube in the sky, compacted in with a bunch of strangers.
However, people who want it to end, cite metrics and data that show COVID cases are on the decline.
At the end of the day, we are legally required to wear our masks to travel at least until April 18th when the CDC and the powers that be decide what to do moving forward which is hopefully what this extension is giving them time to do.
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