U.S. Airlines and Airport Drop Mandatory Face Mask Mandates

by Carolee Chanona

As important as your passport these past 2 years, the bulk of U.S. airlines has wasted no time in dropping mask mandates in response to yesterday’s court ruling against the April 13th extension of the transport mask policy. After a federal judge in Florida struck down the Biden administration’s mask mandate for airplanes and other public transport methods, U.S. airlines are also starting to act. Here’s what we know about some of the largest carriers that fly to Belize on whether a face mask is required or not while onboard, effective immediately.

Note: Guests must continue to wear masks on flights both to and from Canada. Masks must still be worn in airports within Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, and Mexico. 

American Airlines

AA flight arrive belize airport tarmac covid

An American Airlines flight on arrival to the PGIA. Photo courtesy Belize Tourism Board

American’s mandatory mask requirement for travelers and staff at U.S. airports and on domestic flights is now nulled. Like other major airlines, AA said face masks may still be required in some places, based on local ordinances or when traveling to and from international locations.

Alaska Airlines

In a statement online, Alaska Airlines outlines “our guests and employees have the option to wear a mask while traveling in the U.S. and at work.” They continued to say, “Safety is always our highest priority, so while we love to see your smiling faces in the airport and onboard, we respect your decision to keep using this added layer of protection. ”

United Airlines

united entry pcr Belize Denver face masks tarmac airport

Photo by the Belize Tourism Board

Masks are no longer required on domestic flights and some international flights.

“While this means that our employees are no longer required to wear a mask — and no longer have to enforce a mask requirement for most of the flying public — they will be able to wear masks if they choose to do so, as the CDC continues to strongly recommend wearing a mask on public transit,” the company said in a statement to NPR.

Delta Air Lines

Photo © REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Masks are optional onboard, but Delta warned that travelers may encounter “inconsistent enforcement” over the first 24 hours as the news is being “broadly communicated.”

“Communications to customers and in-airport signage and announcements will be updated to share that masking is now optional — this may take a short period of time,” Delta said in its statement. In a note of optimism about the pandemic, the airline added, “We are relieved to see the U.S. mask mandate lift to facilitate global travel as COVID-19 has transitioned to an ordinary seasonal virus.”

Frontier Airlines

“To mask or not to mask, the choice is yours,” the airline said.

It cautioned that passengers should still check the policies at their destination, noting that some airports or countries where Frontier flies might still require masks.

Southwest Airlines


Amid airlines moving to drop mask mandates, Southwest said it encourages passengers and employees to “make the best decision to support their personal wellbeing,” and it will monitor public health guidance and federal requirements. Employees and customers could “choose whether they would like to wear a mask, and we encourage individuals to make the best decision to support their personal wellbeing.”

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