Airline passengers are finding out about the end of mask mandates mid-flight
- A Trump-appointed federal judge opted to end the mask mandate on public transit Monday.
- Many passengers were mid-flight when the decision was announced and shared mixed reactions online.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's mask mandate on planes and trains came to an abrupt end on Monday following an order from a Trump-appointed federal judge.
Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle's decision was enacted by multiple domestic airlines while passengers were in mid-flight or in airports, causing a mixed reaction among travelers.
Scott Hechinger, civil rights attorney, had yet to board when he heard the announcement.
"I just think it's outrageous that a single judge in a single court can overrule the CDC and make health policy for the entire country," Hechinger told Insider via email.
"Even more outrageous that it's happening at a time when a new variant is raging and so many — including friends and colleagues, and their young children—are extremely sick. I don't feel safe," he added.
The TSA implemented the mask mandate in February 2021, when the CDC was reporting an average of more than 3,000 deaths per day from COVID-19. The current 7-day average is 409 deaths.
Hechinger tweeted about the mandate being lifted from the JetBlue departure area, saying most people removed their masks and that there was "a loud, sustained cheer."
—Scott Hechinger (@ScottHech) April 19, 2022
Conversely, Rhode Island reporter Alexandra Leslie tweeted from the air, adding there wasn't "big applause or graduation hat throwing moves."
She said "some people have taken them off, others have left on. We all kind of looked around wondering what everyone else was doing."
—Alexandra Leslie (@AlexandraLeslie) April 18, 2022
Another communications professional discussed the moment online as well.
"On a flight right now from DTW to AMS, and the pilot just got on the intercom and said 'I have some good news for you. The Biden administration has to remove the mask mandate, so we can't force you to wear them,'" Ray Wert, interim head of communications at Lilium, an aerospace company, tweeted Monday.
—Ray Wert (@raywert) April 18, 2022
"'…If you want to keep wearing them, do so, but otherwise, hopefully it'll make your flight more comfortable,'" Wert added, quoting the pilot on the intercom.
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