Biden signs order for mandatory masks on US flights

Shutterstock / Evgenia Parajanian

During his first day in office, President Joe Biden signed a mask mandate that the air travel industry has been pushing for. 

On January 20, 2021, in an effort to curb the number of COVID-19 infections, Biden signed the order mandating masks in airports and airplanes. according to White House officials.

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA), which represents around 50,000 cabin crew members at more than a dozen US airlines, has been asking for a mandatory mask law since early in the pandemic. The union argued that a single standard for masks across the country would protect flight attendants and other airline workers who have to deal with non-compliant passengers. The Trump administration refused petitions from both airlines and pilot unions to order a mask rule.

“There is a big difference between a policy and a federal mandate,” said Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association union. “A company policy doesn’t carry as much weight. When you use the words ‘federal mandate’ it gets attention.”

Already in October 2020, Joe Biden said he would mandate facial covers for all inter-state passengers and since the election, he reiterated that promise. The mandate was supported by the Airlines for America, a trade association representing major United States airlines.


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