If you thought that we were winding down the masking requirements for air travel, think again! You’ll want to hang onto those masks for at least a while longer if you’re traveling by air.

The federal mask mandate that was announced in January 2021 was scheduled to expire on April 18, 2022. The mandate has now been extended to at least May 5.

Why has the federal aviation mask mandate been extended?

The uptick in virus transmissions over the past few weeks has caused the CDC to extend the mask mandate (for the fifth time since initially implemented).

As time goes by, this has become an increasingly unpopular mandate. Passengers and the airlines continue to call for the mandate to be lifted. Those opposing the mandate cite an increasingly vaccinated population. Additionally, industry leaders (like the CEO of Delta), believe masking should be returned to the general public as an option for personal safety.

When will the mask mandate be lifted?

The short answer is that it’s unclear at present.

The TSA and CDC have continued mask mandates and stated that “the revised framework will be based on the COVID-19 community levels, risk of new variants, national data, and the latest science,” the agencies said in a statement at the time.

We’ll keep you posted on federal policy changes and developments for travelers as they occur.

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