The FAA did not offer a reason why the complaint rate dropped. The numbers have been declining for weeks – although they increased in the two weeks before the mandate was canceled – and were already well below the peak seen in early 2021. However, the latest figures could be a sign that lifting the mask mandate has eased tensions. an outcome for many industry leaders.
The mandate to wear transport masks has been outstanding as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has softened recommendations on masking as a way to slow the spread of coronavirus. The CDC said this week it continues to recommend that passengers on airplanes and other forms of public transportation continue to wear masks. But that advice no longer has the force of law, and among airline passengers, at least, it seems, few are hiding.
At a hearing with Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigiega this week, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said that on a recent flight from Houston to DC, he estimated that 1 in 10 people wore a face mask. Cruz asked Buttigie what he planned to do next time he took off.
“I’m not sure,” Buttigieg said. “It simply came to our notice then. I don’t have a flight today, but I’ll think about it next time. “
The TSA stops applying masks after a federal judge revokes a mandate
The picture on some transit networks is different than in the sky, according to reports collected by Transit, an app that tracks public transportation schedules.
In San Francisco, for example, users reported that most passengers wore masks on 80 percent of the trip. The figure was 74 percent on buses in Los Angeles and 44 percent in New York, but a far lower 5 percent in transit to Utah.
Although the mask mandate is no longer in force, the FAA has said it will continue to apply a zero-tolerance approach in cases where passengers disrupt flights. In early April, the FAA proposed record fines for two passengers and requested more than $ 2 million in total fines this year. The agency attributed this policy to helping reduce the number of conflicts.
Sarah Nelson, president of the Stewardess Association-CWA, which represents 50,000 flight attendants in 18 airlines, called on the industry to focus more on alcohol-related issues and the federal ban on flyers.
“The frequency of disruptive and violent passengers is still much higher than before the pandemic, and much remains to be done to stop or mitigate these incidents on aircraft,” she said.
The mandate was subject to short-term extensions, even when airline leaders and workers ’leaders who were among its strongest supporters called for its termination.
At this week’s Senate Trade Committee hearing, Buttigieg told Cruz that the most important thing was “whether it’s a flight or a bus or anywhere else, respect for those who wear masks and those who decide not to.”