Southwest Airlines flight attendants’ union is the first labor body to ask federal aviation officials to end the face mask mandate “as soon as it is practicable.”
A Texas-based flight attendants’ labor union is asking the White House, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Security Administration to officially drop the federal face mask mandate for air travel, citing the reduced number of COVID-19 cases.
In a letter to President Joe Biden, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, outgoing FAA administrator Steve Dickson and TSA administrator David Pekosk, the Transportation Workers Union Local 556 executive board formally asked to end the face covering requirement.
The national face mask mandate officially went into effect on February 2, 2021, after an executive order from President Biden. The rule required passengers and operators of publicly-accessible transportation – including aircraft, trains and buses – to wear face a face covering from the moment they enter the departure terminal, to when they leave their destination terminal. Despite at least one court challenge to the rule, it has been extended twice, now set to expire in April 2022.