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Airlines Aim to Accommodate Travelers Canceling After Mask Mandate’s Removal

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People with masks entering airplane | Image by mariyaermolaeva

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Major U.S. airlines are working to accommodate travelers who no longer wish to fly after the federal mandate requiring passengers to wear face coverings on public transportation was struck down in a U.S. District Court on April 18.

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby stated in an interview with the Today show that the HEPA filters onboard flights remove approximately 99.97% of particulate in the air, asserting that a plane “is literally one of the safest places you can be.”

Nevertheless, he said the airline is striving to be flexible with its customers by offering credits, refunds, or other options if they choose to cancel their flights.

He also noted, “All our customers should feel free to wear a mask, and many of them are.”

A United Airlines spokesperson advised The Associated Press that all customers except those purchasing the lowest-priced economy fares can always postpone their travel plans without paying a fee. Passengers with special circumstances can call the airline’s customer service number for individualized assistance.

Likewise, American Airlines allows for refunds of refundable tickets and credits for non-refundable tickets, but the economy-priced tickets are generally not refundable or exchangeable.

However, American’s CEO, Robert Isom, said the company is reviewing the policy and asks those with health concerns to contact the customer service line.

“We will make sure that we accommodate them in the appropriate fashion,” he promised.

The Epoch Times reported that Delta Airlines customers who wish to cancel upcoming travel due to the removal of the mask mandate should contact the airline directly, as it is handling these requests on a case-by-case basis.

Alaska Airlines is also handling such requests on a case-by-case basis, reports Simple Flying.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines is allowing all passengers to cancel upcoming travel and receive flight credits instead.

U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle ruled last week that the CDC had exceeded its authority in issuing a mask mandate for passengers on public transportation, stating the agency had failed to justify its decision to impose the requirement.

However, two days later, the Department of Justice filed an appeal seeking to overturn the judge’s ruling. Still, United CEO Kirby said he believes that the mandates are unlikely to be reinstated anytime soon, stating that the appeal is mainly about preserving the CDC’s jurisdiction.

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