For the first time in more than two years, airline passengers will be allowed to enter airports across the nation without a face mask.
And wearing a mask on domestic and most international flights is now optional.
The decision follows Monday’s ruling by a U.S. District Court judge ending the federal mask mandate on airplanes and mass transit.
Robert Burr, executive director of the Glynn County Airport Commission, said the signs have already been removed at airports in the Golden Isles after the Transportation Security Administration said it will no longer enforce the mask mandate at all the nation’s airports or aboard aircraft.
“We were required by the TSA to have masks,” Burr said.
Some passengers liked the mask requirement in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, while others didn’t like wearing them, he said. Now, it will be up to the passenger to decide whether to wear a mask.
“They weren’t over-complaining,” he said of passengers flying out of the Brunswick Golden Isles Airport.
Delta Air Lines, which operates three flights a day to and from Atlanta, issued a statement Monday about the new mask policy.
“Given the unexpected nature of this announcement, please be aware that customers, airline employees and federal agency employees, such as TSA, may be receiving this information at different times. You may experience inconsistent enforcement during the next 24 hours as this news is more broadly communicated — remember to show understanding and patience with others who may not be aware enforcement is no longer required,” according to the statement issued by the airline company, which is headquartered in Atlanta.
Burr said Delta flights originating or arriving in the Golden Isles are 85% booked to capacity and he expects the demand to increase now that masks are no longer mandatory. The only thing keeping Delta from adding more flights to the Brunswick airport is a shortage of pilots, Burr said.
“I know we have the demand,” he said. “It’s good news for the traveler.”