Biden indicators order requiring vacationers put on masks on planes and at airports as pandemic rages

Passengers, almost all with face masks, board an American Airlines flight to Charlotte on May 3, 2020 in New York City.

Eleonore Sens | AFP | Getty Images

President Joe Biden signed an ordinance on Thursday requiring masks to be worn on planes, trains, buses, and airports as coronavirus infections continue to rise.

The Trump administration declined to use masks for air travel and other transportation, leaving private companies to set their own guidelines, despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention having repeatedly recommended their use.

That drove flight attendants and other employees to enforce the rules and unions pushing for a federal mask mandate, and cheered Biden’s orders.

“Today’s executive action on a masked mandate for interstate travel, including airports and airplanes, will provide much-needed support to flight attendants and aviation workers on the front lines,” said Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Fight Attendants-CWA, the country’s largest flight attendants union in a statement.

All major US airlines require travelers to wear masks on board – a policy that extends to airports. Airline executives say the vast majority of customers follow the rule, but they vow to take a tough line against those who refuse. In the past week, airlines banned more than 2,500 people from flying for refusing to wear face covers. The FAA noted that some rare cases have even turned violent.

The FAA warned this month against unruly behavior and against travelers who do not follow the instructions of the crew.

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