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Twitter Is Giving A Big "No Thanks" To The End Of Masking On Planes

Why would you want to breathe gross plane air?

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Tiny vacuum-flush toilets, soggy lukewarm food, and recycled air — let’s be real, even before the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the globe, traveling on airplanes was kinda gross. Now, things are about to get a little more gag-worthy: On April 18, a federal judge in Florida struck down masking requirements for travelers on planes, trains, buses, and other public transportation. People all over the internet are pretty grossed out, and these tweets about the mask mandate on planes ending all say "no thanks" to inhaling germy plane air.

The mandate began on Feb. 2, 2021, shortly after President Joe Biden called on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to issue masking requirements for travelers on public transit. However, the mandate was struck down on Monday by Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, who was appointed by President Donald Trump in November 2020 to serve as a United States District Judge for Florida’s middle district. Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had extended the mandate until May 3, Mizelle’s ruling left masking requirements up to individual transit companies.

“The court concludes that the Mask Mandate exceeds the CDC’s statutory authority and violates the procedures required for agency rulemaking under the APA,” Mizelle’s 59-page decision said. “Accordingly, the Court vacates the mandate and remands it to the CDC.” Almost immediately, the country’s biggest airlines — including Delta, American, Southwest, and United — dropped masking requirements for domestic travel. Twitter users from all over the country weren’t too thrilled, especially since airplane travel is already known for being shockingly unsanitary. In fact, airplanes are often so germ-filled, they’re sometimes referred to as “flying petri dishes” within the aviation community. Fun!

Although mask mandates are rolling back, it’s clear the pandemic isn’t over: As of April 2022, over 988,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, with an average of 14,653 hospitalizations and 425 deaths each day, according to data from The New York Times. And airlines aren’t the only companies ending masking requirements — Uber and Lyft are also no longer requiring drivers or passengers to mask up in the United States. “You can now ride without a mask and use the front seat if you need to,” Uber wrote in an April 19 tweet. “While mask usage is still recommended, we’ve updated our Covid Safety policies. Let’s move forward, safely together. For US riders only.”

As of April 19, at least nine of the nation’s most prominent airlines have publicly either nixed or rolled back mask mandates, per NPR. So while travelers can indeed fly without a mask after Mizelle’s ruling, the question now is: Do they really want to?