Pilot's 'most important announcement ever' during flight divides opinion

·4-min read

A pilot made what he claims is the most "important" announcement of his life during a flight after a controversial Covid measure was scrapped in the US.

A federal judge in Florida has overturned the Biden administration's mandate which required travellers to wear a mask on aeroplanes, public transport, taxis and ride-shares.

The mandate was enforced to reduce the spread of Covid-19 and was extended by US health officials just last week to assess the impact of the recent rise in cases.

One passenger onboard an Alaskan Airlines flight caught the moment a pilot announced the mandate had been overturned, mid-flight.

Travelers queue up in long lines to pass through the south security checkpoint in Denver International Airport, Wednesday morning, June 16, 2021, in Denver.
Airlines in the US no longer require travellers to wear masks. Source: AP

"It's over, immediately," the pilot is heard saying over the intercom, as people start to clap and some are seen taking their masks off.

"Congratulations."

The video was shared by Ben Dietderich, who clarified what the pilot said before the recording of the video started.

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is your pilot speaking. This is the most important announcement I’ve ever made. The federal mask mandate is over. Take off your mask if you choose," Mr Dietderich wrote on Twitter.

Alaskan Airlines made a statement following the mandate being overturned, saying masks are now optional while at the airport or on an aircraft.

There will be some instances where passengers need to wear a mask. Alaskan Airlines said travelling to and from Canada will require a face mask.

On Twitter, United Airlines specifically said masks are no longer required at airports, domestic or on select international flights.

Mask wearing will be dependent on the arrival country's requirement.

Ban for travellers in mask disputes continued

The mask mandate for those flying in the US during the pandemic has proven to be somewhat controversial, and there have been plenty of outbursts from passengers who didn't want to comply.

Alaskan Airlines also noted those who were banned from flying with them due to outbursts relating to the mask mandate will still be banned.

"Throughout the last two years, we have relied on reporting from agents and flight attendants to ban non-compliant guests from travelling while the federal mask policy remained in effect," Alaskan Airlines said.

"Based on our reports, we will have some guests whose behaviour was particularly egregious who will remain banned, even after the mask policy is rescinded."

Masks will now be optional for domestic travellers and those going to select overseas destinations. Source: Getty Images
Masks will now be optional for domestic travellers and those going to select overseas destinations. Source: Getty Images

Not everyone was happy about the decision to scrap the mandate, with many suggesting it would just lead to more Covid cases.

In response to Alaskan Airlines' tweet about the news one person said they were immunocompromised and are now considering cancelling their upcoming flight.

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has not commented on the overturning of the mandates.

Kathryn Kimball Mizelle was the judge who struck down the mandate. She was appointed by Donald Trump during his presidency.

In the wake of her ruling, people on Twitter pointed out the American Bar Association said she was "not qualified" before she was appointed.

In her ruling, she said the CDC failed to justify its decision and did not follow proper rulemaking procedures that left it fatally flawed.

Mizelle said the only remedy was to vacate the rule entirely across the country because it would be impossible to end it for the limited group of people who objected in the lawsuit.

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