LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – As of Monday, April 18, masks are optional on all major airlines for employees and customers. This is because federal officials stopped enforcement of the mask mandate in transportation settings.
However, only a day after the announcement, there are mixed feelings about it.
“I’ll wear it on the flight and while I’m here,” Tommy Grundy said. “There are still a lot of people who haven’t got their vaccine. I’m happy with it either way. Whatever makes someone feel safe.”
Some don’t give too much thought to what other people decide.
“Personally, I don’t care,” United employee Kylar Griffin said. “It’s just up to you as a person to decide what you want to do. That’s what I’m with. If you want to wear a mask, wear a mask. If you don’t… good luck to you.”
There are some who are over the moon that the mandate is over.
“There are a lot of people who aren’t wearing masks and they were excited. And when I say excited, they almost flipped on the counter,” Griffin said.
“The mask mandate drove me nuts,” Mary Collins said.
Collins frequently flies back and forth from Phoenix, Arizona to Arkansas and has been ready for airlines to stop requiring masks for a while.
“I can’t breathe, I wear glasses and my glasses would fog up on me,” Collins added. “It’s ridiculous and I like to see people’s smiling faces.”
According to United gate/counter agent Leslie Styron, the people who were not wearing a mask on Tuesday were about half and half.
“Another one of my coworkers at the gate has her’s on and the other one doesn’t,” Styron said. “Down here my coworker doesn’t but I do. I think it has to do with what’s going on in your personal life.”
In Styron’s personal life, she has parents in their mid-80s who she wants to keep safe because they see each other often.
“As long as I have my mask on,” Styron said. “As long as my parents want me to. I would just die if I got sick and got them infected.”