Reaction to mask mandate drop; Boeing assures flyers are breathing clean air

Travelers have mixed emotions after mask mandates are removed from airplanes. Marissa Sulek BNA users talks to BNA users about the lifted restrictions.
Published: Apr. 19, 2022 at 6:38 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - A federal judge voided the national mask mandate Tuesday after the CDC extended the mask mandate.

You no longer must wear masks at airports or on planes after the national mandate was dropped Monday.

Many travelers at BNA were not wearing masks Tuesday morning, but some still did to keep them safe.

While traveling on airplanes can be claustrophobic, we wanted to see if the air filtration system is prepared for no masks.

Daniel Freeman, a chief engineer with Boeing, says the air on their planes is changed every two to three minutes through high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters.

These filters are similar to those used in hospital and operating rooms. The HEPA filters trap more than 99.9% of particles, like bacteria and viruses, from the air before they recirculate to the cabin.

Boeing also says the air in planes flows from ceiling to floor, not from front to back. They say this minimizes contaminants in the cabin. Therefore, if someone sneezes or coughs on a plane, the particles spread less in flight than in familiar indoor places, like offices or businesses.

They also say the air is cleaner at the higher altitudes because it’s very clean, dry and low in oxygen and particularly particulate-free.

“I walked in with it, and then I saw everyone not wearing masks,” says Joseph Veneziano. “And then I just pulled my mask down.”

While some were surprised to hear the news, others were ecstatic.

“I won’t be excited until I see everyone on the plane without masks, then I’ll feel better,” says one BNA traveler.

After two years of wearing masks at an airport and on a flight, some still want to be cautious.

“I’m scared I’ll make someone uncomfortable,” says Rick Orcutt. “Someone who’s not as comfortable. So I’ve got one in my pocket.”

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