It’s been more than a year since the start of the federal mask mandate for transportation and the subsequent requirement for inbound travelers to the U.S. to provide a negative COVID-19 test result. And while the mask mandate was most recently extended less than a month ago (and is now set to expire on April 18), travel industry leaders and travelers alike are expressing their readiness for both requirements to end.
Just how ready are Americans to see the travel mandates removed? This past week, we asked more than 700 U.S.-based TripIt users whether they wanted the mandates to expire, be removed, or continue—and whether the potential removal of those mandates would impact their plans to travel in the future.
What travelers said revealed an obvious readiness for returning to travel normalcy. That is, the majority of respondents (54%) said they want the federal mask mandate for transportation to expire. In addition, 60% of respondents said they want the COVID-19 testing requirement for international travel removed.
Here’s what else travelers told us.
Most Americans ready for masks on planes to come off
When we asked travelers their preferences regarding the federal mask mandate for transportation:
- 54% said they want the mask mandate to expire
- 30% want the mandate to be re-extended
- 16% don’t have a preference either way
If the mask mandate were to expire, nearly a third of respondents (32%) said they’d be more likely to travel; 53% said the mandate ending would not make them more or less likely to travel. Just 15% said the mandate ending would cause them to travel less.
Would an end to the mandate mean an end to masking on transportation? Our data says that it’s not likely. Indeed, 39% of respondents plan to still wear a mask on a plane and other forms of public transit; 28% said they’d wear a mask if they were feeling sick while traveling. One-third of travelers (33%) said they’d be done with masks if/when the mandate ends.
Our data also shows those who want the mask mandate to be re-extended will also—overwhelmingly (93%)—continue to wear masks on public transportation no matter what, with nearly all of the remainder doing so while sick (6%) and less than 1% planning to no longer wear masks on public transportation at all.
Nearly half of Americans will plan more international travel if testing requirement is removed
Travelers felt even more strongly about the removal of the international testing requirement. Our data shows:
- 60% of respondents want the requirement removed
- 27% want the policy to remain
- 13% said they don’t have a preference either way
We also asked travelers how the potential removal of the international testing requirement would impact their travel plans. Almost half (44%) said they’d be more likely to travel if the requirement was removed; just 10% said they’d be less likely to travel; and 46% said ending the policy would not impact their travel plans either way.
Similar to the survey data we released in early March, Americans’ air travel readiness continues to climb. And it would seem, with readiness comes the appetite for normalcy—and moving on from pandemic-era mandates.
Methodology: TripIt surveyed more than 700 U.S.-based users to understand their sentiment towards the federal mask mandate for transportation and the COVID-19 testing requirement for international travel to the U.S. The survey took place April 1-4, 2022.