By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily
A Cheyenne man said passengers on his Delta flight cheered and sang the National Anthem when they were informed about 15 minutes into a flight that the mask mandate on airlines was lifted Monday evening.
Vince Bodiford, who was traveling from Denver to Detroit, said at about 5:45pm (Mountain Time), flight attendants began telling passengers that the Transportation Security Administration would no longer enforce the federal mandate requiring masks on airplanes due to a U.S. district court ruling on Monday.
“The whole cabin erupted in cheers,” Bodiford told Cowboy State Daily. “Some sang National Anthem, others chanting USA, USA. Very emotional flight.”
Bodiford said shortly after the flight attained cruising speed, flight attendants went from row-to-row to inform passengers the mandate had been lifted.
“At first, passengers were in disbelief or didn’t quite know how to react,” he said. “They were asking for reassurance that is was true.”
Bodiford said he then heard clapping from the rear of the cabin along with chants of “USA! USA!”
“Then people started singing the National Anthem,” he said. “It was amazing.”
After awhile things got back to normal, he said. “Beverage service began but this time when the masks came off, nearly everyone kept them off.”
Spoke With Captain
After the flight, Bodiford said he went up to speak to the captain of the plane and was told that his flight (Delta 2159) was the first Delta flight that got the message that the mask mandate was over.
He said Captain Lawlor told him that this was the first flight for him in over two years where he didn’t have to wear a mask.
“He said the mask mandate was really hurting their customer relationships because they had to be the enforcers,” he said. “The captain told me this flight was special for him and it felt historic.”
Bodiford, who owns The Cheyenne Post and the auto-enthusiast site ‘The Weekend Drive,’ said he’s never seen so many happy passengers on a flight.
“What a fun flight to be on,” he said. “The mood is like wow, the long nightmare is really over. I’ll never forget Delta 2159 to Detroit. What a wonderful flight.”
Earlier in the day, a federal judge struck down the mask requirement on airplanes, trains, busses, and other public transportation. The ruling let individual airlines determine what to do. Delta was one of four airlines which immediately dropped the mask requirement.
President Biden had asked the Centers For Disease Control to implement a mask mandate for all travelers shortly after taking office on February 2, 2021.
Months later, the Health Freedom Defense Fund, an advocacy group registered in Wyoming, challenged the legality of the mandate.
Following the announcement, the group said the ruling was a “victory for basic American liberty and the rule of law.”
“Without any public comment, or serious scientific justification, CDC bureaucrats imposed a sweeping Travel Mask Mandate applying to every American over the age of two,” said HFDF President Leslie Manookian.
“There are laws that set boundaries for federal agencies to protect individual freedom and the Court clearly found that CDC exceeded those limits. Unelected officials cannot do whatever they like to our personal freedoms just because they claim good motives and a desirable goal,” she said.