Masking no longer mandatory onboard Hawaiian Airlines’ flights
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Hawaiian Airlines has given approval to the governor’s request for an additional flight next month and weekly flights between Honolulu and Pago Pago starting in June while the Honolulu-based carrier is no longer mandating wearing face masks on board the aircraft, following a federal judge’s ruling in Florida.
In a news release published Monday in Samoa News, Gov. Lemanu Peleti Palepoi Sialega Mauga announced that he had requested an additional Hawaiian Airlines flight on May 5 as well as weekly flights on Thursdays starting June 2.
Responding to Samoa News queries, airline spokesman Alex DaSilva said Hawaiian has added the May 5 flight between Honolulu and Pago Pago. “Our June schedule should be available by the end of the week, and updates to the July-October schedule will be live by the end of the month,” DaSilva said yesterday from Honolulu.
Samoa News also sought comments from the airline following a ruling on Monday this week by a federal judge in Florida that struck down a federal policy that mandated the wearing of face masks on public transportation — including onboard commercial aircraft in the U.S.
“Right now we are asking our guests to follow mask-wearing requirements at their origin and destination airports,” was DaSilva’s response.
Samoa News notes that wearing a mask is mandatory at the Pago Pago International Airport, which allows only travelers to enter the facility.
At Monday’s COVID-19 Task Force briefing, Hawaiian’s local station manager Tuli Fruean announced that masks will no longer be mandated onboard the aircraft, and it will be optional, according to officials who participated in the briefing where Fruean also stated that the airline has received many calls about the weekly flights and is working on scheduling aircraft and availability of aircraft.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had recently extended the mask mandate on public transportation until May 3 to allow more time to study the BA.2 omicron subvariant of the coronavirus now responsible for the vast majority of U.S. cases.
But that decision is now on hold following the federal court ruling and CDC announced on Apr. 18 that requiring masks on public transportation conveyances and at transportation hubs “is no longer in effect”.
However, CDC continues to recommend that people wear masks in indoor public transportation settings at this time. (CDC has the latest information on this issue on www.cdc.gov — under travel guidance section, where updates are provided.)
Some national news outlets are reporting concerns raised by travelers over lifting the wear-mask mandate on board the aircraft, especially of concern are young children who are not eligible for COVID-19 vaccine.
APR. 28 FLIGHT
Information presented at Tuesday’s task force briefing states that 256 travelers have registered on the TalofaPass websystem for the Apr. 28 flight from Honolulu.
ASG officials remind travelers from the U.S that for entry requirement into American Samoa it is mandatory to register on TalofaPass. Reservations for travel are made directly with Hawaiian Airlines.