Mar 18, 2021 - Politics & Policy

John Kerry says not wearing his face mask on flight was "momentary"

John Kerry speaking in Paris on March 10.

John Kerry speaking in Paris on March 10. Photo: Eric Piermont/AFP via Getty Images

John Kerry, the Biden administration's special envoy for climate, said not having his face mask on while aboard an American Airlines flight from Boston to Washington, D.C., Wednesday was "momentary."

Why it matters: The airline said in a tweet that it was "looking into" the matter in response to a photo that showed Kerry reading with his mask hanging from one ear. All airlines per federal guidance require passengers and crew to wear masks at all times on flights except when eating or drinking.

What they're saying: "Feels like there’s some St. Patrick’s day 'malarkey' afoot on Twitter," Kerry said via tweet.

  • "Let’s be clear: If I dropped my mask to one ear on a flight, it was momentary. I wear my mask because it saves lives and stops the spread. It’s what the science tells us to do," he added.
  • "The crew did not observe Secretary Kerry without a mask, and they were not alerted by other customers to a non-compliance issue," American Airlines said in a statement to Axios.
    • "We continue to review the matter and we are reaching out to Secretary Kerry to underscore that all customers are expected to wear masks for the duration of their trip.”
Go deeper