Lifestyle Travel US Mask Mandate for Airplanes, Public Transit Extended to January The initial mandate set by the Transportation Security Administration was due to expire Sept. 13 By Naledi Ushe Naledi Ushe Digital News Writer, PEOPLE People Editorial Guidelines Published on August 18, 2021 08:47 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Getty Images The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) extended the U.S. federal transportation mask mandate. The policy, first set to expire Sept. 13, has now been extended until Jan. 18, 2022, as COVID-19 cases rise amid the spread of the Delta variant, Reuters and the Associated Press reported this week. A TSA spokesperson told Reuters the decision for the extension is "to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on public transportation." Bing Guan/Bloomberg via Getty Images Flight Attendants Are Training In Self-Defense as Unruly Passengers Incident Continue to Rise The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, which represents 50,000 flight attendants across 17 airlines, said the TSA's extension will "help tremendously to keep passengers and aviation workers safe." "We have a responsibility in aviation to keep everyone safe and do our part to end the pandemic, rather than aid the continuation of it," the president of the union, Sara Nelson, said in a statement. "We all look forward to the day masks are no longer required, but we're not there yet." The U.S. Travel Association said the extended policy "has the travel industry's full support." For more on the guidelines airlines are implementing and other top stories, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day. "The universal wearing of masks in airports and on airplanes, trains and other forms of public transportation is both an effective safeguard against spreading the virus and boosts public confidence in traveling—both of which are paramount for a sustained economic recovery," the organization said in a press release. Airlines Forced to Discipline Customers After 2,500 Reports of Unruly Customers in 2021 Despite the general support from industry employees, travel industry professionals have faced increased violence from unruly passengers over the public transit mask mandate first set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Jan. 29, soon after President Joe Biden took office. The Federal Aviation Administration's Unruly Passengers report, out Tuesday, even revealed that out of 3,889 unruly passenger incidents reported in 2021, 74 percent (2,867) were due to passengers refusing to wear a mask. In an attempt to address the issue, the FAA announced a zero-tolerance policy back in January as reports of bad behavior soared in the high skies. Per the policy, "the agency will pursue legal enforcement action against any passenger who assaults, threatens, intimidates, or interferes with airline crew members" in addition to issuing fines. As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the CDC, WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.