Recently the mask mandates for passengers on domestic flights were extended through January 2022 by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). This mandate is an extension of the current US Federal Government mask mandate, that applies to all public transportation systems. Along with the mask mandate in the U.S. many international airlines have banned cloth masks for passengers on flights.
Popular Airlines Ban Cloth Masks For Passengers
Cloth masks became popular when the COVID-19 pandemic hit last spring. The masks had become almost a novelty item with colorful designs that allowed people to show their individuality. However, the medical community feels the cloth masks are not as effective as surgical masks.
Airlines Follow Advice From Experts
Domestic airlines currently do not have this specific mask requirement. Officials from the TSA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) met with airline representatives August 17th and extended the current US federal mask mandate through January of next year.
The highly contagious Delta variant is to blame for the mask mandate extension. Due to a surge in cases in the United States, the TSA and CDC decided to extend the mask mandates. This extension will cover the always busy travel seasons such as Thanksgiving and the winter holiday season. The officials hope this will curve the spread of the Delta variant.
Current Airlines Making Medical Masks Compulsory
So far, it is only a handful of international airlines that have banned cloth face masks.
Finnair– On August 16th Finnair became the latest airline to ban cloth masks for passengers on flights. The airline made this announcement in a recent post on Twitter, “Starting 16 August, we will no longer accept fabric masks on our flights. We accept surgical masks, FFP2 or FFP3 respirator masks without a valve or other valve free masks with the same standard (N95). Please remember you need to wear a mask throughout the entire journey”.
Air France- This European carrier has had a surgical mask mandate on flights enforced since May 31st, 2020 by order of the French Government.
Lufthansa– Since February 1st this German carrier has required its passengers and crew to wear medical masks on all flights. The airline requires that the mask worn is either a surgical mask, an FFP2 mask, or a mask that has the KN95/N95 standard.
Swissair also requires that passengers wear medical masks on flights. “The obligation to wear a mouth-nose cover applies to all passengers (also vaccinated and recovered) and staff on board. On all flights facemasks of the FFP2, KN95 or N95 standard, as well as surgical masks, are obligatory when boarding, onboard, and when leaving the aircraft,” the airline states on its website.
Croatia Airlines are also enforcing the cloth mask ban and making medical masks (FFP2, N95 or KN95 mask without valve) compulsorily.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories