Following KLM, which also announced it will no longer enforce mask usage among customers, Norwegian Airlines is the latest in Europe to announce the lifting of the mask requirement.
As of April 4, 2022, Norwegian customers will cease requiring its passengers to cover their nose and mouth when flying, officially making mask usage optional.
Norway’s flag carrier and one of the largest carriers in Europe, Norwegian now joins a growing list of popular airlines eliminating masks, in line with reopening trends across most of the continent.
Customers Are Again Free To Not Wear Face Masks On Norwegian Flights
As stated on Norwegian’s official website, face masks are no longer required on board, meaning passengers will be free to assess their own exposure risks and flight crew will no longer enforce mask usage.
Throughout the pandemic, there have been multiple reports of altercations relating to mask usage in flights, as customers who opposed it strongly were prone to express discontent with the measure.
Transavia, another European carrier that has recently dropped masks on flights as well, raised this particular concern by stating the ‘unpopular measure’ generally leads to ‘aggression’ when crew is confronted with those unlikely to comply.
While Norwegian Airlines has not mentioned any such incidents when announcing the policy change, it has evidently aligned itself with other European competitors in relaxing rules.
Norway Has Also Eliminated All Remaining Covid Rules
Within its own home country of Norway, Covid mandates have not been in place for a while now, with the pandemic-era Covid certificates having been abolished and virtually all social curbs eliminated.
In fact, Norway was one of the first countries in Europe to return to its pre-pandemic entry regulations, allowing foreign tourists to enter without vaccine certificates or testing. With that in mind, Norwegian’s loosening of restrictions comes as no surprise, as it is the Scandinavian country’s leading airline.
Across Scandinavia, Denmark and Sweden have also followed Norway’s lead, removing all Covid-specific entry requirements and allowing entry to all categories of travelers, irrespective of vaccination status.
Having deep historical ties to the Scandinavian Peninsula, Iceland also scrapped all internal and border Covid restrictions, while the closely associated Nordic country of Finland removed testing requirements for vaccinated tourists.
All in all, travel across Scandinavia and the wider Nordic region is the smoothest it has been since March 2020.
Passengers Still Advised To Observe Country-Specific Requirements
On their website, Norwegian they still advise passengers to revise specific requirements and guidance at their own destination prior to traveling, as other countries in Europe and beyond may not have rolled back certain restrictions yet.
Italy and Spain are two obvious examples, having recently announced they will not be joining their European partners in lifting requirements ahead of summer just yet.
Despite not being required on Norwegian flights, masks may still be needed inside international airports. As the airline stresses, it is the passenger’s responsibility to comply with local regulations and restrictions. For that reason, we advise our readers to always carry face masks with them in case they are required on occasion.
As for those who do not feel ready yet to throw away their masks, Norwegian reiterates they are ‘very welcome’ to continue wearing a face mask on board.
Similarly to Norwegian, KLM and Transavia, an extensive list of major airlines, including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have swapped mandatory masks for optional usage on most flights, evidencing an industry trend of reinstating a pre-Covid state of normality.
The move generally follows a country’s complete removal of restrictions, such as the UK, which is both British and Virgin’s base country. In early March, the UK was one of the first in Europe to drop all internal restrictions, prompting British airlines to do the same.
As Europe as a whole reopens further, international travelers should expect more airlines, as well as countries, to ease their requirements, including the wearing of face masks on board flights and public transportation.
When flying abroad, tourists are still advised to follow their own country’s official travel advice for specific destinations, which in the case of the United States is defined by the CDC listings.
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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