The End Of Masks On Flights
For the last two years, we’ve all had to wear masks on public transport, regardless of where we come from. However, some airlines have now removed mask mandates on their flights, especially European-based airlines.
As a result, masks are now a personal choice for many travelers.
Update: With the removal of the mask mandate in the U.S. as of April 18, 2022, U.S.-based airlines will also show on this list.
However, these airlines outside the United States have already removed their mask mandates:
British Airways became the biggest airliner to remove its mask mandate on March 16, 2022. The airline told their passengers: “The legal requirement to wear a face-covering has now been removed in England and Wales and we have updated our face mask policy,”
“Customers are no longer required to wear a mask at some airports in England. However, as an international airline flying all around the world, we are obliged to ensure our customers continue to comply with local restrictions and meet the requirements of the destination they arrive at.”
Virgin Atlantic, one of Britain’s biggest airlines, dropped its mask mandate on flights on March 16, 2022. Although British Airways scrapped their mask mandate at once, Virgin Atlantic said they would gradually ease their mask mandate, starting with flights from the Caribbean.
Virgin Atlantic CEO, Corneel Koster, said: “As we learn to live with Covid and with the legal requirement to wear a face mask now removed in England, we believe our customers should have the personal choice whether to wear a mask on board, on routes where international regulations around mask-wearing do not apply.”
Popular Dutch airline KLM has removed its mask mandate on 17 March 2022. KLM’s decision to remove masks wasn’t in line with the Dutch government who’ve removed masks in all public settings apart from public transport.
Regarding the Dutch government’s decision, KLM said: “The industry considers this approach inappropriate, given the stage of the pandemic. Moreover, it is at odds with European and international developments that we follow closely. Because the explainability and proportionality continue to decline, we see an increase in misunderstanding among our passengers and a growing number and also more serious incidents with ‘unruly’ passengers, which may negatively affect the safety of a flight.”
British airliner TUI no longer requires customers to wear masks on its flights to and from England and Northern Ireland because it’s no longer a legal requirement to wear masks there. However, the airliner still “strongly recommends” continuing to wear masks.
TUI also says travelers on flights to Italy and the U.S. must wear masks from their entire flight due to laws within those countries. The airline states: “It’s important to note that you may still be required to wear a mask when leaving the aircraft and once inside the airport at your arrival destination.”
Jet2 states that masks are no longer mandatory on flights to and from England and Northern Ireland. However, the airline still recommends that passengers wear them on board its flights. They became the first British airliner
Jet2 states: “It’s no longer a legal requirement to wear a face mask at our airports or onboard our planes. However, as per UK Government guidance, we recommend that you continue to wear a face mask in these spaces, and you will need to wear one when you get to your overseas destination.
Dutch airline Transavia has scrapped its mask mandate in flights—in spite of the Dutch government maintaining the mask mandate—as it fears issues with angry passengers. The airline said: “This is causing non-compliance and anger [among passengers] and is jeopardizing flight safety,”
Transavia, similarly to KLM, will stress the importance of wearing face masks on board the plane; however, there will be no sanctions if people refuse.
Starting Sunday, March 27th, EasyJet will join with other British-based airlines by scrapping their mask mandates on some European flights. Starting of course with domestic flights within the UK, and also including Iceland, Denmark, Hungary, and Gilbraltar. The airline said they will continue to provide mask-free flights to more destinations as countries drop their mask mandates.
Starting on April 4, 2022, Norwegian Air drops its mandatory in-flight mask mandate. Passengers can make a personal choice if they wish to wear a mask or not for the first time since mid-2020. Norway became the first European country to fully remove ALL covid-19 entry requirements, including all forms, testing and quarantine rules, proof of vaccination, country ban lists, and all other border restrictions back in Feb 2022.
SAS has dropped mandatory masks ONLY when traveling within Denmark, Norway and Sweden. International flights still require masks from anyone over 6 years of age.
Icelandair has removed masks for flights where the destination does not require them, so essentially, for most of its European-bound routes.
Croatian Airlines removed their mask mandate for flights within Croatian airspace and to destinations that also do not require masks.
All U.S. Airlines
Following the removal of the federal mask mandate in the USA effective April 18, 2022, all of the U.S.-based airlines have now removed the obligation for passengers to wear a mask. This includes all domestic flights and also international flights where the destination country also doesn’t require them.
The airlines that have removed masks include:
- Virgin Atlantic
As of April 25, 2022, masks are no longer required on most FinnAir flights. Domestic flights won’t require masks, as well as any destination that has also removed the mandate, which is much of Europe at this point.
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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