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These Airlines Still Require Masks In 2023

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Which airlines still require masks in 2023? Most airlines dropped their mask requirements in early 2022, starting with airlines in Scandinavia and the United Kingdom. On April 18, 2022, a federal judge in Florida struck down the U.S. airline mask mandate that had been in place for more than two years.

Man wearing a mask on airplane

Throughout the spring and summer, mask mandates on other airlines fell like dominoes, and even holdouts like Mexico eventually ended the requirement to wear a mask on flights in the fall.

But going into 2023, a number of airlines around the world still require passengers to wear masks on flights.

Additionally, even airlines that do not have a mask mandate may require passengers to wear a mask if their country of origin or final destination requires it.

Woman wearing mask on airplane

These are some of the airlines that still require masks in 2023. Note that this is not an exhaustive list, but contains some of the more popular airlines that still require masks.

1) Iberia

Iberia is one of the few airlines in Europe that is still requiring masks for passengers.

This Spanish airline still requires that all travelers over the age of six wear a mask onboard their flights.

Iberia flies to destinations in Europe, North America, and South America, and carries more than 20 million passengers per year.

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iberian plane

2) Vueling

Vueling is another Spanish airline that still requires masks on all flights originating in or flying to Spain and Portugal.

For passengers aged six and up, masks continue to be a requirement on these Vueling flights.

3) Copa Airlines

Copa Airlines is one of the most popular airlines in Latin America, with over 295 routes around North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.

This airline, which is based in Panama, still requires that all passengers over the age of two wear masks onboard.

Copa Airlines plane

4) Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific is the flagship carrier of Hong Kong and one of several Asian airlines still requiring passengers to wear masks onboard all flights.

This airline operates flights from Asia to destinations around the world and requires that all passengers over the age of two wear a mask for the duration of their flight.

Cathay pacific airplane on runway

5) Japan Airlines

Japan is a country that never had a legally-enforced mask mandate in place, but where people voluntarily wore masks with near-100% compliance (and continue to voluntarily wear masks indoors and outdoors in 2023.)

So it’s no surprise that Japan Airlines “kindly asks” that guests wear masks onboard their flights.

While it isn’t worded like a mandate on their website, reading the fine print reveals that passengers without a mask may be denied boarding if it is “creating discomfort” for other passengers.

Japan Airlines planes

6) China Eastern Airlines

With some of the strictest and most austere Covid restrictions in the world, it’s unsurprising that China Eastern Airlines still requires masks.

China Eastern Airlines is one of the largest airlines in the world by number of passengers, carrying over 150 million people per year to destinations around Asia, Oceania, Europe, and North America.

7) China Southern Airlines

Similarly, passengers on China Southern Airlines, another major Chinese carrier, must continue to wear masks onboard flights as of 2023.

This is another large airline that serves more than 200 destinations in China and abroad that is still mandating masks.

China Southern airplane

Airlines That DON’T Require Masks In 2023

Most major airlines around the world have dropped mask mandates as of 2023.

Some of the biggest airlines that do NOT require masks (except in limited cases where the country of origin or final destination may require it) are:

  • Delta Air Lines
  • American Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Spirit Airlines
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Air France
  • Lufthansa
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Ryanair
  • Easyjet
  • Qatar Airways
  • Emirates

As always, be sure to check ahead of your flight to see the latest restrictions and rules for flying.

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Thursday 12th of January 2023

ANA Airlines in Japan is another one with a strict and completely irrational mask mandate. This is incredibly annoying because I was put on a codeshare flight with them out of Tokyo to San Francisco after booking through United. I knew that United had dropped the mandate some time ago and assumed it must be the case for other Star Alliance members but sadly that was very much not the case.

The ANA boarding agents and flight attendants enforced the mandate with the efficiency of an abusive, over-zealous prison guard. So much for Japan's famous hospitality or "omotenashi" as they once called it. Nowadays "omoteNazi" might be a more fitting slogan.

Overall, it was an extremely uncomfortable 10 hour flight being forced to wear an ill-fitting mask nearly the entire time as a sort of exercise in pointless dogmatic conformity.

I used to LOVE flying ANA and JAL but now I avoid flying them at all costs!


Saturday 21st of January 2023

@DJ, Yep, it's a medically useless/politically-advantageous, virtue-signaling woke masque.


Wednesday 11th of January 2023

forgot to mention just about every asian airline. good to have this list to know which ones to avoid


Wednesday 11th of January 2023


Was flying on Malaysia airlines in october - they made an announcement that masks were optional on the flight...90% of the people were wearing them, and as I had Asian neighbors I put it on as well just as a sign of respect, as I didn't want to make them feel uncomfortable when sitting next to me. I was guest in their country and it is part of their the airport buildings in KUL or BKK I took it off whilst nearly all of the local people still kept wearing it.

lorri wornum

Wednesday 11th of January 2023

I flew from Madrid to Dominican Republic and back , and we had to wear masks . This was with airline We did not know about this before hand , only when boarding were we told. !!!! 🤡


Wednesday 11th of January 2023

Was just flying on COPA yesterday from Washington Dulles to Panama....there was no mask mandate on board, at least no announcement that masks were required - and 80% of passengers were traveling without masks. 3 out of 4 flight attendants were not wearing masks either. I know, in Panama, on public transport masks are still required, but that doesn't seem to apply for airplanes.....neither does it for airports....on PTY airport mask wearing is optional.


Wednesday 11th of January 2023

This is wrong. A friend was flying with Copa today and said there was no masks. Vueling didn't require mask last month, doubt they do now.


Thursday 19th of January 2023

@Dan, vueling is spanish, Spanish people and gov love masks! national proud