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Face masks on the plane: these airlines stop enforcing

by Elisa Flitter Fever
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Wearing a face mask on the plane. One is happy with it. The other hates it horribly. For almost two years now, we don’t really know any better. At least, if you were going to fly at all. But that mask on the plane is now coming to an end quickly. Which airlines stop asking their passengers to wear a face mask on board?

Face mask on the plane
Face mask on the plane (photo Lukas Souza)

In reverse chronological order (latest first).

Canada

The Canadian government announced last Monday (September 26, 2022, ed.) that it is no longer required that travelers wear a face mask on board an aircraft. The current rules will end on October 1, 2022. The Canadian government will also stop the random Corona tests at airports. In addition, the Canadian government will no longer require cruise ship passengers to take a Corona test before boarding.

Source: NPR September 27 2022

Emirates Dubai

Emirates and flydubai have both confirmed that face masks are now no longer mandatory (but optional) for passengers on their flights to Dubai. Wearing a face mask is also no longer mandatory at Dubai International Airport. For flights from Dubai, it depends on the rules of the destination where the flight is going, whether or not a face mask must be worn on board the aircraft.

Source: Time Out Dubai September 27, 2022

Australia

Face masks are no longer required on domestic flights in Australia and many international flights to and from the country. This has been in effect since September 9, 2022. Qantas has abolished face masks on flights to Singapore, the United Kingdom, Italy and the United States. And Singapore Airlines has in turn lifted the masks on flights to Australia. Since mid-June 2022, wearing a face mask at airports in Australia has been optional.

Source: Zakenreisnieuws 10 September 2022

Singapore Airlines

As of 29 August 2022, passengers of Singapore Airlines are no longer required to wear face masks on board flights, unless they are travelling to or from destinations that does require passengers to wear a face mask (such as Germany). No face masks are required to be worn at Singapore Changi Airport either anymore. Which Asian country will follow in loosening the face mask rules? In public transport in Singapore wearing a face mask is still required though.

Source: Singapore Airlines News 25 August 2022

Singapore Airlines

Brussels Airlines

From May 3, 2922, travelers of Brussels Airlines no longer have to wear face masks, according to the airline itself. The cabin crew no longer has to either.

Source: VRT 02 May 2022

Finn Air

From April 25, 2022, passengers on Finnair flights will no longer be required to wear a face mask. Unless the authorities of the country of destination or origin require this. This still applies to flights to/from The Netherlands, which means that Finn Air will ask to wear a face mask on flights to and from Schiphol-Amsterdam airport for the time being.

Source: Finn Air 21 April 2022

USA – national flights

Although the CDC wanted to extend the face mask measure until May 3, 2022, a judge in Florida has ruled that wearing a face mask is no longer mandatory on domestic flights in the United States. In any case, United Airlines and Alaska Airlines have announced that passengers no longer have to wear face masks during their flights. It is not yet entirely clear whether this will also apply internationally.

Source: nu.nl 19 April 2022

Norwegian Air

Norwegian Air is the next airline to lift the requirement for passengers to wear masks on all flights. The mandate (…) will be canceled on Monday (4 April 2022).

Source: TTG Media 1 April 2022

SWISS International Air Lines

SWISS has announced that it will no longer make face masks mandatory on board flights from Friday 1 April 2022. From the same date, wearing a face mask on public transport in Switzerland is no longer mandatory. (…) Face masks must still be worn on flights where this is required by the destination country. SWISS passengers will be informed prior to boarding about the applicable rules for whether or not it is compulsory to wear a face mask on that specific flight.

Source: One Mile at the Time 31 March 2022

Iceland air

Face masks have become optional on all Icelandair flights to and from Europe, within Iceland and to and from Greenland. A face mask will remain mandatory on board Icelandair flights to and from Canada, the US, Germany, Paris and Zurich until further notice. In short, whether or not you have to wear a mask on board depends on the rules of the authorities of your flight destination.

Source: Icelandair 22 March 2022

Dutch airlines

KLM, Transavia, TUI and Corendon will stop forcing passengers to wear a face masks on their flights from March 24, 2022. This goes against the decision of the cabinet. The Dutch government prefers the face mask to stay obligatory on board of airplanes. The face mask obligation will still be enforced at Dutch airports until further notice.

Source: RTL Nieuws 16 March 2022

UPDATE #3

The obligation to wear a face mask on the plane and at the Dutch airports (Schiphol, Eindhoven, Rotterdam, etc.) after security will officially end on May 21, 2022. That has been decided by the cabinet.

Source: Luchtvaartnieuws 13 May 2022

UPDATE #2

KLM will also stop enforcing the mask requirement on flights to the United States, now that the US is no longer mandatory on aircraft.

Source: Luchtvaartnieuws 19 April 022

UPDATE #1

According to [cabin union] VNC, it became clear on Tuesday [March 22, 2022, ed.] that [the previously announced face mask enforcement] relaxation will not apply to many destinations. Various airlines then came up with a list of ‘ifs and buts’ (…) According to VNC, there are now differences between destinations where the mask requirement applies, but also whether it concerns an outward flight or a return flight. (…) According to VNC, airlines should adhere to the directive of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). It states that a mouth mask is strongly recommended, but not mandatory.

KLM informed cabin crew in an internal memo on Tuesday [March 22, 2022, ed.] that the destinations are subdivided into three categories:

– Countries that do not have a mask obligation for aviation. KLM will not supervise the wearing of face masks by passengers on flights to and from the country concerned. Crew members are not required to wear a face mask in the galley and flight deck, but are required during boarding, disembarking and when in contact with passengers in the cabin. KLM continues to urgently recommend its passengers to wear a face mask in accordance with EASA regulations.

– Countries that have a mask obligation for all flights (inbound and outbound). On these flights, the mask obligation continues to apply to crew and passengers and KLM is also obliged to ensure that passengers wear them.

– Countries that have a face mask obligation for flights to that country. On flights from Amsterdam to the country in question, a face mask obligation applies to crew and passengers. KLM must also ensure that it is carried by passengers.


KLM will not supervise the wearing of masks by passengers on the flight from the country to Amsterdam. Crew members are not required to wear a face mask in the galley and flight deck, but are required during boarding, disembarking and when in contact with passengers in the cabin. For crew transport, wearing a face mask is only mandatory at destinations where the government still makes it mandatory.

Source: Luchtvaartnieuws 23 March 2022

BA & VA

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are abolishing face masks on their planes. Unless the destination being flown to requires it, such as the United States.

Source: Luchtvaartnieuws 15 March 2022

Jet2

British airline Jet2 no longer obliges passengers to wear a mask on their plane. Jet2 flies from Amsterdam-Schiphol airport to Leeds and Birmingham.

Source: The Times UK 1st of March 2022

SAS

As of February 15, 2022, SAS will stop requiring the mandatory use of face masks on their domestic flights and flights within Scandinavia. With regards to all other flights with SAS, face masks are still mandatory.

Source: SAS 14 February 2022

The question is: which airline is next? I will keep this article as up-to-date as possible in the near future. Sign up for the newsletter not to miss out on anything.

Apart from the discussion about the usefulness of wearing a face mask… Personally I am happy with this development; no more face masks on the plane. I have asthma and as a result I am often short of breath on the plane, let alone with a face mask on. But I can also imagine that some people are not happy with this change of policy. It is what it is. Feel free to share this post on social media, so that others are also aware of which airlines are no longer required to wear a face mask on board the aircraft. Have a nice trip!

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Last Updated on 10/04/2022 by Elisa Flitter Fever

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