Which airlines still need masks?
After a federal judge in Florida overturned the US federal mandate for transport masks on April 18, all major US airlines have lifted their mask requirements for domestic flights.
Masking rules originally established to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in flight have also been relaxed in Europe. On May 16, a European Union recommendation came into force advising countries to drop the masking requirement on planes and at EU airports. However, European countries and airlines set their own policies and masking remains a requirement on many international flights.
Since this week, several countries in Europe still have a mandatory mask policy in place for public transport, including airplanes and airports. European Union countries that continue to have a mask mandate at press time include:
Additionally, masking is still required by many airlines that fly to and within countries in Asia, Africa, Oceania, and the Americas.
Travelers should always double-check the requirements of the airline and route they are taking, as policies can and do change (sometimes overnight).
Here’s what travelers need to know about masking on flights in the United States and abroad.
Which US airlines need masks?
All major US airlines dropped their mask requirements for crew and passengers on domestic flights following the April 18 ruling. Here are the updated mask policies for each US airline:
- Alaska Airlines: Masks are optional. Alaska immediately moved to make masks optional on its flights following the April 18 decision. The carrier reminds its passengers that masks continue to be mandatory on flights to and from Canada.
- American airlines: Masks are optional. American said last month that “face masks will no longer be required for our customers and team members at US airports and on domestic flights.” American reminded travelers that face masks may still be required based on local ordinances (such as at airports where masking is required indoors) or when traveling to or from international destinations that require masking on airplanes. .
- Delta Airlines: Masks are optional. “Delta employees and customers may continue to wear masks if they wish,” Delta advised customers.
- JetBlue: Masks are optional.
- South West Airlines: Masks are optional. Southwest advises travelers that although federal law no longer requires the wearing of masks at the airport or on the plane, “you are still welcome to wear a mask while traveling if you prefer – if you need one at airport or on board, we will prepare them.The carrier also reminds its passengers that if certain cities or states require masks at airports, travelers will need to follow the rules of the local jurisdiction.
- United Airlines: Masks are optional. United Airlines said: “While this means our employees are no longer required to wear a mask – and no longer have to enforce a mask requirement for most travelers – they will be able to wear masks if they choose to. do, as the CDC continues to strongly recommend wearing a mask on public transportation.
Even though masks are no longer required on domestic flights, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) earlier this month reiterated its recommendation that everyone aged two and over wear a properly fitted mask on public transport and in transportation hubs, including airplanes and airports.
“When people wear a properly fitted mask or respirator correctly, they protect themselves and those around them, and help make travel and public transportation safer for everyone,” the CDC said.
Which European airlines require masks?
As mentioned above, while some European countries have dropped their mask mandates for public transport, Austria, Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain still have mask requirements in place. Masks remain mandatory on flights to and from these countries even though the carrier no longer requires masks on other flights.
- Aer Lingus: Masks are optional on flights within Ireland and to and from the United Kingdom, the United States and certain countries in Europe, including France and Greece. Masks are still compulsory on flights between Ireland and Austria, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Turkey.
- Air France: Masks are recommended (not mandatory) for passengers aged 6 and over and may be required depending on the country of departure or destination.
- British Airways: The UK carrier is no longer requiring masks with the exception of flights to or from a destination where masking is still mandatory – on these routes British Airways will continue to require masking on board.
- Finnair: Masks are optional unless required by the country of origin or destination.
- Iberia: The Spanish carrier still requires masks on board.
- Icelandair: As of May 17, face masks are only mandatory on Icelandair flights to and from Canada, Germany and Italy, but are optional on all other Icelandair flights to and from Europe, Greenland and the USA
- KLM: Effective May 21 masks are no longer required on most KLM flights. “However, we recommend that you wear a mask during your flight”, specifies the Dutch airline.
- Lufthansa: The German carrier is still requiring masks for all passengers aged 6 and over.
- SAS: The Scandinavian airline no longer requires masks on board, except for flights to and from China.
- TAP AirPortugal: Masks are mandatory for all passengers over 6 years old.
- Virgin Atlantic: Masks are optional on all flights to and from destinations that do not have a mask mandate in place, including between the US and UK
Mask requirements on other international carriers
- Aeromexico: Masks are still mandatory on Aeromexico flights.
- Air Canada: national carrier of Canada still requires face masks for all travelers aged 6 and over. (Children over 2 but under 6 who cannot tolerate wearing a mask are exempt.)
- Air New Zealand: Face masks are mandatory on all Air New Zealand flights.
- ANA: The Japanese carrier keep demanding masks.
- Emirates: Masks are mandatory at Dubai International Airport and on all Emirates flights.
- LATAM: The airline of Latin America requires all passengers ages 12 and older wear a mask.
- Qantas: Australia’s national carrier continues to require face masks on board.
- Airlines to Singapore: According to the Asian carrier, “All passengers 6 years and older must wear a face mask during the flight, except while eating or drinking.
- Turkish Airlines: Masks are still mandatory on Turkish Airlines flights.
As with flights, the same goes for airports around the world: the rules change depending on the destination. Travelers should ensure they are up to date on masking regulations for the destination(s) they are traveling to. View detailed information from the US State Department Travel Information COVID-19 and country-specific noticeswhich are updated regularly and include information on mask policies.
>> Next: Is flying safe without a mask in place?