As COVID-19 surges worldwide, several airlines have instated policies banning fabric masks from being worn on their flights, believing that they do not provide adequate protection.
Some carriers have also opted to prohibit different types of face coverings, such as valved masks, face shields, bandanas, and balaclavas. Airlines’ policies are constantly changing, so to remain up-to-date and prepared, be sure to check an airline’s most recent updates and mask policy prior to heading to the airport.
Air France has banned both cloth and valved masks, requiring travelers to wear surgical or FFP masks, which the airline says: “Filters at least 95% of particles as small as 3 microns in size, and serves a dual purpose. It obviously filters particles emitted by the mask wearer, but according to the French National Research and Safety Institute, it also protects the person wearing the mask against droplets emitted by a person facing them.”
“Passengers are required to bring and wear medical face protective masks that fully cover nose and mouth… Face shields may not be worn as a substitute for mouth-nose covers on our flights.”
Finnair is the latest airline to ban fabric masks, joining several other European airlines.
According to the airline’s Checklist for Safe Traveling, the Finnair requires “a surgical mask, a valveless FFP2 or FFP3 mask or another kind of valveless mask following the equivalent standards (N95).”
The checklist also mentions that Finnair does not accept face shields, fabric, or valved masks, or scarves used as a mask.
Chile‘s LATAM Airlines has banned cloth and reusable face masks on all domestic flights.
“Passengers will only be allowed to board the aircraft with surgical, 3 layers or superior face masks (KN95, N95).”
The airline further elaborates that, “All passengers connecting in Lima (even if they remain inside the aircraft) must wear at all times 2 face masks.”
As of February this year, German carrier Lufthansa has required that medical grade masks be worn by both passengers and flight crew alike.
“Everyday masks are then no longer permitted,” said a press release on the airline’s website. “Passengers will be required to wear either a surgical mask or an FFP2 mask or mask with the KN95/N95 standard during boarding, the flight and when leaving the aircraft.”
Swiss International Air Lines has also been requiring surgical, FFP2, KN95, or N95 masks since February 1, banning fabric masks as well as masks with valves.
According to the airline’s website, “The obligation to wear a mouth-nose cover applies to all passengers (also vaccinated and recovered) and staff on board…facemasks of the FFP2, KN95, or N95 standard, as well as surgical masks, are obligatory when boarding, onboard, and when leaving the aircraft.”