With the easing of Covid-19 restrictions across the world, travellers are asking if they still need to wear a mask on flights from the likes of easyJet, Ryanair, Jet2, BA and many others flying from the UK - and will scarves, snoods and other types of face coverings be accepted on planes when needed? Here we look at what these individual airlines say on the subject of masks.
Do passengers still need to wear a mask on planes? Find out here (Credit: Pxhere)
Heading off on holiday as the world re-opens as Covid restrictions ease, here are what top airlines flying to and from the airlines say about the need to wear a mask.
Please note - information correct at time of original publication.
Is the requirement to wear face masks on planes being scrapped on 16 May 2022?
Yes it would appear that rules forcing people to wear a mask is about to be scrapped. Wearing of face masks in airports and on European flights is "no longer recommended", the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has announced.
The change, which was announced by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and ECDC, is due to come into force on 16 May.
Airlines will be able to decide their own policies on face masks. The information below applies until 16 May 2022.
Can I use a scarf, snood, or visor as a mask on planes?
Many people like to use scarves, snoods, cloth masks or visors rather than masks, but these are not accepted by most airlines when a face covering is required. This is often down to national rules beyond their control. Additionally, masks with valves are not accepted on routes into certain countries.
Check your airline, below, to see what it says about acceptable types of masks.
Do I have to wear a mask on a plane if I'm exempt?
Airlines ill not force you to wear a mask - where one is required - if you are exempt, however, you will need to provide documentation to prove this is the case and they are allowed to demand proof. Failure to wear a mask and prove exemption could result in you not being able to board the flight.
Do children need to wear a mask?
Young children are often exempt from wearing a mask, but the minimum age can be anything from 2 years old right up to 12. Check the individual airlines for the age at which children must start wearing a mask.
The airline’s advice page states: “It is now mandatory for all passengers to wear a face mask or covering to fly with us unless you cannot do so for medical reasons in which case you must present a medical certificate confirming this.”
However, the information page also states that face masks are optional on direct flights with Aer Lingus between Manchester and the US.
Additionally, travellers flying to/from/within Austria and Italy must wear an FFP2-type face mask.
Air New Zealand
Passengers 12 years of age and older (unless exempt) are required to wear a face mask before reaching the boarding gate and on Air New Zealand flights. Passengers can wear their own face mask if it meets current health guidelines. The airline also has masks available.
Air New Zealand states an acceptable mask is one which is attached to the head by loops around the ears and/or head. Others, such as scarves, bandannas or t-shirts are not acceptable.
American Airlines states: ‘The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to recommend that people wear a face mask in indoor public transportation settings, but they aren’t required to be worn in airport settings or on your flight unless an individual jurisdiction has these requirements.’
British Airways includes a table of destinations, which shows if passengers will need to wear a mask on planes flying to them. The list is as follows and was correct at the time of writing.
|Country||Mask on board||Mask in terminal|
|Hong Kong, China||Yes||Yes|
|Israel||Yes||Yes (arrivals only)|
|Trinidad and Tobago||Yes||Yes|
|Turks and Caicos||Yes|||
|United States||No||No (except JFK)|
Cathay Pacific requires all passenger aged 2 and over to wear face masks while boarding, during the flight and when disembarking the aircraft. Passenger must supply their own mask – and these must not have valves or vents.
The need to wear a mask on easyJet planes largely depends on where you’re travelling. The following advice was gathered on 08/05/2022/
Flights to and from – and within – Italy, Austria and Germany.
Passengers who are 6 and over must wear a FFP2 mask when they are flying to, from and within covering Italy, Austria and Germany.
Flights to and from – and within Italy
Again, all passengers aged 6 and over must wear a FFP2 or surgical mask when on the plane. The airline will not accept scarves, visors, or masks with valves
What easyJet fights don’t require masks?
Flights with easyJet between England, Northern Ireland, Jersey, Isle of Man, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Scotland, Slovenia, Sweden, Gibraltar, Hungary, Switzerland, Poland and Iceland do not legally require passenger to wear masks.
All other easyJet routes
Passengers aged 6 and over must wear a suitable face mask (no scarves, face visors or masks with valves).
Passengers must wear a cloth or medical mask while boarding and throughout the flight with Emirates. Children under 6 years old and customers who have certain medical conditions will not be required to wear a face covering. Only medical face masks are accepted on flights from Dubai to Germany, France, and Austria.
It’s no longer a legal requirement to wear a face mask at airports in the UK or onboard Jet2 planes when flying to and from the UK. However, you might need to wear one when you get to your overseas destination. In such destinations where masks are required – check the latest entry rules here - coverings such as scarves, snoods, balaclavas or similar items are not permitted and medical-style masks without valves are likely to be required.
Advice from the Ryanair website states that masks must be worn: ‘You must wear a face mask / covering in the airport and on board your flight. Some countries require this to be a surgical face mask (for exemptions, see Ryanair's GTCC). If you are travelling to/from/within Italy, Austria or Germany, it must be a FFP2 face mask.’
Ryanair says there is no legal requirement to wear a mask on its flights to and from the UK. However, the airline does recommend they are worn while on board. Masks may be required when leaving the aircraft at your overseas destination, so have some handy that fit in with local requirements – i.e medical-style masks without valves.
It is, however, mandatory for all travellers aged 6 and over travelling to Italy to wear and FFP2 mask during the flight. Medical exemption certificates will be required.
Virgin states that wearing masks is a personal decision on services to or from the USA, Pakistan, Barbados, St Lucia, Antigua, Grenada, The Bahamas, Jamaica, St Vincent & The Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago and Tel Aviv.
However, for services operating to or from the UK, masks must still be worn for customers aged 12 and above until further notice on the following routes: Delhi, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Lagos, Mumbai and Shanghai.
Wizz Air says: "It is compulsory to wear a face mask during your WIZZ flight when travelling to or from a country where it is still mandated by the local law." You can check the status of your destination and Covid-related entry requirements here.
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