Photo: Horth Rasur (Shutterstock)
Face masks have now become an indispensable travel accessory. Even in the few months that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines on indoor use of face masks were relaxed, they were always required on flights. Given a variant that is more easily transferable than the previous ones (Delta, not the airline), several airlines are placing stricter requirements on the face masks worn on their flights.
Now the last thing you need to do is show up at the airport and get rejected from your flight because you have the wrong type of mask. These rules are always changing, but here’s what we know now, courtesy of an article by Alison Fox in Travel + Leisure.
Face masks on flights will be around for a while
Earlier this week, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) extended the current federal mask mandate by January 2022. This means that face covering is required on all public transport, including airplanes and airports. And of course there is always the possibility of a further extension beyond January 2022.
Airlines that now have stricter rules on face masks
Here’s a breakdown of what we’ve heard so far from a few different airlines about mask requirements:
- Delta Airlines prohibits bandanas, scarves, masks with exhaust valves and all masks with slits, holes or holes
- United Airlines prohibits bandanas and requires wearing a real face mask – not just a face shield
- southwest prohibits bandanas, scarves, ski masks, balaclavas and single-layer masks
- American Airlines prohibits balaclavas, bandanas, exhaust valves, scarves and gaiters
- JetBlue prohibits masks connected to hoses or battery-operated filters
- Hawaiian Airlines prohibits scarves, ski masks, balaclavas and bandanas
- Finn Air bans fabric face masks and now only accepts surgical masks, valve-free FFP2 or FFP3 respirators and N95 masks
- Air France bans cloth masks and masks with exhaust valves and requires medical masks
- Lufthansa bans cloth masks and masks with exhaust valves and requires medical masks
- LATAM Airlines Bans cloth and reusable face masks on domestic flights within Chile and requires three layer surgical masks, KN95 or N95 masks. International passengers connecting in Lima must also wear face masks – even if they never get off the plane
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Regardless of the airline, at this point it is a good idea to check their masking requirements on the day of your flight to be on the safe side.