Growing List Of International Airlines Requiring Surgical Masks To Board Flights

August 22, 2021

Forget those masks that coordinate with your outfit.  It’s looking like travel – at least by air – will start requiring much more protection and much less style.

Just when many people were starting to embrace fabric masks as a necessary evil that could also be a fashion accessory, a growing list of airlines are banning fabric masks in favour of the higher-rated, but much less stylish, surgical masks.

Many European air carriers are changing their policies on which masks are approved for flying on their aircraft.  Germany and France both recommend that citizens wear medical-grade, FFP, or N95 masks on all forms of public transport based on several studies. This is because these masks have a tight weave and a gap-free fit that filters out most particles.

Finnair has become the latest airline that requires surgical masks, announcing that passengers would no longer be allowed to board wearing fabric masks.

“We accept surgical masks, FFP2 or FFP3 respirator masks without a valve or other valve free masks with the same standard (N95),” a statement by the airline clarified. “Please note that we do not accept masks made of fabric, face shields, masks with a valve or scarves used as a mask, as they allow air to escape and do not provide comparable protection. Kids under 7 years old don’t need to wear a mask. 

Other international airlines that have surgical mask policies include Air France, Swissair, Croatia Airlines, Germany’s Lufthansa and currently the only other non-European carrier, Chile’s LATAM Airlines.

Passengers are also expected to bring their own surgical masks when travelling on these airlines.

Make sure you check with your Uniglobe Travel Advisor on all requirements when flying internationally - including what mask you need to wear!