Some of the largest European airlines, such as Lufthansa, Air France, and Finnair, have banned cloth face masks on their flights stating that they do not provide adequate protection for the passengers.
According to a statement released by Lufthansa, fabric face masks, masks with valves, handkerchiefs, and scarves are not permitted onboard or in lounges. Additionally, the airline has noted that the mask should be kept on during the entire flight, in shops, and in transport forms used within airports, regardless of the passengers’ vaccination status.
“It is compulsory to wear a medical face mask throughout your journey with Lufthansa, from boarding and during your time onboard to disembarking the aircraft. Like our crews, please wear your mask throughout your entire stay on board on flights to and from Germany,” said Lufthansa’s statement.
The same airline has emphasised that in line with the German federal and state legislation, passengers are required to wear medical face masks that are worn in everyday medical practice, also known as surgical masks. Additionally, FFP2, N95, and KN95 masks are also permitted.
However, Lufthansa has pointed out that those who cannot wear a mask due to health-related issues are exempted from the rule, provided that they have a negative PCR test result taken within 48 hours and a signed doctor’s form indicating their condition.
AirFrance has also announced that all passengers, including children aged 11 and above need to wear a surgical mask from the moment of their arrival at the airport and during the entire flight. It has been highlighted that those not wearing a surgical mask will be denied boarding.
Except for the surgical masks, the other masks that have been authorised for use by AirFrance while in airports and during the flight are FFP1, FFP2, or FFP3 types that do not contain a valve.
“For the health and safety of all, the wearing of a surgical mask is mandatory from the moment you arrive at the airport and throughout your Air France flight,” AirFrance noted.
Similarly, Finnair announced back in August that fabric masks will no longer be allowed in their flights. The company said that since fabric masks are not efficient in protecting passengers from being exposed to the COVID-19 infection, they should be substituted with other forms.
Consequently, the airline emphasised that since August 16, they would only accept surgical masks, FFP2, and FFP3 masks that do not contain a valve or other valve-free masks that meet the same standard (N95).
Just like the other two companies, Finnair requires that passengers keep their masks on at all times, emphasising that the mask should cover both their nose and mouth. Passengers are only allowed to remove the mask for a limited time when they are consuming drinks or foods.