Several airlines now ban fabric face coverings during flights


Some airlines are changing their policies on what constitutes an acceptable face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on their flights.

Finland’s largest airline, Finnair, recently announced that passengers will no longer be allowed to wear cloth masks on flights. Because “cloth masks are slightly less effective in protecting people against infection than surgical masks”, the airline now accepts only “surgical masks, FFP2 or FFP3 breathing masks without a valve, or others. masks without valve with the same standard (N95). “

The Finnish air carrier is not alone in making this distinction. Air France prohibits passengers from wearing a fabric mask or a mask with an exhaust valve; Deutsche Lufthansa AG, the German airline better known as Lufthansa, has announced that cloth and face masks, valve masks, as well as scarves and handkerchiefs are not allowed on board or in the lounges.

In the United States, airlines typically allow passengers to wear cloth face masks – but not face coverings like gaiters and bandanas. Read on to find out what some domestic airlines are now prohibiting passengers from wearing to comply with the TSA’s mask warrant.

National airline policies

American Airlines

American allows passengers to wear “a secure 2-layer mask or fabric that completely covers your nose and mouth and fits snugly against the sides of your face and under your chin.” That said, the airline prohibits passengers from wearing face shields without a mask, as well as balaclavas, bandanas, face covers with exhaust valves or vents, mesh or lace face covers, gaiters, etc. scarves and ski masks.

Delta Airlines

Delta allows passengers to wear “fabric masks with a tightly woven fabric and even fabric masks with a clear plastic window.” However, the airline forbids any mask with an exhaust valve; masks with slits, perforations or holes; and bandanas, scarves, ski masks and balaclavas.

Frontier airlines

Frontier explains that passengers must wear a face cover that “fits snugly over the nose and mouth and is secured under the chin.” Passengers cannot wear open chin triangular bandanas; face covers with vents, valves or mesh material; and face shields alone.


JetBlue allows passengers to wear a plastic face shield when worn in addition to a face shield, but not in place of one. The airline does not allow passengers to use personal face / body tents or capsules, personal air purifiers / air fresheners or ozone generators, or masks connected to tubes or to battery filters.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest explains that clear masks or fabric masks with a clear plastic panel are allowed, as are medical masks and N95 respirators.

However, its long list of unauthorized face covers includes masks that aren’t made of a solid material, including those with slits, exhalation valves, or punctures. Passengers also cannot wear bandanas, scarves, ski masks or balaclavas as face coverings. They also can’t just pull a shirt or sweater collar over their mouth and nose.

Spirit Airlines

Spirit explains that passengers should wear a face cover with at least two layers of tight-fitting fabric, covering the nose and mouth and secured under the chin. What Spirit does not allow passengers to wear are open chin triangular bandanas, face covers containing valves or mesh, and face shields when worn alone.

United Airlines

United explain that passengers are required to wear a face mask – with no vents or openings – that fully covers their nose and mouth. United go on to explain that a face shield alone does not count as a face cover and that bandanas worn as face coverings are also not allowed.

Know before you go

Face masks have been required for travelers on planes for most of this year. In the United States, they will be required until early 2022.

The Transportation Security Administration’s mask mandate, based on CDC guidelines, was first released in January. This mandate required travelers to wear face masks on planes, ships, trains, subways, buses, taxis and carpools, as well as when in transport hubs, such as airports, bus or ferry stations, train and metro stations, and seaports.

This original mandate was due to expire on May 11. In April, due to the growing number of COVID-19 cases, the order was extended until September 13. The new extension will expire on January 18, 2022.

Penalties for warrant violation start at $ 250 and go up to $ 1,500 for repeat offenders.

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