With the U.S. mask mandate no longer in force, many foreign carriers have dropped masking requirements for U.S. flags. Two large flag carriers, however, will still require masks…for now.
All U.S. airlines have dropped masking requirements, except on flights to destinations in which masks are required. That includes France and Germany.
Indeed, Air France and Lufthansa will continue to require masks for all passengers onboard flights, citing local regulations. Masks are also required on other Lufthansa group carriers including Austrian and Brussels Airlines, but no longer on LOT Polish.
Gulf carriers are still officially requiring masks, though Qatar Airways is reportedly no longer enforcing the mask mandate in business class on flights equipped with Qsuites.
Masks are still necessary when traveling on:
Meanwhile, many foreign carriers have dropped mask requirements to the USA.
Masks are no longer necessary when traveling on:
These lists may rapidly change, particularly those carriers which continue to make wearing masks obligatory, but for now transatlantic carriers are rather evenly split when it comes to whether masks are required or not.
Just because masks are not required does not mean you cannot wear them. I flew via Frankfurt last week and found that about 70% of passengers voluntarily chose to wear masks (down from the 95% then Ben from One Mile At A Time reported a week earlier).
Many flights attendants and other airline staff are just figuring the new and relaxed regulations, so do exercise some patience if you are are given conflicting info or encounter an airline employee who might not be aware of masking regulators which have just changed.
As of now, European carriers are split when it comes to mandatory masking onboard. Officially at least, masks are still required on the three major Gulf carriers. I tend to think most, if not all, will move to voluntary masking in the days ahead, but if you can now choose accordingly based upon your preference.
Will you go out of your way to choose a carrier based upon its mask policy?
image: Turkish Airlines
Matthew is an avid traveler who calls Los Angeles home. Each year he travels more than 200,000 miles by air and has visited more than 135 countries. Working both in the aviation industry and as a travel consultant, Matthew has been featured in major media outlets around the world and uses his Live and Let’s Fly blog to share the latest news in the airline industry, commentary on frequent flyer programs, and detailed reports of his worldwide travel.
I hate to be “that guy” but Finnair is in both of your lists. Could you clarify which one it’s supposed to be in?
Finnair is dropping mask requirement on Monday. We are flying out on Sunday afternoon when it’s already Monday in Europe so let’s see how strict they want to be 😉
What about Middle eastern carriers? Thanks!
Those are the Gulf carriers to which Matthew refers.
No masks, but burkas are required.
@Sam I just flew a string of flights on Etihad and Emirates and if you are in a premium cabin it’s not at all being enforced. Once you are settled into your seat barely anyone was wearing them for entire long haul flights.
Is Swiss still requiring masks for US flights?
Qatar has had a lax policy toward masks in QSuites since at least last March. Pretty much when you are in your seat, you are free not to wear a mask. IME, this also applies in non QSuites business class, but YMMV.
yup..flew Qsuites last May – no masks, only takeoff and landing.
I’m very curious to see how policy in Latin America changes. There’s a lot of traffic between the US and Mexico, and I don’t see Aeromexico mentioned on either list. I’d also be interested to hear about Copa, Latam, and Avianca. Latin America has seemed to not really have a lot of restrictions on businesses or at the border during Covid, but mask wearing and hand sanitizing has seemed more pervasive than the US and Europe, so I’m curious what approach they’ll be taking here.
don’t forget the sanitizing mats! That’s big in Mexico!
FYI Emirates enforced them at pre departure, but enforcement by FAs were pretty lax in the air. JFK-DXB round trip
Great at parties.
Truly, madly, deeply, I do.
If I were to fly internationally I would definitely chose an airline that does not require a mask. I rather make my own choice vs being forced. I only fly international business class so don’t see the need for masks in that case. As I mentioned before, masks were never required during meals (no, the mask on mask, off during bites and sips was never enforced) so had two long meals on same flight with nobody wearing a mask on the entire plane.
Absolutely concur. The whole thing is based on political coercion than scientific sense. I too will only travel using those carriers that do not enforce such absurd, baseless, and draconian measures.
Don’t forget Canadian carriers and airports require masks. ArriveCan is also still required within 72 hours of entering Canada.
Flew LH from FRA to SF last week. While staff was wearing N95s the entire time, they did not enforce anything. I kept mine initially loosely over the chin and removed it entirely after they didn’t say anything.
At FRA, agree with Matthews guesstimate of 70% wearing one but nobody enforcing anything. Walked by police/CBP officers (or their German counterparts to be accurate) multiple times without a mask and nobody said anything.
It’s not required at FRA anymore, though is onboard. I flew LH from FRA-ORD and the FA did require them in first class. However, when I flew from SFO-FRA in F in December, masks were not enforced.
I guess it’s a YMMV situation. I flew MUC-LAX last week and masks were strongly enforced (in the airport, by the Customs officers, in the Senator’s Lounge and on-board the A350). I have a great (comfortable and cool) double-layer United airplane branded mask that the crew made me swap out for a “medical grade” mask. But, MUC was much different from your experiences in FRA.
how about going to Korea but flying United Airlines?
I reckon less than half of travelers at heathrow wore masks last week. Damn I’m on Lufthansa today and tomorrow and was hoping for no masks. Does anyone know if they enforce the n95 rule?!
What about Vietnam Airlines to SFO? Also would love to see you try out Vietnam Airlines.
I would too (though I did fly the A350 a few years back)–
Happy to report directly from a Delta lounge that 95% of the people in the lounge have not been brainwashed. And I live in a very Democrat place.
Although Miles & Less is the LOT FF programme, it is not an LH group member.
Any word on Turkish Airlines? I am flying bus class May 9 and hoping I do not have to wear a mask!
Still required officially, but not strictly enforced.
It would appear that their agenda is at long last falling to pieces as it should be. A shame it was ever enacted in the first place.
This site is for entertainment purposes only. The owner of this site is not an investment advisor, financial planner, nor legal or tax professional and articles here are of an opinion and general nature and should not be relied upon for individual circumstances.
Advertiser Disclosure: Some links to credit cards and other products on this website will earn an affiliate commission. Outside of banner ads published through the Boarding Area network, this compensation does not impact how and where products appear on this site. While we do try to list all the best miles and points deals, the site does not include all card companies or credit card offers available in the marketplace. Please view our advertising policy page for additional details about our partners.
Editorial Disclosure: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any entity mentioned herein. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Join our mailing list for a daily summary of posts! We never sell your info.