a man wearing a mask on a plane

There’s an ever heated debate right now in the world as to wearing masks, also known as face coverings.

Masks keep droplets out of the air, which help prevent the spread of covid-19, but many don’t like wearing them, and some claim that since they’re not 100 percent effective, they don’t see the point. Some would say look no further than the invention of pants to illustrate the effectiveness in limiting the spread of liquids, versus those without pants on.

In the United States, many travelers also cite “freedom” as a reason for not having to abide by airline face covering requirements, which are not constitutional law. With all that said, freedom or not, not wearing one could land passengers on no fly lists, which illustrates just how seriously airlines are taking it all, in hopes of a return to safety, and with safety, travelers. It won’t be easy to get banned, but it’s now possible…

united-airlines-tailAirline No Fly Lists For Face Covering Non Compliance

Some, but not all airlines are requiring face coverings to be worn on a mandatory basis, and an even fewer number are actually providing care kits to all passengers, which come complete with masks, hand sanitizer and wipes to help control safety of all surfaces. It’s a heated topic among many flyers, but to most, masks seem like the least we as humanity can do to attempt any effort to keep each other safe.

Airlines that aren’t requiring masks somehow see a distinction in making people wear seat belts, or turn off their mobile phones, but not with this element of temporary public safety measures. In the United States however, masks are now required on nearly all airlines.

Airlines For America, the lobbying group representing most major US airlines now states that all A4A airlines including American, Alaska, Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest and United…

“will be vigorously enforcing face covering policies, putting rigor around rules requiring passengers and customer-facing employees to wear facial coverings over their nose and mouth. This is one critical element of the multiple layers that A4A carriers are implementing to mitigate risk and protect passengers and crew.”

The press release prompted some great digging from reporters, including Brian Sumers, who found that despite both American and United stating customers who do not comply would be put on “no fly” lists, and temporarily banned from the airline, customers would have to work hard to earn the distinction.

Traveling With A Mask

I traveled out of necessity during the covid-19 pandemic, taking four flights including two within Europe and two between the United States and Europe, and masks felt like the only major comfort for weary travelers, knowing things were less likely to end up in the air. Until more is known, and infections drop, every little helps.

A common misconception about masks is that they’re actually equally about keeping your stuff out of the air, as others stuff heading your way. If everyone wears them, the chances of each others stuff getting mixed is lower, particularly if airlines adhere to strict new cleaning protocols.

Masks are said to only be effective for four hours of wear at a time, so carrying multiple masks is essential if facing connections or flights of longer durations. Until a vaccine or lower rates of infection are realized, masks will be a part of the flying experience, but I can say whole heartedly that you get used to them rather quickly…


Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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1 Comment

  1. A passenger in a cabin in my humble opinion has the same status as terrorist with a loaded gun: the potential for causing death cannot be understated. In addition, a maskless passenger exhibit a public disregard for the health and safety of others. Finally, there is no substantive difference between a mask and a seatbelt.

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