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Do you need to wear a face mask when travelling by plane? — EU face mask plane policies

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

With countries reopening and airlines back in business, it’s finally time to start planning your next trip abroad. Here’s everything you need to know about wearing face masks at airports and onboard your flight, including face mask policy details and exemptions for the main airlines throughout Europe.

If you have a flight booked and are wondering if you need to wear a face mask, this is for you!

Key Facts: Face Mask Essentials for European Air Travel

1. Most passengers will need to wear a face mask when travelling by plane

All of the main airlines in Europe, including easyJet, Ryanair, Wizz Air, TUI, Jet2 and British Airways, obligate passengers to wear face masks on their flights. Face masks may only be removed temporarily while eating, drinking or taking medication. Cabin crew must also wear face masks.

2. Travellers who have been fully vaccinated also need to wear masks

Even if you have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, you will still need to wear a face mask when travelling by plane.

3. Face masks must also be worn at airports

It is mandatory for travellers to wear face masks at all European airports, regardless of the country’s local face mask laws.

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4. There are exemptions for children

With the majority of airlines, passengers under the age of six do not need to wear a face mask while travelling by plane (or at airports). However, children under the age of eleven flying with British Airways or Virgin Atlantic are not required to wear face masks, unless travelling to or from the US, where only children under the age of two are exempt.

5. Travellers with medical conditions do not need to wear a mask

Exemptions are also in place for passengers who cannot wear a face mask due to medical conditions, though proof of exemption is required. In most cases, a downloaded government exemption card, medical certificate or doctor's letter will suffice. However, this varies from airline to airline.

For example, Wizz Air instructs passengers to download their own medical certificate, which must be issued and signed by a doctor and submitted alongside proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 48 hours of the outbound and inbound flights’ scheduled departure time. Wizz Air also requires exempt passengers to contact their Special Assistance Call Centre at least 48 hours in advance of their flight and present themselves at check-in desks at least two hours prior to departure to present their documents for inspection.

Jet2 requests exempt passengers to contact their Special Assistance team on 0800 408 5591 to provide proof of exemption in advance.

With this in mind, it is advisable to check what sort of proof the airline you are flying with will accept.

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6. Not all types of face masks are permitted

Face visors and makeshift masks made from scarves, balaclavas or other such items are not permitted by any airlines. Some airlines, such as Finnair, Lufthansa and Air France, also do not allow fabric/cloth masks or masks with air vents, holes or exhaust valves. Single-use surgical-grade FFP1 masks are universally accepted, and therefore recommended for the majority of travellers.

Visit the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EUASA) website for more advice on when to wear your face mask while travelling by air.

If your flight is cancelled or delayed, be sure to exercise your passenger rights and claim a flight compensation or flight refund with We operate on a ‘no win, no fee’ policy, meaning you don’t have to pay us anything if you don’t receive the money from the airline.

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