EasyJet becomes latest airline to ditch masks on certain flights

Mar 22, 2022

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EasyJet has become the latest airline to ditch masks on certain flights.

From 27 March, easyJet passengers travelling to countries where it is not a legal requirement to wear face coverings in public places can fly barefaced for the first time since July 2020, the company announced today. 

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“Following the removal of mandatory mask-wearing in a number of countries, we have reviewed our mask policy onboard and have taken the decision that, from 27 March 2022, on flights where masks are no longer legally required at both ends of the route, we will not mandate customers and crew to wear masks onboard the flight,” said a company statement. 

It added that customers or crew who wish to continue wearing a mask will “have their personal choice respected”.

It said the new rules will apply to all domestic U.K. routes, except to or from Scotland, as well as to Jersey, Hungary, Denmark, Gibraltar and Iceland. 

Related: We boarded one of BA’s first ‘maskless’ flights, and it really didn’t go to plan

“We aim to progressively remove the requirement on other international routes as and when both ends of the route has no legal requirement,” the statement added.

The decision joins a domino effect of airlines dropping their mask-wearing mandates as the vaccine rollout gains momentum and global Covid-19 restrictions lift. 

Others include Jet2, Tui, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and KLM, who have all made announcements in recent weeks. 

It also heaps pressure on archrival Ryanair, on whose flights masks are still a mandatory requirement. Earlier this month, the Irish carrier’s CEO Michael O’Leary’s said he hoped to ditch masks on his flights in April or May. It remains to be seen how Ryanair will respond to this latest development.

Related: As airlines start easing face mask rules, is air travel COVID-safe? We asked the experts

The road to maskless flight is proving bumpy for some airlines, however.

British Airways, for example, sparked confusion over the weekend after announcing they would lift its mask mandate on certain routes on the 16 March, along with Virgin Atlantic. Heathrow Airport also lifted its own face-covering rules on the same day.

In BA’s case, the carrier appeared to have had an internal breakdown in communication leaving both staff and passengers confused about whether masks should be worn on certain flights, or whether they were optional.

Heathrow announcement board displaying wrong mask rules on 17 March. (Photo by Jordan Waller / The Points Guy UK)

Meanwhile in Heathrow, announcement boards were incorrectly still telling travellers that face masks were a mandatory requirement.

“No, they’re now optional,” a Heathrow staff member told our managing editor Jordan Waller at the airport, confirming the announcement earlier in the week. “They just haven’t updated the boards yet.”

Then yesterday, Dutch carrier KLM announced plans to stop enforcing mask-wearing rules on its flights, in direct contravention of its own government’s policy, which still requires mandatory face masks for air travel.

“We find it disappointing that the use of face masks during boarding and during the entire flight is still being considered by the Dutch government, while this has been abandoned everywhere in the Netherlands,” a KLM spokesperson told TPG UK.

As for easyJet, the company urged European governments to “have a coordinated approach on the removal of the requirement where possible, to make it easy and clear for customers.”

“We will aim to provide clear information to customers, including while onboard, detailing the specific mask requirements on their flight,” it added.

Featured image by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

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