The 13 European countries that still require masks on flights despite EU dropping rules

May 17, 2022

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

One day since the European Union scrapped facemask rules on planes and in airports across the continent, a host of countries continue to enforce them.

In a joint statement released last week, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said removing the mandate would ease pressure on an industry clambering back to its feet after a crippling pandemic.

For more news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for TPG daily newsletter.

“For passengers and aircrew, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel,” they said.

However, a number of European nations still regard the move as hasty, choosing to ignore the new guidance and continue to enforce their own mask mandates on flights in and out of their airports.

And they include some of Europe’s most popular holiday hotspots.

Which countries continue to hold firm on mask rules?

According to the BBC, they are:

  • Austria
  • Cyprus
  • Estonia
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • the Netherlands
  • Portugal
  • Spain

Conspicuous by its absence on that list of course is France, one of the few main summer holiday destinations to have lifted mask mandates on planes, trains and buses in light of the EU’s announcement.

Last week, Minister of Social Affairs and Health Oliver Veran announced the move on Twitter.

“The health situation, which is constantly improving, allows us to lift the obligation to wear a mask in all transport, from Monday. However, it remains recommended, especially for fragile people,” he wrote.

On April 28, Irish authorities decided that they would no longer require passengers to wear face masks while travelling by international airlines so long as their countries of origin had waived such a requirement.

However, the reluctance by many of the EU’s 27 member states to fall in line with EU guidance reflects a wider mood across the continent that COVID-19 is not gone yet.

Related: Facemasks will no longer be mandatory on EU flights from next week

In Italy, passengers are required to keep wearing the more protective FFP2 mask on public transport until 15 June.

And last week, Spanish health minister Carolina Darias stood firm in the country’s COVID-19 protection policy. “We have recently adopted measures, hand in hand with prudence and always with the unanimity of the experts and, in this case, the Interterritorial Health Council,” she said. “Therefore, in our regulations, it is not compulsory to wear a mask either on platforms or at airports, but it is on public transport and also on flights.”

The dominoes do appear to be falling, however. In Germany, for example, Transport Minister Volker Wissing suggested he was in favour of lifting the requirement for people to wear masks on buses, trains and trams. “We should proceed uniformly throughout Europe and abolish compulsory masks, especially in air travel,” he said. “I see the same need for adjustment for compulsory masks in buses and trains (in Germany).”

A number of airlines have also removed the requirement to wear masks in mid-air, so long as the countries at either end of a flight allow it. They include easyJet, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Jet2.

Related: Will you get compensation if you’re stopped from boarding with a valid passport? It’s complicated

As for the EASA and ECDC, they were keen to remind passengers to respect the personal choice of anyone wishing to continue wearing a mask.

“Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them,” they said.

Vulnerable passengers, however, are advised to continue to wear facemasks in spite of rule changes, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 mask, which provides a superior level of protection to a surgical or cloth mask.

Featured image by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.