Finnair is waving goodbye to face mask requirements on select flights

Apr 21, 2022

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As COVID-19 travel measures continue to ease globally, Finnair is about to become the latest airline to lift the requirement for face mask use on select flights.

As of next Monday (25 April), passengers and crew on the Finnish carrier will no longer be required to wear a facemask on board unless it is required by the authorities of the country the plane is bound for.

Anyone hoping to keep wearing a mask when travelling can continue to do so.

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

“The aircraft is regarded as a low-risk environment for coronavirus transmission, thanks to the effective air conditioning and other factors reducing the risk of transmission,” said  Kimmo Ketola, Finnair’s Medical Director of the announcement.

Finnair had previously deemed face mask use a requirement onboard its fleet (Image courtesy of Finnair)

“However, if you want to have additional protection for personal reasons,” he added, “you can always wear an FFP2 or FFP3 mask, both of which offer excellent protection against viruses, even if others on board are not wearing masks.”

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

Last month, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic followed Jet2 and Tui in making masks an option rather than an obligation on some routes. Many others, including EasyJet and KLM soon followed suit, putting the onus on the passenger as to whether wearing a face mask is necessary prior to, during and even disembarking a flight.

Earlier this week, airline operators across America were also allowed to make their own decisions about mask requirements. A ruling by US District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle now means the likes of Delta can give passengers a choice. 10 of major airline bosses Stateside had previously urged President Joe Biden to drop face mask laws on airlines, even penning a joint letter to the commander-in-chief who is believed to remain sceptical.

“Face masks will no longer be required for our customers and team members at U.S. airports and on domestic flights,” beamed American Airlines. “In keeping with our commitment to creating a welcoming environment for everyone who travels with us, customers and team members may choose to continue to wear masks at their own discretion.”

Related: Do I have to wear a mask on British Airways or Virgin Atlantic flights to and from the United States?

Far from affecting just domestic travellers, it also means air passengers flying from the U.K. to America onboard services such as Virgin Atlantic, will no longer be required to cover their nose and mouth during the trip.

In the case of Finnair, it comes as they also announced an expanded winter line-up that will serve 77 destinations, including 62 in Europe alone. Close to home, the Finnish carrier will serve London Heathrow (LHR) four times a day from Helsinki (HEL), Manchester (MAN) twice a day and Dublin (DUB) nine times weekly.

Finnair A330 (Image courtesy of Finnair)

Elsewhere, Finnair will fly to 10 Asian cities, including Delhi, Singapore, Seoul and Tokyo Narita, and five US destinations, which will feature daily flights from Helsinki to New York (JFK), as well as regular slots to Los Angeles (LAX) and Miami (MIA), Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) and Chicago (ORD)

Japan is certainly one destination where you’ll definitely be needing a face mask — along with a cast-iron reason to be there. Still home to some of the world’s toughest travel restrictions, visiting Japanese shores for the purposes of tourism is still banned indefinitely, with only business travellers and international students permitted.

Related: Japan lifts travel ban on 106 countries — but don’t pack your suitcase just yet

Bad luck for any business types or international students hoping to use Finnair to reach Tokyo-Haneda (HND), Nagoya (NGO), Osaka (ITM) and Sapporo (CTS), however, as these services remain suspended for the rest of the year due to the closure of Russian airspace.

As ever, do remain vigilant when you travel, ensuring to check GOV.UK as well as local websites to keep up to date on the latest COVID-19 figures and laws depending on where it is you’re hoping to reach. Finnair is also asking passengers to visit its website to see if their destinations require mandatory face mask use onboard flights.

Featured image courtesy of Finnair.

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