KLM plans to stop monitoring face masks this week – despite Dutch government rules

Mar 21, 2022

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KLM plans to stop monitoring and enforcing facemasks on passengers later this week.

The Netherlands flag carrier is keen to drop onboard face mask requirements for passengers, putting KLM Royal Dutch Airlines on a potential collision course with strict Government policy which still currently requires mandatory face masks for air travel. The company has also been joined in its contestation of the regulations by Transavia, Corendon and the Dutch subsidiary of TUI Airways.

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The move comes as Dutch authorities are set to scrap the requirement of face masks on all public transport this week on the 23 March – except, that is, for all airports and flights.

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

“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.

(Photo by Liam McManus/Flickr)

“The sector finds this approach inappropriate, given the phase the pandemic is in,” they added. “It is also at odds with European and international developments that we monitor closely. Because the explainability and proportionality continue to decline, we see an increase in misunderstanding among our passengers and a growing number and also more serious incidents with ‘unruly’ passengers, which may negatively affect the safety of a flight.”

Related: Jet2 becomes first airline to scrap face masks on flights

“We plan to no longer monitor this from March 23. Instead, we will strongly recommend that our passengers wear a face mask on board in line with EASA and ICAO guidelines.” The airline added that they are currently in consultation with the Dutch Government’s stance on face masks and the airline’s potential boycott of government guidance.

It reflects a wider move among both major airports and airlines of late to try and resume normal service where passengers are given the choice of wearing a face-covering rather than it being a requirement.

Related: 14 of the best car-free destinations for your next holiday

Over on these shores, for instance, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic announced last week they would be dropping mandatory mask rules. Though, in the case of BA, their rollout announcement may have been somewhat premature and wrought with logistical and communication issues as TPG UK’s managing editor Jordan Waller discovered when he attempted to board one of the first ‘maskless’ flights last week. 

Meanwhile, both Jet2 and Tui have dropped their own face mask rules on certain U.K. flights with Ryanair hinting that they will also follow suit very soon.

(Photo by serts/Getty)

KLM has already stated that its loosening of mask rules won’t apply for all routes worldwide.

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

At the peak of the pandemic, the Netherlands suffered major losses in tourism, relying heavily on European tourists as travellers from the United States and Asian countries decreased by 83%. You can be sure, however, they achieve it, KLM are planning to make up for lost time by making travelling more appealing to those still wary of face mask requirements.

Featured image by Getty Images.

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