Now that the face mask mandate has been extended through January 2022 by the federal government, a new wrinkle.
It’s no longer a question of wearing a face mask on some airlines, but the right face mask.
Turns out, some airlines are banning fabric face masks.
Finnair became the latest to do just that, tweeting its new policy out earlier this week:
“Starting 16 August, we will no longer accept fabric masks on our flights. We accept surgical masks, FFP2 or FFP3 respirator masks without a valve or other valve free masks with the same standard (N95). Please remember you need to wear a mask throughout the entire journey.”
Cloth masks became popular when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in the spring of last year, many made individually with colorful designs, even more made by companies looking to cash in with messages.
From a medical standpoint, however, they might not be as protective as other masks.
According to the aviation blog The Points Guy, so far it’s mostly been international airlines that have banned fabric masks.
Since Feb. 1, German national carrier Lufthansa has required passengers and crew to wear medical masks on all flights to and from Germany – either a surgical mask or an FFP2 mask or mask with the KN95/N95 standard.
Swissair also requires a non-fabric mask.
“The obligation to wear a mouth-nose cover applies to all passengers (also vaccinated and recovered) and staff on board,” Swiss currently notes on its website. “On all flights facemasks of the FFP2, KN95, or N95 standard, as well as surgical masks, are obligatory when boarding, onboard, and when leaving the aircraft.”
Surgical masks are also compulsory on Air France and Croatia Airlines.