Following airlines have introduced or will introduce the mandatory wearing of a face mask for employees and passengers. (last update May, 14)
Masks don't need to be medical masks, they need to cover the nose and mouth area, and remain on during travel. Some airlines provide masks at the airport if you don't have one.
In particular, you have to wear the mask to areas where the recommended social distancing of two meters (or six feet) would not be possible. Club areas, boarding gate areas, jet bridges…
We will update this list when it becomes mandatory to wear face masks with other airlines too.
- Aerolineas Argentinas
- Air Astana, from May 1
- Air Canada, April 20
- Air France, May 11
- Alaska Airlines, May 11
- Alitalia, May 7
- American Airlines, May 11
- Brussels Airlines, May 4
- Cathay Pacific, May 15
- Croatia Airlines, May 5
- Czech Airlines
- Delta Air Lines, May 4
- Emirates, April 21
- Eurowings, May 4
- Frontier, May 8
- Germanwings, May 4
- Hawaiian Airlines, May 8
- Japan Airlines, May 8
- JetBlue, May 4
- Korean Air
- KLM, May 11
- LATAM, May 11
- Lufthansa, May 4
- Malaysia Airlines, April 23
- SAS, May 18
- Singapore Airlines, May 11
- Southwest Airlines, May 11
- Spirit Airlines, May 11
- SunExpress, May 4
- Swiss Airlines, May 4
- Swoop, April 20
- United Airlines, May 4
- WestJet, April 20
- Wizzair, May 1
Could a virus be spread through the airplane filtration system?
Most airplanes (except for some smaller or much older aircraft) are equipped with HEPA filtration systems. Air exchange on an airplane is quite frequent, around 15 to 30 times per hour.
The ratio of fresh to recycled air in a plane is 50-50 percent, two things happen with recirculated air. Some air is dumped overboard while the remainder is pumped through HEPA air filters. This filtration removes more than 99% of all particles in the air, including biological material.
So you won't get COVID-19 through the filtration system.
That being said, the risk on airplanes is probably lower than on trains or buses which are not equipped with such systems…
What else can you expect during your flight or at the airport?
Between flights, airlines adopt a deeper aircraft cleaning procedure, such as wiping tray tables and overhead bin handles and spraying cabins with disinfectant.
Some airlines are blocking middle seats, so that it needs to stay empty for social distancing.
Airlines are reducing options for food and beverage, and some even suspend all in-flight snack and drink service.
Don't expect to get inflight magazines or hot towel service.
On many airports, lounges are closed and at the boarding gate you're likely to scan your own boarding.
During the boarding process most airlines will board passengers in smaller groups, likely they start with those seated in the back.
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