The largest expert travel community:
  • 772,723 Total members
  • 6,329 Users online now
  • 1,726,701 Threads
  • 31,805,795 Posts

Masks May Become Mandatory For Future Travelers

Masks May Become Mandatory For Future Travelers
Jackie Reddy

There have been lots of questions and concerns over the efficacy of face masks in helping to curb the coronavirus pandemic. However, as The Independent reports, for airlines and the wider aviation industry, the use of face masks is being seen as a confidence booster, something that could ease wary passengers back into the skies and revive a flagging sector.

Comfort And Confidence

The industry fears that many prospective passengers will be deterred from travelling if they believe flying places them at risk of contracting the virus from fellow travelers. The hope is that the universal use of face coverings will restore confidence,” explains the outlet.

It adds that, while appropriate social distancing in the cabin and in certain parts of the airport is currently possible due to very low passenger numbers, it’s not always easy to maintain a safe distance in some airport areas. Likewise, when passenger figures do eventually start to increase, social distancing will likely be compromised and could lead to unease among travelers.

Differing Approaches To Passenger Health

British airports are taking differing views in their approach to passenger health and facial protection. Speaking to the Guardian last week, John Holland Kaye, the CEO of London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR), supported the use of face masks among passengers.

On its website, the airport states, “We urge all passengers to follow the advice of the UK Government, which is available on their website: If you choose to wear protective clothing, please be mindful that you may be asked to remove it when going through security so that we can safely and efficiently carry out security checks as required by the government for every passenger before their flight. There are hand sanitizer locations situated before and after security which we would encourage you to use during this time.”

In the north of England, the outlet reports that Manchester Airports Group (MAG), the owner of London Stansted (STN), Manchester (MAN) and East Midlands (EMA) airports, is attempting to mitigate the spread of the virus by an array of means, including the wearing of face masks by passengers.

Speaking to the outlet about its plans to protect the health of its passengers, a spokesperson for MAG, said, “They are designed to help the small number of passengers currently making essential journeys through our airports feel safer and more confident about flying at this time. We will be providing confirmation of exact guidance for passengers, to allow them to fully prepare for their journey, before the measures are put in place.”

As the outlet reports, a number of airlines are asking their passengers to wear masks. For example, Air Canada requires that all passengers wear face coverings in the cabin, as do Spirit and Delta. According to the BBC, American and United Airlines are soon to follow suit.

But Do Masks Really Work? The Official Line

But the advice offered by major health bodies doesn’t exactly concur with the actions taken by some airports and airlines with respect of the use of face masks.

For example, Public Health England states that, “Face masks play a very important role in clinical settings, such as hospitals, but there’s very little evidence of widespread benefit from their use outside of these clinical settings.”

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “The wide use of masks by healthy people in the community setting is not supported by current evidence and carries uncertainties and critical risk,” further adding that donning a mask can give a “false sense of security, leading to potentially less adherence to other preventive measures such as physical distancing and hand hygiene.”


[Image Source: Pixnio]

View Comments (27)


  1. Irpworks

    May 4, 2020 at 9:57 pm

    Understanding why mask wearing is little more than virtue signaling.

  2. PepeBorja

    May 5, 2020 at 5:16 am

    Forcing people to wear masks is a big turn off for me. I would rather stay put and not travel at all unless 100% absolutely necessary and mostly for work.

  3. powerlifter

    May 5, 2020 at 7:18 am

    Are the airlines going to provide the mask”s? Where are they going to get them, since all mask’s are going to medical people.

  4. stimpy

    May 5, 2020 at 7:52 am

    Anyone who looks at massive densely packed cities like Hong Kong and Tokyo knows that mask usage is not only a good idea, it has saved many thousands of lives in those cities. How is it that New York CIty has over 13,000 dead and Hong Kong has 4? Tokyo has 141? The WHO is a political body that is giving out terrible advice. If we got even 80% of people to wear masks COVID would be done.

  5. dmarge18

    May 5, 2020 at 9:13 am

    I’ve found myself touching my face more often when having to wear a mask, needing to adjust it (and no, I’m not shaving my beard to wear something that has minimal benefit). Not to mention, it just funnels air (and particles) past my eyes more, somewhat defeating the purpose. It’s like the TSA…security theater to a point, but like the article says, it makes some people feel more comfortable. Unfortunately, it also makes others feel less comfortable, and I don’t even want to think about a 10 hour redeye with a mask yet. Miserable.

  6. edgewood49

    May 5, 2020 at 9:58 am

    I t think it’s a foregone conclusion that we, all of us, will be traveling differently. The question is going to be the pace at which people return to the skies. Domestically I think much quicker than international travel which will be a long slow slog. Air filtration systems in the older aircraft will need to be retro fitted or retired. Long haul travel will not look the same for quite a while

  7. kkua

    May 5, 2020 at 10:32 am

    A new public service announcement approach is needed. True, it’s not going to stop you from getting infected. But it will minimize people from spreading it. In Asia, they had the help of urban smog that makes the enforcement easier and message was understood by all.

  8. kaley1kt

    May 5, 2020 at 10:33 am

    Until planes commit to a deep cleaning and disinfecting between every flight and scattered seating this is a pretty useless mandate. Enforcement will be a nightmare, especially on longer flights. People will need to drink or eat which is impossible in a mask and sleeping on a mask is very difficult. Will they provide masks? Tackle people without a mask?

  9. jjmoore

    May 5, 2020 at 10:38 am

    The mask requirement is nothing more than an uneducated stab by the so-called “professionals” making decisions for the people. Masks do nothing but capture what is in the environment onto the surface of the material since everything we exhale is humid and creates a sticky, moist surface. Masks increase the risk for those who are not ill, and give a small advantage to those who are actually sick by preventing the distance the virus can travel, but doesn’t prevent it. A virus will pass through even an N95 mask just like water passes through a fish net.

    I will be removing my mask after takeoff, and don’t care how anyone feels about it. Facts are facts, and masks are not good, unless you are wearing a respirator with a cartridge that stops particles the size of viruses and larger.

  10. Firstboss

    May 5, 2020 at 11:41 am

    It is worth the trouble only if it this “restores confidence” in passengers.

    We need to restore global economic activity and consumer spending fast.
    Otherwise those who feel the luxury of worrying about the virus and personal safety while feeling secure in their remote home offices or behind the hopeless government debts will find themselves on the street soon after flight attendants, bartenders and waiters. If this global hysteria continues the house of cards will start crumbling

  11. jficht

    May 5, 2020 at 12:39 pm

    I agree with PepeBorga. Masks are a real downer for me and will discourage my travel. They make me tough my face even more and I am uncomfortable breathing through them, so I end up punching holes in them to breathe easier, so what’s the point?

  12. toop28

    May 5, 2020 at 1:48 pm

    I think it should be up to the individual. I, personally would not feel comfortable having a mask on for 10- 12 hrs on a flight.
    The ridiculous part is “you may remove for eating” . Oh, okay, that fixes everything.

  13. flyingtall

    May 5, 2020 at 2:07 pm

    Ooooh, Irpworks cites PratonTexas, who proceeds to make up a story based on his innate brilliance, rather than corroborated experimental evidence. Sooo convincing. My innate brilliance tells me that if the masks reduce blowout by some significant amount (of course, we don’t know what that is), it’s worth doing. In the absence of clear data, I’ll opt for erring on the side of caution rather than fashion, comfort or disgruntled whiners who feel put upon by the rest of us while they try to shame those of us willing to do something rather than nothing.

  14. sfoeuroflyer

    May 5, 2020 at 9:04 pm

    Wearing a mask is of extremely dubious merit. Indeed the experts differ on the point. So let’s get real. One can’t wear a mask for a long time without touching or adjusting it. That increases risk. It may have some effect in blocking sneezing or coughing. The rest of it is simple virtue signaling. Would pax really wear a mask for a 6 hour coast to coast flight? Or worse an 11 hour international flight. NOBODY would do that. The worst part of this is that the danger of this virus has been hugely overstated. Except for people who have serious pre-existing health conditions, the danger is actually less than the regular flu. For those with pre-existing serious conditions, the danger is much greater. The logical answer is to discourage and strongly advise against the infirm flying and let the rest of us live our lives. We are making up rules to avoid deaths in the at risk group by locking up everybody, rather than having that group isolate themselves. Flying wearing a mask is just another example of a poor trade off of huge burden and little benefit in comparison with more sensible approaches.

  15. the810

    May 6, 2020 at 4:14 am

    I’m not flying if masks are compulsory. They are very uncomfortable and there is no scientific evidence they are at all useful for average person. I struggle to breath in them and get dizzy after a few minutes, there’s no way in hell I’m wearing it for several hours.

    Forcing passengers to wear masks to “boost confidence” in travel is a stupid, stupid idea. Instead of appealing to people who are ready to fly and happy to bring money into the travel industry, they try to win over people they won’t be able to convince – if someone’s afraid of the virus and travel, face masks won’t fix it. And in the process, they will discourage those who would otherwise travel.

    Unfortunatelly, this is now widespread in travel industry. The big questions is why would anyone travel then. Business travel is not likely to restore anytime soon, large companies will be very cautious. And leisure travel can only pick up the speed if it’s gonna be a pleasant experience. If I’m gonna face numerous annoying restrictions on my holiday, then I might as well stay at my balcony. It’s cheaper.

  16. ecobiz

    May 6, 2020 at 4:16 am

    What this article, as well as a dozen others, fail to dwell on is whether masks and social distancing practices pertaining to air travel are supposed to remain mandatory until after a vaccine‘s been found?


    May 6, 2020 at 5:00 am

    As avid world travelers, I would rather do road trips if masks become a demand. I would be finished with the airlines.

  18. kc1174

    May 6, 2020 at 5:05 am

    Masks – fine.
    Now to get around the small issue of security/TSA needing to see your face, and US boarding groups where everyone is stood in the priority lanes and you need to push past them to get into your group…


    May 6, 2020 at 5:27 am

    If you read this article about Tokyo you will see that they have been LESS restrictive than places with higher death tolls. Things are also not as they seem. It’s hard to see how, without a vaccine or cure, we are going to stop the virus without letting this run its course. This could take years if we wait until it dies out completely through lockdown.

  20. pmb600

    May 6, 2020 at 9:05 am

    I agree that masks have become nothing more than a social symbol for people to exercise a moral superiority. I emailed the CEO and head of customer service at Delta last week to tell them that I would be happy to return to travel, but that a mandatory mask requirement will deter me. I cannot even stomach the idea of wearing a mask not only on a 6+ hour flight in the middle of the summer, but in the entire boarding area and jetway as well. Completely unacceptable. I think this strategy will backfire on them and the airlines are simply pandering to the popular option and not science.

  21. snidely

    May 6, 2020 at 2:08 pm

    The problem is that the Trumpites who refuse to wear masks are being protected by those that do. They are the ones spreading the virus.

  22. francis27

    May 7, 2020 at 8:02 am


    ” the danger is actually less than the regular flu” ???? really.

    Ignorance is bliss but lies are toxic.

    Your pie in the sky outlook is the reason for the need for compulsory face masks.
    My general observations tend to show the people who are dismissive and vocally critical of the currant restrictions are the same people who have poor hygiene habits and do not respect the personal space of others. A good comparison is I find flying with a seatbelt on for 7-9 hours incredibly uncomfortable. But I do it because it is safer than not wearing it. It has been said to me by perfect strangers sitting beside me that I don’t need to wear my belt when the sign is on. If we encounter serious turbulence the person not wearing a belt could be seriously injured on the way up but could also seriously injure other people on the way back down? so when that happens is it an accident or is it the fault of the person who chose not to wear the belt “because they didn’t have to”.
    Freedom of personal choice is a very important right that should be protected.
    However as with all individual rights the limits of those rights should stop at the point where it encroaches and limits the rights of others.
    To the other contributor who said they would wear the mask getting on then take it of once in the air. If you are not willing to fly according to the new t&c’s, whatever they maybe then buy yourself a fuel card you’re going to be doing a lot of driving.

  23. jjmoore

    May 7, 2020 at 4:30 pm

    @francia27 There is NOT A SHRED of evidence that face masks have ANY positive impact on the prevention of transmission of any disease. Wearing a face mask results in a moist sticky surface for any airborne pathogen to adhere to that is floating in the air. Wearing that mask brings all of those elements right in contact with your face. This is unacceptable, and I simply cannot believe society is too IGNORANT AND STUPID to realize this.

    By all means – provide a meaningful research article that shows that standard N95 facemasks or any other covering that is not a certified respirator cartridge for the virus is actually effective. Your response will be…. crickets.

    I refuse to wear something that makes me more susceptible to becoming ill. This is all part of the ploy by those poised to benefit from our sickness to keep as many of us sick.

    Open your eyes.

  24. pmb600

    May 8, 2020 at 11:51 am


    Your attitude is exactly what I can’t stand. You assume anyone who doesn’t share your opinion is uneducated, or as you say “poor hygiene habits” instead of respectfully disagreeing.

    I am a very clean and organized person and for years have taken reasonable precautions prior to any of this Covid nonsense, but I refuse to wear a mask. I always wash my hands frequently (didn’t need a new virus to make me do that) I don’t wear shoes in my home, I have always wiped off my airplane tray table, screen, armrest and seatbelts with a Chrlorox wipe. Your opinion is uneducated and the current mask guidance, as many have pointed out, is merely to make people “feel good.” There is little evidence that a non N95 respirator does anything to prevent you from giving or getting Covid. Masks are also not meant to be used for hours on end, when they become moist they are ineffective. There is a good article in the economist that discusses this that you should review.

    Oh and by the way, most of those cheap disposable masks are made with very acidic material and probably tons of chemicals that are terrible for your skin and body.

  25. sfoeuroflyer

    May 8, 2020 at 2:24 pm

    I guess that reading every word eludes some in this thread. I did not say that the risk of death from the virus was less than the regular flu for EVERYBODY. I did make the point that there is a sharp divide between those who have serious pre-existing conditions and those who do not. For those who have serious pre-existing conditions there is an elevated danger. The data is stunning. In Switzerland, today the government reported that 97% of those who died had serious pre-existing conditions. In Italy the number is 99%. For the rest of us, the death rate is actually less than the flu. Logic therefore says that those with pre-existing conditions should self isolate (aided by government if needed) and certainly should not fly. Let the rest of us go about our lives. So to francis27, read more carefully before insluting people and check the data….it’s there and well reported.

  26. FliesWay2Much

    May 12, 2020 at 6:24 pm

    Masks, for the reasons people upstream have mentioned, are the medical equivalent of Security Theater. Just like taking your shoes off or carefully packing your Freedom Baggie, masks are a great way for governments to get the masses to play along and feel like they are contributing. It’s also a way to create a class warfare of sorts by turning people who comply against those who don’t. The medical facts are that masks must be of sufficient quality and density to prevent microbes the size of the COVID virus from either entering or leaving one’s nose and mouth. They are nothing but a placebo and a “feel good” participatory imposition. But, the Sheeple are already standing in line to buy the latest designer masks.

  27. LostInAmerica

    May 18, 2020 at 9:00 am

    I think that mask requirements are in the same vein as TSA security. It is more about the perception of safety than any actual benefit. And as others have stated, wearing a mask seems to cause me to touch my face even more to constantly adjust it (even without a beard).
    Mask required for a long flight = I am not taking that flight.

You must be logged in on the FORUM to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply


More in Passengers

How Often Should You Wash Your Hands When You Travel?

FlyerTalkMay 1, 2020

Passenger Pulled From Airline Toilet With Pants Still Down

Meg ButlerApril 7, 2020

Airline Measures Passengers’ Waists, Tells Them They’re Too Fat to Fly Business Class

Jennifer BillockFebruary 19, 2020

Copyright © 2014 Top News Theme. Theme by MVP Themes, powered by Wordpress.


I want emails from FlyerTalk with travel information and promotions. I can unsubscribe any time using the unsubscribe link at the end of all emails