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Updated: 28 Apr 2022

Do you still need to wear a mask on a plane? 18 airlines and their mask policies

The USA made wearing masks optional on board flights in April. Find out where and when you will still need to wear one
people on plane wearing masks

With some airlines scrapping the mandatory requirement for face coverings, it can be confusing to know what's expected of you when flying abroad. To make things easier, we've listed the mask-wearing policies for 18 airlines, both long and short haul, including Jet2, Ryanair, British Airways and TUI.

Jet2 was the first airline in the UK to lift the rules on mask-wearing for passengers back in February of this year, with TUI and Virgin Atlantic later following. However, on other airlines such as KLM it is still mandatory for passengers to wear a mask unless you're medically exempt.

The requirement to wear a mask on your flight can also depend on where you're travelling to, so always check the latest travel rules for your destination on the FCDO website as well as the airline's. For example, if you're travelling to Italy, it's mandatory to wear an FFP2 mask for the duration of your flight and in the airport, even if the airline you're flying with has lifted their mask-wearing regulations.

While the rules have been relaxed in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, allowing airlines to decide whether or not to request passengers wear face coverings, that isn't the case for Scotland, where the requirement to wear a face mask while on flights is still in place.


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Do I have to wear a mask during the whole flight?

If wearing a mask is mandatory on your flight, you will usually need to keep it on for the duration of the journey, only removing it when eating or drinking.

Long haul airlines advise you to take extra masks on board and change them every four hours (or before if they start to get damp).

What happens if you refuse to wear a mask on a plane?

Refusing to wear a mask if it's mandatory on your flight could result in you being turned away at the gate or even fined. In the USA, it has been made a federal offence not to wear a mask on a plane, and refusing could lead to a US$35,000 fine and being banned from flying with the airline for a period of time.

Airlines still requiring face coverings will only make an exception if you have proof you are medically exempt. The evidence you need to show depends on the airline you're flying with - we've also included that information below.


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Short-haul airlines and their mask policies

Do I need to wear a face mask on EasyJet flights?

No. As of Sunday 27 March, masks are no longer mandatory on EasyJet flights as long as it's not a legal requirement at either end of the route. You can of course still wear a mask if you wish.

Some destinations such as Italy require all passengers to wear a mask on their flights and in airports, so always check the latest requirements for your destination as well as the airline you're travelling with. Read more about EasyJet's mask policies and medical exemption from wearing a mask.

Do I need to wear a face mask on Jet2 flights?

No. Jet2 passengers are no longer required to wear a mask on flights as long as it's not a legal requirement at either end of the route. As above, you can still wear a mask if you wish.

Again, some destinations such as Italy require all passengers to wear a mask on their flights and in airports, so always check the latest requirements for your destination as well as the airline you're travelling with. Read more about Jet2's mask requirements.

Do I need to wear a face mask on KLM flights?

Yes. Face masks are mandatory on all KLM flights. Refusing to wear one could lead to you not being allowed to board the flight.

  • When: During boarding and throughout the flight
  • Who: All passengers aged 10 years or over (or younger if specified by the destination)
  • Type of mask: Any mask which fits the face and covers the mouth and nose (unless otherwise specified by the destination)
  • Medical exemption: If you have a medical reason for not wearing a mask, you will need a signed medical certificate from a doctor confirming you are medically exempt and a negative PCR test result no older than 72 hours old at the time of boarding.

Read more about KLM's mask policies.


Read more about the UK's travel restrictions being lifted and how it affects your holiday.


Do I need to wear a face mask on Ryanair flights?

Yes. Face masks are mandatory on all Ryanair flights. You could be turned away from your flight if you refuse to wear a mask.

  • When: During boarding and throughout the flight
  • Who: All passengers aged six years and over
  • Type of mask: It depends on the mask requirements of your destination. Austria, Italy and Germany, for example, require passengers to wear an FFP2 mask.
  • Medical exemption: If you're medically exempt from wearing a mask, you'll need to carry a medical certificate signed by a doctor outlining your medical condition. It's best to speak to Ryanair before you fly if you're unsure about what evidence you need.

Read more about Ryanair's mask policies.

Do I need to wear a face mask on TUI flights?

No.Face masks are no longer mandatory on TUI flights unless it's a legal requirement at either end of the route. For example, if you're departing from/to Scotland, Italy or the USA, it's a legal requirement to wear a mask on the plane regardless of the airline's policies.

Read more about TUI's mask policies, which includes specific requirements for the USA, Italy, and Scotland.

Do I need to wear a face mask on Wizz Air flights?

Yes. Face masks are mandatory on all Wizz Air flights. Refusing to wear a mask on your flight could result in you being turned away.

  • When: During boarding and throughout the flight
  • Who: All passengers aged six years and over
  • Type of mask: Any mask (unless specified by the destination). Wizz Air recommends bringing extra masks if your flight is over four hours
  • Medical exemption: If you're medically exempt from wearing a mask, you'll need to provide a copy of this certificate completed and signed by a doctor and a negative PCR test result no more than 48 hours old at the time of boarding. You'll also need to contact Wizz Air 48 hours before departure to tell them about your medical exemption.

Read more about Wizz Air's mask policies.

Long-haul airlines and their mask policies

Do I need to wear a face mask on Air Canada flights?

Yes. Face masks are mandatory on all Air Canada flights

  • When: During boarding and throughout the flight
  • Who: All passengers aged six and over (or younger if specified by the destination). Air Canada states that children between the ages of two and six should also have a mask. If they can't tolerate wearing one, they are exempt, but the adult responsible must have a face covering 'readily available' for the child prior to boarding.
  • Type of mask: Medical grade mask made with 'protective layers of absorbent fabric (such as cotton) that fit snugly over the nose, mouth and chin, and are secured to the face with ties or ear loops.'
  • Medical exemption: If you're medically exempt from wearing a mask, you will need to complete Air Canada's medical exemption form, authorisation from the Air Canada Medical Assistance Desk and a negative Covid test result no more than 72 hours old at the time of boarding.

Read more about Air Canada's mask policies.

Do I need to wear a face mask on Air Transat flights?

Yes. Face masks are mandatory on all Air Transat flights.

  • When: During boarding and throughout the flight
  • Who: All passengers aged two years and over, though children aged 2-5 are exempt on all flights as long as the child's responsible adult has a face covering 'readily available'. That exemption doesn't apply when flying to/from the USA, however.
  • Type of mask: Either a medical grade mask or a non-medical mask with several layers of tightly woven fabric, which fits the face with no gaps and doesn't have tears or holes in. Check the requirements for your destination too.
  • Medical exemption: If you're medically exempt from wearing a mask, you're advised to contact Air Transat as soon as possible and complete their Mask Exemption Form.
  • Read more about Air Transat's mask policies.

Do I need to wear a face mask on American Airlines flights?

Yes. Face masks are mandatory on all American Airlines flights

  • When: During boarding and throughout the flight
  • Where: All passengers aged two years and over
  • Type of mask: A mask with 'two layered secured cloth that completely covers your nose and mouth and fits snugly to the sides of your face and under your chin'. Face shields can be worn in addition to a mask, but not instead of.
  • Medical exemption: If you're medically exempt from wearing a mask, you need to contact American Airlines 72 hours before your flight and carry a certificate confirming a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours of your departure.

Read more about American Airlines' mask policies.

Do I need to wear a face mask on British Airways flights?

No. Face masks are no longer mandatory on British Airways flights. However, the airline urges customers to check the entry requirements of your destination you're flying to before departing for the airport. If your destination requires face masks to be worn on board, while disembarking and/or while at the arrivals airport, you'll still be required to wear a mask in each of these cases.

Read more about BA's mask policies.


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Do I need to wear a face mask on Delta Airlines flights?

Yes. Face masks are mandatory on all Delta Airlines flights. You could be turned away and even fined up to $35,000 USD if you refuse to wear one or don't provide the required evidence that you are medically exempt.

  • When: During boarding and throughout the flight
  • Where: All passengers aged two years and over
  • Type of mask: Any mask which doesn't have ventilation valves, holes or tears and fits the face without any gaping.
  • Medical exemption: If you are medically exempt from wearing a mask, you will need to complete Delta's 'Clearance-to-Fly' process before flying.

Read more about Delta Airways' mask policies.

Do I need to wear a face mask on Emirates flights?

Yes. Face masks are mandatory on all Emirates flights.

  • When: During boarding and throughout the flight
  • Who: All passengers over the age of six (or younger if specified by the destination)
  • Type of mask: Either a cloth or medical mask (unless specified by the destination)
  • Medical exemption: If you're medically exempt from wearing a mask, you will need to complete a Medical Information Form (MEDIF). The form requires you to upload evidence from your doctor, so don't leave it until the last minute to complete.

Read more about Emirates' mask policies.

Do I need to wear a face mask on Etihad flights?

Yes. Face masks are mandatory on all Etihad Airways flights.

  • When: During boarding and throughout the flight
  • Who: All passengers aged six years and over (or younger if specified by the destination)
  • Type of mask: Any (unless specified by the destination)
  • Medical exemption: If you're medically exempt from wearing a mask, you need to either ask your doctor to complete Etihad's medical exemption certificate or bring any other medical certificate which is: issued by a licensed medical doctor and includes your name, date of birth, passport number and medical reason for not wearing a mask.
  • Read more about Etihad's mask policies.

Do I need to wear a face mask on Qantas flights?

  • Yes. Face masks are mandatory on all Qantas Airlines flights. Qantas are handing out 'fly-well' packs to passengers, which contain a mask, wipes and other hygiene items. If your flight is more than four hours you'll want a few masks so you can change them regularly.
    When: During boarding and throughout the flight
    Who: All passengers aged 12 years and over (unless otherwise specified by the destination)
    Type of mask: Any mask which fits the face securely - i.e. without gaps, holes or tears (unless further specified by the destination)
    Medical exemption: If you're medically exempt from wearing a mask, contact Qantas or your travel agent to find out what you need to do.

Read more about Qantas Airlines' mask policies.

Do I need to wear a face mask on Qatar Airways flights?

Yes. Masks are mandatory on all Qatar Airways flights.

  • When: During boarding and throughout the flight
  • Who: All passengers over the age of six (or younger if specified by the destination)
  • Type of mask: Any mask (unless specified by the destination)
  • Medical exemption: If you're medically exempt from wearing a mask, you will need to carry either a hidden disabilities card, mask exemption card or medical certificate.

Read more about Qatar Airways' mask policies.

Do I need to wear a face mask on Singapore Airlines flights?

Yes. Face masks are mandatory on all Singapore Airlines flights. The airline is handing out hygiene kits to passengers, which include sanitisation wipes and one mask. However, it's advised you bring additional masks of your own so you have sufficient supply if you're on a long-haul flight.

  • When: During boarding and throughout the flight
  • Who: All passengers over the age of six (or younger if specified by the destination)
  • Type of mask: Any mask (unless otherwise specified by the destination)
  • Medical exemption: If you have a medical reason for not wearing a mask, contact Singapore Airlines or your travel agent to find out what you need to do.

Read more about Singapore Airlines' mask policies.

Do I need to wear a face mask on Thai Airways flights?

Yes. Face masks are mandatory on all Thai Airways flights.

  • When: During boarding and throughout the flight
  • Who: All passengers aged two years and over
  • Type of mask: Any mask which fits the face without any gaps and doesn't have ventilation valves (unless further specified by your destination)
  • Medical exemption: If you're medically exempt from wearing a mask on board, contact the airline or your travel agent to find out what you need to do.

Read more about Thai Airways' mask policies.

Do I need to wear a face mask on United Airlines flights?

Yes. Face masks are mandatory on all United Airlines flights. In line with the USA's federal law, refusing to wear a mask on board a United Airlines flight could result in a $35,000 USD fine and being denied boarding.

  • When: During boarding and throughout the flight
  • Who: All passengers aged two years and over
  • Type of mask: Any mask which doesn't have ventilation valves, holes or tears and fits the face without any gaping (unless otherwise specified by the destination)
  • Medical exemption: If you're medically exempt from wearing a mask, you will need to complete a mask exemption request form and email it to MaskExemption@united.com at least seven days before flying. You will also need a negative PCR test result no more than 72 hours old at the time of boarding.

Read more about United Airlines' mask policies.

Do I need to wear a face mask on Virgin Atlantic flights?

No. You don't need to wear a mask on a Virgin Atlantic flight unless the destination you're travelling to/from, like the USA, Scotland or Wales requires it.

Read more about Virgin Atlantic's mask policies and always check the requirements of the destination you're travelling to before you go.