83% Of Airline Passengers Support Inflight Mask Wearing

According to a passenger survey conducted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), 83% of airline passengers strongly support mask-wearing onboard flights. The survey also looked at other factors such as confidence in protective measures, COVID-related rules and requirements and perceived aircraft cleanliness.

Masked customer in Comfort+ uses laptop inflight during COVID
Most airline passengers support mask requirements onboard flights. Photo: Delta Air Lines

83% of passengers in favor of masks onboard

In a June survey carried out by IATA, 83% of participants strongly favored masks onboard flights. However, the majority of those surveyed (65%) were also in favor of ending mandatory masks as soon as possible. The survey involved 4,700 participants across 11 markets worldwide who had flown at least once since June 2020.

According to Willie Walsh, Director General of IATA,

“Air travelers recognize and value the safety measures put in place to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission during air travel. And they support the continuation of these measures as long as necessary, but they also don’t want the measures to become permanent.”

Passengers are also in favor of ending mask requirements as soon as possible. Photo: IATA

The survey also revealed that passengers support the strict enforcement of masks (86%). A spate of mask-related onboard incidents have occurred since the pandemic, with many passengers refusing to abide by the rules.

Willie Walsh added,

“In the meantime, we all need to respect the rules and the safety of fellow passengers. It is unacceptable that unruly passenger incidents have doubled compared to 2019, and the increase in physically abusive behavior is a particular cause for great concern.”

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Confidence in protective measures

The overwhelming majority of passengers have high confidence in the COVID-related protective measures employed by airlines and airports. The study found that 89% of travelers believed protective measures were ‘well implemented,’ while 90% agreed that airline staff are doing a good job at enforcing protective measures.

83% Of Airline Passengers Support Inflight Mask Wearing
Travelers have a high degree of confidence in protective measures. Photo: IATA

In total, 86% of participants in the survey said they feel safe onboard flights thanks to COVID-related safety measures. A similar proportion have faith in the cleaning and disinfection methods to clean aircraft (85%), while 65% of travelers agree that the air quality onboard aircraft is as clean as an operating room.

Requirements are creating a hassle

While travelers have high confidence in safety measures adopted by airlines, this is not to say they are completely satisfied with procedures. A high number of participants in the survey (70%) agreed that all the COVID-related rules, requirements and paperwork are ‘a challenge to understand.’ Additionally, 67% of those surveyed felt that arranged testing is a hassle.

Most participants found COVID-related requirements to be challenging. Photo: IATA

To this end, 89% of travelers favor some kind of standardized certification for vaccination and testing. 87% reported that they would support a ‘secure digital system‘ to manage their health data. However, privacy is still a major concern, with 75% of participants stating they would only support such an app if they had full control over their data.

Willie Walsh explained,

“These responses should be a wake-up call to governments that they need to do a better job of preparing for a restart. To avoid overwhelming airports and border control authorities, governments need to agree to replace paper-based processes with digital solutions like the IATA Travel Pass for vaccine and testing documentation.”

What are your views on wearing masks onboard flights? Do you agree that authorities should do much better in managing vaccine/testing certification for travel? Let us know your insights in the comments.