LATAM Follows Lufthansa In Banning More Cloth Masks From Flights

In an attempt to introduce stricter onboard rules, LATAM Airlines Group recently banned a certain type of non-surgical masks, as well as several clothing items from all its domestic and international flights. The South American airline is following international protocols to ensure more passenger safety in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

LATAM Follows Lufthansa In Banning More Cloth Masks From Flights
LATAM Airlines Group is banning cloth and valved masks on its flights. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

What is now forbidden on LATAM flights?

On February 1, Lufthansa launched a stricter onboard mask policy. The European carrier stopped accepting cloth masks; therefore, all passengers on Lufthansa flights are now wearing surgical masks or FFP2 masks.

Soon after, LATAM Airlines Group implemented similar new measures. Now, the South American group is banning cloth masks with valves. Passengers can only use surgical masks, KN95 and N95 masks, as well as a specific type of handmade covers that don’t have valves.

Nevertheless, LATAM is not very clear regarding what type of handmade mask is accepting. According to local media outlets such as Aeroin, LATAM won’t allow wool, crochet, and lace masks.

Additionally, the airline banned several clothing items such as scarves, handkerchiefs, bandanas, and plastic mouth protectors.

According to LATAM, the measures apply to all passengers on both domestic and international flights. The only people exempted from the mask policy rule have previously filed a form exposing the medical reasons they can’t use a facial covering onboard a flight.

LATAM Brasil Boeing 777 Frankfurt
LATAM has temporarily suspended food service in economy and premium economy in Brazil, Colombia, and Peru. Photo: Jake Hardiman – Simple Flying

What other measures is LATAM implementing?

The aviation industry has been thoroughly advocating the safety of traveling. Despite growing numbers of COVID-19 cases worldwide, airlines state that the risk of infection onboard an aircraft is close to zero.

Nevertheless, to restore the passenger’s confidence, the airlines are taking more cleaning and safety measures across the board.

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For instance, LATAM is asking its passengers to carry more than one mask for long-haul travels. The airline is also simplifying the onboard food service to minimize the manipulation of certain elements. LATAM has currently suspended food service in economy and premium economy in domestic flights in Brazil, Colombia, and Peru.

Plus, LATAM is disinfecting all its airplanes before and after every flight; it also has hospital-grade HEPA Filters onboard. Nevertheless, LATAM is not blocking the middle seat, like many other carriers worldwide.

Delta Airlines Highlights Its Covid Safety Measures At National Airport
Many airlines are banning the use of cloth masks. Photo: Getty Images

Why the ban on cloth and valved masks?

There’s currently no more scientific debate regarding the importance of wearing a mask to prevent COVID-19 infections. While a cover is not a substitute for social distancing, they are a tool to slow the current pandemic spread. Nevertheless, not every mask works the same way.

In the US, the CDC does not recommend the use of the following masks:

  1. Masks that do not fit properly, either because they have large gaps, are too loose or too tight.
  2. Masks made from materials that are hard to breathe through, such as plastic or leather.
  3. Wearing a scarf or a ski mask.
  4. Masks with exhalation valves or vents. The CDC does not recommend using masks with exhalation valves or vents because the hole in the material may allow respiratory droplets to escape and reach others.
  5. Masks made from fabric that is loosely woven or knitted.
  6. Masks with one layer.

What do you think of this type of measure? Let us know in the comments.