Lufthansa Ends Social Distancing With Mandatory Face Masks

From Monday, Lufthansa will require all passengers to wear face coverings onboard flights. The German flag carrier has continued to keep essential routes around the globe open for those who need to travel.

Lufthansa, Social Distancing, Face Masks
Lufthansa is making facemasks compulsory onboard flights. Photo: Oliver Roesler via Lufthansa

The current state of the aviation industry is unrecognizable from just a few months ago. Once a booming industry, it has been brought to its knees by a pandemic. As part of its strategy to help stem the spread of the virus, the German states have enforced mandatory face coverings in shops and on public transport. Now Lufthansa is following suit onboard its flights.

Nose and mouth must remain covered

According to the new rules being introduced by the German flag carrier, passengers will need to keep their nose and mouth covered while onboard Lufthansa aircraft. This new policy will be enacted from Monday (4th May).

Lufthansa recommends that passengers wear a reusable fabric mask. However, it seems that any face covering would be allowed, including scarves. While fabric face masks aren’t thought to protect a person from catching the virus, various reporting suggests that they can cut the chances of a person transmitting the virus. Especially as some may not realize they are infected.

The face masks must be worn during all portions of the flight. Photo: Getty Images

Unlike its American partner United, Lufthansa will not be giving out free masks as customers are required to bring their own cover. So that passengers are aware, Lufthansa will send text messages and emails ahead of flights.

No more social distancing

As a result of the new facial covering policy, Lufthansa will be scrapping its social distancing policy onboard aircraft. Previously the airline had announced it would leave at least one seat between passengers in economy and premium economy. This distancing policy didn’t apply to flights inbound to Germany. Lufthansa argued it wanted to bring as many passengers home as possible.

Today the Lufthansa Group announced that it would no longer keep at least one seat free between passengers as a policy. In an emailed comment, the airline said that this was “as wearing the mouth-nose cover provides adequate health protection.”

Lufthansa, Airbus A320, Grounded
Lufthansa has been keeping an essential network of flights open. Photo: Getty Images

Despite this, the airline flagged that it currently has low passenger load factors on the majority of its trips. This will allow it to continue to separate passengers where possible. The German flag carrier believes that the chances of infection remain low onboard its aircraft.

The airline added that it is not aware of any firm cases of transmission onboard one of its aircraft at this time. As the air circulates vertically throughout the cabin, the airline believes that it can guarantee an air quality similar to that of an operating theatre.

What do you think of wearing face masks onboard? If Lufthansa right to end its social distancing policy? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.