Lufthansa today revealed that its onboard mask policy is set to become stricter from February 1st. The airline will stop accepting cloth masks, meaning all passengers will have to wear a surgical mask or an FFP2 mask.
Flying with airlines is typically seen as relatively safe given that most have mandatory mask policies and hospital-grade HEPA filters onboard. However, governments and airlines have become increasingly alarmed by the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is once again bringing European skies to a standstill. As such, Lufthansa is changing its mask policy in line with the latest government recommendations in Germany. Earlier this week, Simple Flying reported that new US President Joe Biden had made masks mandatory on US flights.
No more cloth masks
Lufthansa today revealed that it would be making its mask policy tougher from February 1st. The airline will no longer permit what it calls “everyday masks.” This means that only FFP2 masks (also known as KN95/N95 masks) will be allowed, in addition to the disposable type surgical masks. No masks with valves will be permitted by the airline.
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According to Lufthansa, the measures will apply to all Lufthansa group flights to and from Germany. It comes after the German government adopted rules to make such masks mandatory in shops and public transport.
Ultimately, these rules are implemented on a state level. In Hessen, the state with Lufthansa’s home Frankfurt Airport, such masks will be required from Saturday, January 23rd. Meanwhile, with the airline’s Munich hub, Bavaria has already been requiring such masks since Monday, January 18th.
Lufthansa has continually been leading the way with new onboard measures before they’re adopted across the industry. It was one of the first global airlines to mandate masks onboard its aircraft. The airline initially ended its social distancing policy on May 4th, when it initially made mask-wearing mandatory on flights and in airports. When asked by Simple Flying in July, Lufthansa’s Frankfurt Hub CEO, Klaus Froese, told us that the airline hadn’t seen any resistance to its mask policy since it was initially implemented.
Lufthansa continues to allow those with a valid medical exemption to avoid wearing a mask. They must carry a certificate provided by Lufthansa and signed by their doctor, in addition to a negative COVID-19 test younger than 48 hours.
Austrian Airlines goes even further
Austrian Airlines, a member of the Lufthansa Group, appears to have gone even further than its parent airline. The Austrian airline is changing its mask policy from January 25th until at least February 3rd. The airline’s policy will only allow FFP2 masks, meaning that surgical masks will be unwelcome, unlike Lufthansa.
Austrian Airlines COO Jens Ritter commented,
“I am convinced that the FFP2 mask will quickly become the new travel companion.”
Do you think that Lufthansa is right to ban cloth masks on flights? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!