Face masks have been a part of our lives for over 18 months now, and while rule changes in July may have changed things, a face covering is still required or advised in certain places including on public transport. As such, most airlines also still require passengers to wear a mask for the entirety of a flight too, and now new guidelines from certain airlines have further specified which ones are deemed suitable.
In fact, several airlines have now announced that fabric face masks — such as the ones many fashion brands sell and those that many of us have made ourselves at home — are not considered adequate and are now banned.
Finnair is the latest to announce their new requirements, and have announced that only surgical masks or similar will be accepted on their flights. ‘Surgical masks, FFP2 or FFP3 respirator masks without a valve or other valve-free masks with the same standard (N95)’ must now be worn, they said in a Tweet. ‘The safety of our customers and employees is our first priority. Fabric face masks are slightly less efficient at protecting people from infection than surgical masks,’ they also added in a statement.
The airline is not the first to introduce these rulings; they join the likes of Lufthansa and Air France, who recently put out a statement that ‘it is mandatory to wear a surgical mask or an FFP1, FFP2, or FFP3 type mask, without an exhaust valve, onboard.’
The new rules are thought to be in relation to the effectiveness of different types of masks. Experts tend to agree that while fabric face masks are better than no mask at all, they are less preferable to surgical or N95 masks, which provide more protection on the whole.
If you are travelling by plane, it is advisable to check the airline’s specific rules to see which styles will be accepted for your journey.