Flying abroad this summer? You might still need your face mask – Irish Examiner

Holidays abroad are back in full swing, with our Instagram and Facebook feeds full of holiday snaps. But while it is no longer mandatory to wear a face mask on public transport, in taxis, shops, schools, hospitality settings, and other indoor public areas in Ireland, many airlines still require passengers to mask up on board their aircraft.

Whether you need to mask up on flights and in airports will depend on where you’re flying to, with rules differing between EU countries and the United States.

Airport guidance

While it is no longer mandatory to wear a face mask in Irish airports, Dublin Airport still recommends using masks in and around the airport.

Official guidance from the airport’s website states that “wearing a mask or face covering reduces the risk of spreading COVID-19 and helps protect us all.

“We ask that all passengers wear a face mask or appropriate face covering throughout their full airport journey.”

In Shannon and Cork airports, mask wearing in terminal buildings is optional for passengers and staff, but a spokesperson for Shannon Airport said wearing a mask in the airport terminal building “is recommended.”

Ireland West Airport (Knock) advises passengers it is mandatory to wear a facemask on board the aircraft  – but stop short of calling for mask-wearing in the airport itself. A spokesperson for the airport said: “In line with public health guidance, mask wearing in our terminal building is optional for our airport passengers.

“Since some people may feel more comfortable wearing masks, we ask that everyone respect that this is now a personal choice for all.” 

Some other countries still require mask-wearing within airports, but in recent weeks, many such as France, Germany, Spain, and Turkey have dropped the requirement. Airlines advise you check out the rules in your destination country before flying. 

On the aircraft 

The rules around mask wearing during your flight can differ depending on the country and the airline. Ryanair advises all passengers to wear a face mask on board their aircraft – and cautions passengers to be aware of specific rules around masks depending on the country they are travelling to/from/within. The airline also advises passengers to keep their masks on in airport terminals.

Ryanair still requires all passengers to mask up. 

Ryanair still requires all passengers to mask up. 

Aer Lingus requires all passengers to wear a face mask during flights unless they cannot do so for medical reasons (in which case you must present a medical certificate confirming this). The exception is its direct flight route between Manchester and the US, where face masks are optional. Like Ryanair, the airline recommends passengers wear face coverings throughout the airport journey.

If you are heading to Dubai, Emirates advises passengers to wear a mask in Dubai International airport, during boarding, throughout the flight, and while leaving the aircraft.

With a number of airlines, such as Wizz Air and EasyJet, it is only compulsory to wear a face mask during your flight when travelling to or from a country where the local law still mandates it. But when neither departure nor destination country requires it, wearing a mask is subject to personal choice.

FFP2 masks required on-board 

Passengers are advised to look up the specific rules around mask-wearing for the airlines they are travelling with this summer, as the type of approved masks can vary depending on the airline and where you are travelling to.

An FFP2 face mask is required on-board some flights

An FFP2 face mask is required on-board some flights

If you are travelling to, from or within Italy, for example, an FFP2 face mask is required. For flights to, from and within France, Austria or Germany passengers must wear either an FFP2 mask or a surgical face mask.

It is compulsory to wear a medical face mask on Lufthansa, Air France and KLM, with Lufthansa advising passengers that “cloth face masks, like face shields, masks with valves, scarves or handkerchiefs are not permitted either on board or in the lounge.” 

Your choice 

If you are flying between countries such as England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Jersey, Isle of Man, Croatia, Bulgaria, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Scotland, Slovenia, Sweden, Gibraltar, Hungary, Switzerland, Poland and Iceland, you are not required to wear a mask at all.

A number of airlines such as British Airways and Virgin Media also no longer require passengers to wear masks on direct flights to the US, and many US airports have dropped the requirement to wear masks within airport terminals. However, there are some exceptions, such as New York’s John F Kennedy International and LaGuardia Airports which still require mask-wearing within their terminals.

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