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Lufthansa Will Require Passengers with a Face Mask Exemption to Present Negative COVID-19 Certificate

Lufthansa Will Require Passengers with a Face Mask Exemption to Present Negative COVID-19 Certificate

German flag carrier Lufthansa will require passengers who claim to have a medical exemption that prevents them from wearing a face mask or other approved face covering to present a negative COVID-19 test certificate dated within 48-hours of travel. In addition, the airline said exempt passengers would only be accepted for travel if they present a medical certificate sign by their physician.

The new policy will apply across all of the airlines in the Lufthansa Group – that includes Austrian, Brussels Airlines, Eurowings, SWISS and Lufthansa CityLine. The rules are set to take effect from September 1 at the latest but Lufthansa said passengers were already being informed about the policy and the medical certificate was ready to download from the Lufthansa website.

Lufthansa has become the latest airline to strengthen its face mask requirements in recent weeks as carrier’s grapple with a minority of passengers who simply refuse to comply with the requirements. Airlines and industry bodies believe face mask rules are crucial in rebuilding trust in the safety of air travel despite repeated reassurances that COVID-19 cannot be easily transmitted in the unique environment of an aircraft cabin.

Lufthansa first introduced face mask rules in May, stipulating that the covering must go over both the mouth and nose. On most flights, passengers may wear a reusable face mask but on flights to and from France, a disposable surgical mask must be used following recent legislation passed by French health officials.

In the United States, several airlines have taken an even more hardline approach to anti-maskers, with both American and United, as well as Alaska Airlines telling passengers even with a genuine medical exemption that they should stay home as they won’t be allowed to board.

Delta Air Lines, meanwhile, will continue to fly passengers with an exemption but only once they have received pre-clearance from the carrier’s in-house medical team via a virtual consultation conducted at check-in. A number of U.S. airlines, including Delta, have also banned face masks with exhaust valves because of the risk they could shoot a jet stream of virus out when the wearer exhales.

Last week, Lufthansa signed up to the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Charter for COVID-19. The charter includes recommendations for mandatory face mask-wearing, as well as rules around social distancing and digital contact tracing. Lufthansa initially blocked some seats on its aircraft to enable social distancing but ditched that policy with the introduction of face masks.

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