Several Scandinavian airlines are in the process of rolling back face mask rules and will soon allow passengers to go bare faced on certain flights.
The move follows a decision by governments in the region to scrap nearly all COVID-19 restrictions.
“The short version is, we can now live as normal,” said Norway’s prime minister Erna Solberg last month as restrictions like social distancing, face mask rules and border restrictions were lifted.
It’s a sentiment that is shared by Denmark which was the first to lift its restrictions earlier in September.
Sweden has, of course, had a highly publicised and controversial hands off approach to the pandemic. Face masks were only recommended for a short time and only on public transport.
Pan-Scandinavian airline SAS it would be lifting face mask rules for passengers on regional flights starting October 18.
“Due to the opening of societies and general recommendations from authorities in Scandinavia SAS is now removing the requirement for mandatory use of face masks on flights within Scandinavia,” the airline said in a statement.
“However, SAS will be following recommendations from EASA (the European aviation regulator) regarding mandatory use of face masks on other SAS flights, operating outside Denmark, Norway and Sweden.”
Low-cost carrier Norwegian is also dropping its mask rules for regional services, as are several local operators.
The European Air Safety Authority recommends the use of face masks on all flights and also suggests airlines still minimise onboard service to minimise the spread of COVID-19 transmission.
Even with the threat posed by the delta variant, Scandinavian governments and their airlines believe it is now safe to drop face mask rules.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is confident that the air supplied in modern jet planes is safe but the organisation still recommends the use of face masks by all passengers.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.