British low-cost carrier Jet2 has become the first known airline to remove face mask rules on all of its flights to and from England. The move follows the Westminister government’s decision to lift virtually all pandemic era rules including mask mandates and self-isolation rules for people who test positive for COVID-19.
In updated guidance on Jet2’s website, the airline says it is “no longer a legal requirement to wear a face mask at our airports or onboard our planes”. The updated guidance applies on all flights to and from England and Northern Ireland but not Scotland where a mask mandate remains in place.
A spokesperson for Jet2, however, says the airline is still following British government advice and encourages passengers to wear a face mask onboard its planes and in airport terminals if they are able.
Although passengers can go barefaced for most their journey, Jet2 has warned customers that they’ll need to put a face mask on for landing at most destinations the airline flies to.
In very basic legal terms, aircraft are governed by the laws of the land where they are registered but only when the cabin doors are shut and they are under their own power. Once the doors are open and engines are switched off, local rules apply and, therefore, mask mandates in many European countries will apply.
British Airways has taken a more cautious approach to easing its own face mask rules and says it is obliged to adhere to the laws and policies of the different countries it operates in.
Although BA could drop mandatory face mask rules on domestic flights within England, a spokesperson for British Airways said the airline had no plans to do so at the moment.
The airline noted that it is keeping its face mask policy “under review and continue to take advice and guidance from all the appropriate authorities,” but that mask rules had not yet been eased.
easyJet and TUI both say that are also retaining their face mask rules on all flights for the time being, at least.
Throughout Scandanavia, face mask rules have once again been eased and local airlines including SAS, Norwegian and Wideroe say face masks aren’t required on inter-Scandanavia flights. Face maks are, however, still required on flights to and from Europe.
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.