Why wearing a mask is mandatory for air travel?

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Wear a mask during air travel
Photo by Ismail Mohamed – SoviLe on Unsplash

In June of this year the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposed civil penalties ranging from $9,000 to $22,000 against airline passengers for allegedly disobeying flight attendants cabin crew instructions.

FAA reported cases of passengers assaulting flight crew, drinking alcohol brought aboard the plane, and most importantly refusing to wear face masks.

As the COVID-19 pandemic shows no signs of letting go airlines around the world continue to mandate their passengers to wear masks while on-board.

Passengers may feel quite uncomfortable to have a mask on their face for extended periods of time. It is especially so on log-haul flights.

However, the mandatory mask requirement is not a simple thing. It is a joint effort by the entire aviation industry, government policies, the WHO, and the the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Take-off guidance for safe operations.

If we need to travel by plane as passengers we have no choice but to comply. Wearing a mask is now even backed up by scientific research.

The study

The University of Edinburgh conducted a study in January of 2021 which suggests that “Face coverings can reduce Covid-19 transmission risk. Wearing a face mask or other covering over the mouth and nose reduces the forward distance traveled by an exhaled breath by more than 90 %.”

Wearing a mask alone is not enough. It has to go along with frequent hand washing or using a sanitizer. More importantly, our mask has fit properly on the face covering the mouth and nose to be effective.

Wearing a mask is not a matter of choice but part the pandemic reality we live in. It is also is an obligations that airlines quietly embedded under their Conditions of Carriage – the rules and regulations that govern the contract between us and airlines carriers.

If we fail to comply we can faces the risk of being taken off the aircraft and loose our flight. Is not unheard of airlines to blacklist passengers for refusing to wear masks and deny them future travel on their airplanes. Moreover, penalties under national laws are also quite possible.

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Ian Powers is a travel blogger and nature enthusiast. Ian has over 20 years of aviation travel experience.

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