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Photograph: Sopotnicki /

Europe is scrapping face masks on planes from next week

The EU mandate covering both flights and airports will be dropped on May 16

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham

Currently, mask rules on flights are pretty confusing. Some airlines enforce face coverings, while some don’t. Some countries require you to wear one both on the plane and at the airport, while others don’t really care. But the maze of rules and regulations won’t last for much longer. 

The European Union has announced (via a joint statement from the EU Aviation Safety Agency and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control) that from next week masks will not be required either on planes or at airports throughout the bloc. Which makes things a hell of a lot simpler for travellers flying within, into or out of the Continent.

The EU cites high vaccination levels and increasing numbers of people with naturally acquired immunity as the main reasons behind the change. The new rules are set to come into effect next Monday, May 16.

Now, of course, this still does not mean that all flights will be mask-free. Lots of countries still mandate mask-wearing on flights. The new rules will apply only to flights in the EU, as well as flights coming into and out of the bloc from countries that also have lax mask rules like the UK and USA.

It’s also worth noting that airlines can still enforce their own rules for mask-wearing, so it’s always best to check before you travel. But in any case, travelling in Europe looks like it’s going to get just that little bit easier, more comfortable – and more normal. Yippee!

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