From 4 May, a number of airlines are introducing mandatory requirements for passengers to wear face masks onboard.
Passengers flying with the Lufthansa Group and its airlines will be required to wear a face mask covering the nose and mouth on board their flights. In addition, the group recommends that passengers wear them throughout the entire journey. This includes prior to and after the flight, and throughout the airport when the required minimum distance cannot be guaranteed without restriction. All flight attendants on Lufthansa Group flights in direct contact with customers will also be required to wear a mask.
All passengers are requested to bring their own face mask and a reusable fabric mask is recommended, but all other types of coverings such as simple disposable masks or scarves are also acceptable. The airlines will inform their passengers in advance by SMS or e-mail and on their websites about the new regulations.
The obligation to wear the mask will preliminarily apply until 31 August 2020.
The current regulation of Lufthansa Group Airlines to keep the neighbouring seat free in Economy and Premium Economy Class will no longer apply, as wearing the mouth-nose cover provides adequate health protection. Due to the current low occupancy rate, seats will nevertheless be allocated as widely as possible throughout the cabin.
In the US, JetBlue passengers customers will be required to wear a face covering during travel. The policy comes after the airline began requiring all crew members to wear face coverings while working. JetBlue has modelled its policy on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines that indicate all individuals should wear a face covering in public to help slow the spread of the COVID-19.
This new policy will require customers to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth throughout their journey, including during check-in, boarding, while in flight and deplaning. Customers will be reminded of this requirement before their flight via email and at the airport by both terminal signage and announcements. Small children who are not able to maintain a face covering are exempt from this requirement.
CDC guidance defines a suitable face covering as an item of cloth that should fit snugly against the side of the face, be secured with ties or ear loops, include multiple layers of fabric and allow for unrestricted breathing. The CDC recommends surgical masks and N-95 respirators be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders.
From 1 May, American Airlines will start the process of distributing sanitising wipes or gels and face masks to its customers. This offering will expand to all flights as supplies and operational conditions allow.
Masks will be required for flight attendants during every mainline and regional flight. In addition, the airline has added a drawer in the galley on every mainline flight containing personal protective equipment, including masks for flight attendants and pilots, and other sanitising items.