EU Lifts Mask Mandate in Airports and on Flights Starting 16 May 2022

The European Union Will Drop Mask Requirement for Air Travel Starting 16 May 2022

Do you agree with this mandate?

In the past months, we have slowly seen more and more signs that the worst of the pandemic is behind us. Surges of Covid cases occur less, hospitals have more occupancy, workers are now able to get back to their jobs, and finally —  governments are easing travel restrictions one by one. 

The European Union (EU), via a joint statement from the EU Aviation Safety Agency and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, made the latest update on the joint Aviation Health and Safety Protocol. They will drop the EU mask mandate for air travel within Europe starting 16 May 2022. This will include all airports in Europe and all flights coming in and out of the continent.

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Looking at the high vaccination levels, combined with the increasing population with naturally acquired immunity, the EU intends to alleviate the burden on the aviation industry. According to EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky, this move will be in unison with the changing requirements of policies for public transport across the continent. 

That said, the EU insists that passengers on Europe flights should respect the individual choices of their fellow travellers. Moreover, they should still behave responsibly, which in part includes wearing face masks when coughing and sneezing. Physical distancing protocols are still in place, and proper handwashing remains highly recommended.

Also read: 8 Reasons Why Not Wearing A Face Mask and Ignoring Social Distancing Is Disrespectful to Everyone Else

Mixed reactions to maskless mandates

EU Mask Mandate

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The EU isn’t the first to lift the mask mandate for airports and domestic flights. Other national authorities, such as in the United States, have removed such protocols in light of promising developments.

However, people have shown mixed reactions. For two years, we had to wear masks especially in public spaces. We could all agree that it isn’t the most comfortable thing to do, so some people embraced this news with a warm and cheerful welcome. Meanwhile, some were uncomfortable as COVID-19 still looms. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki spoke out against these rulings, stating that even the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends face masks when on public transit, including air travel. 

Also read: These Surveys Suggest That the Japanese Will Still Continue Wearing Face Masks Post-COVID

Possible airfare refunds for people uncomfortable flying without masks

EU Mask Mandate Refund

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If you’re nervous about travelling to Europe without the EU mask mandate, you can check and negotiate with your airline if they’re willing to offer a refund. Some airlines that mentioned their willingness to work with their passengers are United Airlines, American Airlines, and Alaska Airlines.

How about you? What do you think about the recent mandate of EU to remove the mandatory wearing of masks in air travel? Let us know in the comments!

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About Author

Martin Joseph Raymundo
Martin Joseph Raymundo

MJ’s life is a parade of dualities and ironies — an introvert who loves the outside, a paranoid risk-taker, an eccentric dude with a perfect wife, and a writer with the most terrible handwriting. He loves driving his good ol’ sedan, arms out with his windows down, zigzagging across the mountains of Aurora and Rizal while listening to the tune of John Mayer’s Rosie. A father of two (a daughter in her terrible twos and a corgi); There is nothing more important to him than family. His dream travel — running and rolling on the Swiss Alps like Heidi.