These airlines have banned cloth masks on airplanes

Face masks have become commonplace on airplanes – and are here to stay for quite a while – but not all airlines allow all types of masks.

This week, Finnair became the latest carrier to ban fabric masks on board, accepting only surgical masks, FFP2 or FFP3 breathing masks without a valve and N95 masks, the company tweeted.

“The safety of our customers and employees is our first priority. Sheet masks are slightly less effective in protecting people from infection than surgical masks,” the company wrote in a statement.

Finnair is not alone in banning sheet masks. Air France and Lufthansa have each made the wearing of medical masks compulsory, banning fabric masks and those with exhaust valves.

LATAM Airlines has also banned cloth and reusable masks on domestic flights in Chile, allowing only three-layer surgical masks, KN95 and N95 masks. The carrier is also requiring face masks to be doubled for connecting passengers in Lima, even if they remain on the plane.

Mask sign

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

While cloth face masks are generally permitted in the United States, several domestic carriers have restricted other types of face coverings with many prohibitive features like exhaust valves. Delta Air Lines prohibits bandanas, scarves, masks with exhaust valves, and all masks with slits, punctures or holes. Similarly, United Airlines bans bandanas and specifies that a face shield alone is not considered adequate protection.

For its part, Southwest bans bandanas, scarves, ski masks, balaclavas and single-layer masks; American Airlines bans balaclavas, bandanas, exhaust valves, scarves and gaiters; JetBlue does not allow masks connected to tubes or battery operated filters; and Hawaiian Airlines will not accept scarves, ski masks, balaclavas and bandanas.

On Wednesday, the Transportation Security Administration extended the federal mandate for masks to January 2022, requiring face coverings to be worn on all public transportation, including on planes and at airports. The mandate was first implemented in January and was previously scheduled to end on September 13.

Alison Fox is a writer for Travel + Leisure. When not in New York, she enjoys spending her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow his adventures on Instagram.

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