Do you still have to wear a mask on a plane? Latest rules for the UK’s top airlines

Scotland 'three months behind England' on masks says reporter

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Face coverings are one of the main coronavirus restrictions implemented on public transport across the world, with plane travel being particularly tough on enforcing mandatory mask wearing. Many providers have scrapped the stringent rules in recent months, with the travel industry now fully ‘re-open’ for the busy season. Here’s everything you need to know about wearing masks on planes before catching a flight this summer.

Do you still have to wear a mask on the plane?

Mandatory face coverings in air travel were brought to an end on May 16, 2022.

Together, the European Union Aviation and Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) made the decision to remove mask-wearing recommendations, in line with the lifting of restrictions in a growing number of European countries.

On May 11, Patrick Ky, executive director of the EASA said: “For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel.

“Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them.”

While the decision to lift mandatory mask wearing has made flying ‘easier’ for many, it is still recommended that passengers who are unwell at the time of travel continue to wear a face covering.

Mr Ky of the EASA said: “A passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”

Despite the Europe-wide decision having been made earlier in May, many airlines have been operating with relaxed mask-wearing rules for even longer.

In fact, several major British airlines including easyJet and British Airways were the first to ease their rules on wearing masks on flights to the UK.

What are the rules for each airline?

Though some airlines have reduced the stringent rules surrounding face coverings, the exact guidelines for your flight will depend on the country you’re flying to or from, and the operator you choose to travel with.

For example, Norwegian Air has removed its mask-wearing policy from every flight across its network while British Airways still requires passengers to wear one onboard if the destination requires it.

Here are the specific rules for some of the UK’s most popular airlines.


The well-known budget airline asks all passengers aged six and over continue to wear a mask on routes where they are required.

Easyjet said: “Some of the countries we fly to still have laws in place that require passengers to wear masks on board their flight.”
This includes all flights to, from and within:

  • Germany
  • Egypt
  • Jordan
  • Kosovo
  • Luxembourg
  • Montenegro
  • Morocco
  • North Macedonia
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Turkey
  • Tunisia

All crew members follow the same rules that apply to passengers.

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British Airways

Similarly to easyJet, British Airways passengers will only be required to wear a mask on board if their destination requires it.

There are 37 destinations currently listed on the BA website that require passengers to wear a mask either:

  • On the outbound flight from the UK to the listed country
  • On the return flight back to the UK
  • In the terminal at the destination airport

You can access the full list of destinations here.


It is no longer a legal requirement for passengers onboard Jet2 flights to wear a mask, although the airline does warn passengers that they may have to wear a mask once they reach their destination


In a recent statement, the airline said: “Face masks will no longer be a legal requirement on TUI Airways flights to/from England, Northern Ireland and Wales, however in line with UK government and EU Charter guidance, we strongly recommend that you still wear a mask throughout your flight.”

Current guidance states that it is still mandatory for customers aged 12 and above travelling on TUI Airways to/from Scotland to wear a mask throughout their flight unless medically exempt.


All Ryanair passengers are expected to wear a mask on board and during the boarding process, aside from when eating and drinking or if medically exempt.

On their website, the airline states: “You must wear a face mask/covering in the airport and on board your flight.

“Some countries require this to be a surgical face mask… if you are travelling to/from/within Italy, Austria or Germany, it must be a FFP2 face mask.”

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