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Tui follows Jet2 and drops the requirement for a face mask

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Nine days ago, low cost carrier Jet2 became the first UK airline to remove the requirement to wear a face mask on its flights.

Tui has now put additional pressure on British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Ryanair and easyJet by also scrapping face masks.

According to the updated Tui website:

“It’s no longer a legal requirement for those travelling to or from England or Northern Ireland to wear a face mask during their TUI Airways flight, but – in accordance with UK government and EU Charter guidance – we do still strongly recommend that you do so.

It’s really important that everyone aged 12 and over flying to or from Wales or Scotland wears a mask throughout their journey, even if they’re fully vaccinated.

No matter which UK nation you’re flying to or from: If you’re flying to the USA, everyone aged 2 and over must wear a mask throughout your flight – this is mandatory. If you’re medically exempt, you must carry evidence of this. Just so you know, Sunflower Lanyards are not accepted as evidence.

No matter which UK nation you’re flying to or from: If you’re flying to Italy, everyone aged 6 and over must wear an FFP2 mask throughout your flight – this is mandatory. If you’re medically exempt, you must carry evidence of this. Just so you know, Sunflower Lanyards are not accepted as evidence.”

Masks have not been required for domestic flights in Scandinavia for some time, of course.

For British Airways mask removal is likely to be a commercial rather than a legal issue. Some people will refuse to fly if the airline removes mask requirements. Some people will refuse to fly if the airline retains face masks. Until the first group becomes smaller than the second group, you can expect restrictions at BA to continue.

Comments (125)

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  • Aaron C says:

    Surely the commercial pressures are the same for, TUI, and BA? Are BA flyers a more nervous cohort than TUI holidaymakers?

    • Edwin says:

      Of course the pressures are different as they have different market positions and relatedly potential customers with different backgrounds, which leads to different views on wearing masks.

    • Thegasman says:

      That’s a bit like saying someone sat on centre court at Wimbledon would have the same opinion on something as someone behind the goal at Turf Moor as they’re both sports fans!

  • Andrew says:

    Come on BA! It’s time to move on from all this. That goes for you too Heathrow Airport!

    • BJ says:

      Don’t get your hopes built up, if hospital admissions continue increasing it may return to the point they are mandatory again.

      • meta says:

        Mask wearing wasn’t enforced much on BA anyway even during the height of pandemic.

        • Blair Waldorf Salad says:

          My last BACF flight had passengers board without masks, continue to not wear a mask even when the announcement was made when boarding was completed, walk to the toilets without a mask. The crew certainly didn’t seem inclined to raise the matter. On Emirates, twice in the last fortnight, regular announcements on screen for passengers to helpfully remind any fellow passengers around them who may have forgotten to put their masks back on. However in the F cabin, there seemed to be uniform non-wearing of masks once seated – whether or not food or drink was present. So there’s a bit of de facto mask-free flying going on already with crew inaction.

          • Londonsteve says:

            On my recent flights with BA some cabin crew were chatting unmasked in the galley, irrespective of the fact that passengers were coming to and fro to inspect the plumbing.

      • JerrySignfield says:

        Doubt it!

      • Char Char says:

        Don’t worry BJ you can continue to triple mask for as long as you want

  • Kevin Duff says:

    Interesting about not accepting the sunflower lanyards/requiring proof of exemption; as far as I know, the government website says that there is no such thing as ‘proof of exemption’ that you can get hold of. Certainly nothing that a busy doctor’s surgery can provide.

    • Pete says:

      Too many people have bought those lanyards of ebay and sadly abused what is a very good and simple system.

      • Jason K says:

        … perhaps suggesting it isn’t such a good “system” after all.

      • Yorkieflyer says:

        No such thing as this nonsense of “I’m exempt” in such as Spain and South Africa. I guess it’s why we’re where we are with cases albeit milder soaring

        • Yuff says:

          They also rose in Spain with more restrictions than the UK.
          Hong Kong has seen a massive rise in cases and one would expect mask wearing there to be extremely high.

          • John says:

            It was illegal to wear a mask in Hong Kong in March 2020. Now masks are technically both illegal and mandatory at the same time

        • JerrySignfield says:

          I highly doubt any masking would prevent any soaring cases

    • Tim says:

      There are very few people who genuinely cannot wear masks. People with severe facial injuries, people on oxygen and s people with severe mental illness coverin most of them. The lanyards were abused my people who simply did not like wearing them or found they made them feel a bit anxious or uncomfortable and then convinced themselves that the anxiety or discomfort was a serious medical thing.

      • John says:

        In England and probably the other UK countries too, anxiety or distress is/was a valid exemption.

        • Blair Waldorf Salad says:

          Yep, there’s very little a non-busy private GP can’t provide to a paying patient by way of certification.

        • Yorkieflyer says:

          ah yes, the snowflakes with sunflowers

      • Archie says:

        I’ve been wearing the lanyard on all BA flights for the past year or so with no issues. Of course my exemption is all BS, but so is the requirement in the first place. The whole mask mandate is simply theatre now. No doubt some will be wedded to theirs forever more, and that’s fine, just don’t look to impose it on others.

        • Blair Waldorf Salad says:

          Archie, this is why we need a HfP dating service. Bringing likeminded people together. New forum perhaps?

        • SP says:

          I couldn’t care less whether you’re wearing a mask or not, and I’d like to see the requirement to wear masks dropped, but don’t abuse a system that is designed to help people with genuine issues. If half the plane turns up wearing a sunflower lanyard just because they don’t want to wear a mask, then the people who genuinely might need some extra support from staff won’t be getting it.

          • Brian says:

            What ‘extra support’ do they need from staff on a plane in this case???

        • Talay says:

          I’ve always been immune to bullshit and thus by definition, exempt from wearing a face nappy.

          I don’t wear one, never have and never will. If absolutely pushed, I might wear one from the gate to my business or first seating and then close the door.

      • Yorkieflyer says:

        yes, funny how many folk with lanyards we’ve seen in airports in the UK who were somehow able to pop one on after landing in Spain

      • Lady London says:

        My dentist’s assistant cannot wear a mask for long surgeries. She’s struggling after 45 mins, and literally impossible to breathe if it goes over 1 hour. I’ve seen, it’s like asthma symptoms. Luckily my dentist and the surgery are working round this, she is fantastic at her job.

        Of course the masking and protection dentists have as their protocol now is the heaviest-duty version.short of a hazmat suit so far as I can tell. OT I contrast this.with GP’s who just stopped seeing patients instead of sorting out proper PPE like the dentists did, as a profession, and continued to.see as many patients as the obligatory airing and cleaning gaps allowed.

    • abc says:

      That’s the UK government though. They are talking about international flights, though, and so the rules regarding having to wear masks and maks exceptions depend on their rules, no the UK ones.

  • BJ says:

    EasyJet and Ryanair yes, I doubt BA and Virgin feel any additional pressure whatsoever.

  • Paul says:

    I think BA will move soon. On my flight this week the aircrew took no notice of masks not covering noses or mouths and I was far from the only one who wasn’t wearing it properly.

  • Yuff says:

    Judging from the cheer on the jet 2 flight yesterday, when the mask policy was announced, the first group is already smaller

    • Andrew says:

      And judging by it being, I would estimate from a visual scan, about 1% of people in shops wearing masks now – people are done with wearing them. It’s interesting the shift – throughout the periods of non-mandatory masks there was always at least 30% who continued to wear, but now it’s a very small proportion.

      • Blair Waldorf Salad says:

        In my big M&S, zero mask wearing except for people over 70 who were nearly entirely masked. Which in a voluntary situation you’d have expected to be the case both now and indeed for the past 2 years.

        • John says:

          But are they wearing effective masks that protect the wearer?

          • Mike says:

            I’ve found those who vigorously mouth off about others not wearing masks seem, at best, to be wearing an ill fitting surgical mask and often just cloth masks. I would hope those who are that worried should wear as a minimum a n95/ffp2 mask and preferably a n99/ffp3, it’s not like they are hard to get 2 years into a pandemic.

          • Rob says:

            The problem is that you are meant to replace an FFP2 mask every time you remove it, or it won’t seal properly (not that I’ve ever seen anyone who knows how to seal them or what the little tool that comes in the box is for). This means 5+ for a long-haul flight and probably 50 for a week-long holiday, if you want them to be effective.

      • ianM says:

        Presume you are in England.

        Personally I don’t have a problem continuing to wear a face covering in public spaces, I’ve had the longest period ever without any colds and sniffles

    • Gumshoe says:

      I assume BA has access to some slightly more reliable market research than a planeload of Jet2 passengers.

    • Yorkieflyer says:

      The larger being stupider

  • Hardpack says:

    The sunflower people are “Exempt” …..from what? Spreading viruses maybe?

  • Dennis says:

    Well currently I’m on my 4th day of Covid, it is only a nose cold now! Everyone is getting it now! Going to Antigua in April and they have just dropped masks in public places and the need to test before you go there! So everything is back to normal apart from masks on flights (8 hrs!). Drop the masks so we can have normality back!

    • Yorkieflyer says:

      Mmm, you do know you need to have a negative PCR test for Antigua?

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