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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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  • Af says:

    I don’t know how anyone can look at the comparative data from England, Scotland, Sweden and Germany and conclude with a straight face that ‘masks work’.

    Sure, there’s evidence that very high quality N95 masks work, but a population-wide cloth mask mandate was clearly about as much use as a chocolate teapot.

    • Nick Burch says:

      Amongst unvaccinated it seems to. Probably the most famous study on that is “The Impact of Community Masking on COVID-19: A Cluster-Randomized Trial in Bangladesh”

      Plenty of recent evidence amongst unvaccinated school kids that masking helps with spread too

      However… Outside of clinical settings with well fitted and carefully worn masks, I haven’t found any studies showing masks make any noticeable difference with double (let alone triple) vaccinated individuals

      • meta says:

        But that’s the thing, still a lot of unvaccinated people around and let’s not forget that the majority of the world’s population still hasn’t even got the first dose, let alone a second or third dose.

        • Nick Burch says:

          But those people aren’t likely to be on a BA flight, are they? With many countries still having severe entry restrictions on the unvaccinated, almost everyone on a BA international flight will have had to be vaccinated.

          I can see some argument domestic flights in some countries (eg US) keeping it, since you don’t have to be jabbed to fly domestically in most places. Otherwise, if most people on a plane are vaccinated, given the lack of real-world evidence for mask effectiveness amongst the vaccinated, why require them?

      • JerrySignfield says:

        I really doubt that is the case

      • Af says:

        The Bangladesh paper is an interesting one. When I read it it struck me as providing pretty robust evidence that masks don’t do very much but given the scientific leanings of the time it was written, the authors wrote it in a style that played up the small positive effects.

        The school data has always felt more like a proxy for teachers enforcing stricter social distancing to me, and/or children seeing masks as abnormal and naturally keeping their distance more. It doesn’t make sense to me that they’d work in schools but be so marginal at the population level otherwise.

    • Yorkieflyer says:

      Well we use china teapots (FFP2) indoors ever since the free for all started

  • Paul says:

    Another one bites the dust. Come on Virgin & BA, sort yourselves out and get rid of the face nappy!

  • Jacob says:

    While the US government extended the face mask mandate on planes by a month (was meant to expire next week)

    • Ben says:

      That is also the shortest extension they’ve done, and with all the states dropping mask mandates within the next month I can’t see it persisting much past that.

  • NorthernLass says:

    What’s the mask situation in the T5 lounges? I’ll be in the CCR at the end of the month and then south lounge coming back a few days later.

    • WaynedP says:

      Same as flying J – discreetly nurse a drink in a quiet corner and no one will bother you to mask up.

      • NorthernLass says:


      • Bimbo says:

        No one will bother you anyway. Been to the T5 lounges a number of times over the last 2 years. In the last 12 months, no one really cares. I think most people follow the convention of the old restaurant rules – if you’re not seating, wear a mask. So really no need to go for a quiet corner and keep sipping on a drink. Last few times I had no mask at all, and no one bat an eye anywhere except the gate.

    • Andrew says:

      And just put on to walk about.

    • Jack Hodgson says:

      just need to wear it in terminal and walking around no need when seated. have a wonderful flight

  • ayearinmx says:

    it was pretty frustrating flying back from Italy, having to purchase the N95 FFP2 masks as that is what is required, to then board the plane and the BA crew were still using the blue surgical masks….

    • Save East Coast Rewards says:

      BA don’t care about Italian rules. Last time flying back to Bologna the crew had out of date info and said you need surgical or FFP2 masks (the rule used to be no cloth masks, but was changed to FFP2 or better). On another flight a passenger near me asked if they could take their FFP2 off and use a cloth mask after take off. The crew member said don’t worry you can do it now.

  • Gordon says:

    BA cancelled our flight to PUJ on 3 separate occasions over the last 18 months even though the country was open, The old “operational reasons” Again blah blah blah.There’s only a certain amount of inconvenience one can take trying to chase status/Avios.
    So had enough and booked with Tui Premium economy instead.So the the face coving news is a bonus for me. Apparently Tui is a better premium economy experience than BA anyway.
    P.S. Received my taxes and avios refund from the C.V. FTV this morning so I will put that to better use.

    • Londonsteve says:

      I would be very interested to learn how TUI Economy and Premium Economy for cash compares with BA in WT and WTP when spending Avios (and cash). I wonder if TUI is actually the better on-board experience these days? In my experience the charter airlines try to inject a bit of glamour and fun into the experience since everyone is going on hols and is generally not a frequent flyer. Smiles, a good hot meal, a glass of free bubbly, that sort of thing.

  • Jitesh says:

    I wear ffp3 masks generally. I do appreciate the mask rules and would opt to fly an airline which at least mandates it. My experience of BA has been good although YMMV

    • Chris says:

      Serious question: will you do this for the rest of your life? Covid is not going away, ever.
      And why weren’t you doing it before Covid? MERS and flu were still around.

      • Jack says:

        we all know it is not going away masks on planes are a additional measure to keep people safe at a time were lots are still dying with covid. Mers and Flu are not anywhere near as contagious as Covid is it is a cloth mask it is really not a big deal can still fly with one and have a great time, they will be mandatory for a while

  • Graeme says:

    It needs to be dropped on long haul, at least to the point where you don’t need to wear one whilst seated. A cloth mask on an aircraft is probably not going to stop you catching Covid if you’re sitting next to someone who has it, for 10+ hours anyway.

    • Andrew says:

      And don’t the airlines like to tell us that the air is safe anyway?

    • Gordon says:

      I agree….

    • TGLoyalty says:

      What’s the point when you’re standing if you don’t need it when seated

      Nonsense “rules” which has no basis in science. Anyway time to get rid of mandatory masking and let people who want to mask wear proper N95 masks and change after c4 hours use

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