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Facemaskgate: BA isn’t sure which countries require one, so until they work it out ….

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The British Airways face mask saga continues, and if anything it gets weirder.

On Monday, British Airways announced that face masks would not be required from Wednesday except where required by law.

Just before the policy was about to go live, British Airways withdrew their guidance. Crew were told to ensure that mask wearing continued and all references to the new policy were withdrawn from ba.com – although they remained prominent on social media.

British Airways face mask policy

During Thursday, British Airways published a new policy on ba.com:

“The legal requirement to wear a face covering has now been removed in England and Wales and we have updated our face mask policy.

Customers are no longer required to wear a mask at some airports in England.

However, as an international airline flying all around the world, we are obliged to ensure our customers continue to comply with local restrictions and meet the requirements of the destination they arrive at.

Therefore, we ask you to check the requirements of the destination you’re flying to before departing for the airport, as:

  • If you are travelling on our flights, you will be required to wear a mask on board if the destination you are flying to or from requires you to
  • If you are travelling on our flights, you will be required to wear a mask to disembark the aircraft, and at your arrival airport, if the destination you are flying to requires it

Where we are unsure or have not been able to clarify the local restrictions, we will still require you to wear face coverings, and we ask that you continue to carry masks with you for the duration of your journey.

For destinations where we have established that the wearing of a face covering is not mandated, you are able to make a personal choice and we kindly request everyone respects each other’s preferences.”

It sounds odd, but it seems that British Airways is unable to find out which countries require a face mask and which don’t. Where there is no certainty, a mask will still be required.

This makes some sense, of course. Regulation is a difficult and complex area.

What doesn’t make sense ….

What doesn’t make sense is that we have reports of, for example, passengers being told to wear masks on Heathrow to Manchester domestic services and others being told that the mask requirement will not be decided until after boarding.

It also isn’t clear why BA isn’t willing to publish a list of destinations where it is requiring masks.

Meanwhile, a BA CityFlyer employee working out of London City Airport posted on Flyertalk on Thursday afternoon that:

“Latest crew guidance is that masks are not required for domestic flights within England and Northern Ireland, and to/from Ireland. Still required for other destinations, in both directions.

I get a feeling that this saga will continue until at least 18th April, which is the date at which the US is expected to remove the mask requirement for airline passengers.


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Comments (63)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Chris says:

    My pre departure email from johannesburg for Saturday says this:

    Please continue to travel with a mask, as you still may be required to wear one on board your flight. If this is the case, we’ll let you know when you’re at the boarding gate and on board. You are no longer required to wear a mask at some airports in England, including London Heathrow.

  • TimM says:

    I quite liked the idea of a BA “face mask sage” but it turned out to be a typo 🙁

  • NigelthePensionerr says:

    I think the saga will end at 23.59 on 1st April! How ridiculous!

  • Andrew J says:

    This is too funny! BA really know how to create a PR mess don’t they. I can imagine the captain coming on the PA before departure “If anyone is aware of the mask policy for our destination today, please make themselves known to a member of the cabin crew”.

  • MaríaJ says:

    I was on a flight to Heathrow yesterday and we were told to wear them on the flight and at the airport.

  • Nick says:

    This is so typical of BA, and exposes, yet again, a clearly very poor organisational structure within a large corporation! A load of headless chickens running around, with their left foot not knowing what their right foot is doing!

    • CarpalTravel says:

      Not very reassuring is it that they cannot even work this out. What hope of transporting you, your family and belongings safely thousands of miles across the skies at 30,000+ft? Of course I exaggerate, they are totally different things, but travelling is a stressful process at the best of times. They are making that worse with this.

  • The Original Nick says:

    I’ll be boarding BA890 in about 30 minutess so I’ll report back.

  • The Original Nick says:

    *minutes.

    • StanTheMan says:

      Thanks for clarifying. Had no idea what you could have meant by “30 minutess”

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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