HomeAirlinesBritish AirwaysBritish Airways backtracks on face coverings policy (mask wearing still required)

British Airways backtracks on face coverings policy (mask wearing still required)

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Update 17 March: British Airways has now attempted to clarify its position – follow this link for more details

48 hours ago, we first started to hear stories that British Airways was planning to remove its rule that requires passengers to wear face coverings on all flights. Less than 24 hours ago, British Airways announced that as of today, face coverings would only be required onboard flights where the relevant authority with jurisdiction over the flight requires masks to be worn. Now, a story has emerged which suggests that British Airways has had a change of heart.

Welcome On Board” is a British Airways flight attendant that posts on FlyerTalk from time to time and earlier today, this is what they posted:

“We’ve been told an issue which they cant disclose has arisen so masks will remain mandatory on all flights until further notice.

Great joy for the crew who will now have to police this after a jazzy social media campaign from BA about removal of masks from today.”

At the time of writing, the British Airways Twitter feed still shows the post from yesterday announcing the end of mandatory mask wearing on select flights from today…

a woman in a suit holding a mask

…but as there’s little reason to disbelieve the post on FlyerTalk, this appears to be out-of-date news (BA.com continues to say that mask wearing is mandatory on all flights but as that wording has been around for almost two years and as it wasn’t changed in line with yesterday’s announcement, that doesn’t give us any further insight into what is going on).

Virgin Atlantic was another airline that said that it would only be requiring passengers to wear masks onboard flights where they are still legally required and at the time of writing, that policy appears to still stand…

“As we learn to live with Covid-19, and with the legal requirement to wear a face mask now removed in England, at some airports and on certain routes, from Wednesday 16 March it will be customers’ personal choice to wear a face mask.”

…so it will be interesting to see if Virgin Atlantic reverses course as well or if it will find itself free of whatever issue British Airways seems to have stumbled upon.

Bottom line

This appears to be a developing story so I’ll post updates as and when I can but for now, it looks like British Airways has decided not to remove its rule that requires passengers to wear face coverings on all flights regardless of origin or destination. It remains unclear why the airline has chosen to change its mind so quickly but whatever reason British Airways has for this sudden change of heart, this won’t do much for passenger-crew relations.

My sympathies go out to all BA cabin crew who are now left to explain to an uninformed traveling public that contrary to any announcements they may have heard or read, mask wearing on all British Airways flights remains compulsory.

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