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A couple of days ago, British Airways announced that it would be dropping its rule that requires passengers to wear face coverings onboard all of its flights but then, 24 hours later, we heard that British Airways was telling staff that it was backtracking on that decision and that face coverings would continue to be required. It was hard to know what was going on. Now, finally, we have a bit more information.
This is the wording that you’ll now find on the British Airways website:
“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.”
Ok, so what it all means is that there won’t be a single, all-encompassing rule regarding face masks onboard British Airways flights…but we knew that already. We knew two days ago that face masks would still be required on flights to the United States and we knew most of the other things that British Airways has stated above.
The only thing that appears to be new here is the fact that British Airways cannot work out the rules that govern some of its routes and that for those routes, the wearing of face coverings will remain compulsory for the duration of the flights.
That’s all pretty logical (although it would be nice if BA would list the routes on which the rules remain unclear) so I’m not sure why BA felt the need to confuse matters yesterday. The original announcement didn’t list out which routes would and wouldn’t require passengers to wear a face covering onboard so BA should just have left things as they were and told customers to always carry a face mask just in case one is needed. Simple.
British Airways has now updated its website in an effort to clarify its rules around the wearing of masks on board its flights. Essentially, everyone should continue to carry a mask with them when they travel in case one is needed, and while a number of flights will not require passengers to wear masks at all, there will be times when a mask is needed upon arrival and when a mask will still need to be worn for the duration of a flight (depending on what the various authorities around the world have decreed).