Although the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the United States has recently stopped enforcing the federal face mask mandate, masking remains a necessity on several airlines, like Qatar Airways, whose national health agency has not modified face mask regulations… Unless you’re flying the airline’s much-lauded QSuite’s Business Class, of course.
Passengers traveling in QSuites are no longer required to wear a face mask while in the suite, but face masks must be worn at all other times, such as when walking down the aisle to use the restroom, and during boarding disembarkation.
The regulation change has not been made public, and Qatar Airways has not replied to requests for comment. In truth, the airline’s website still urges customers to wear a face mask, but flight attendants tell guests in Qsuites that they are not required to wear a mask in their suite.
Travelers in QSuites are exempt from the new restrictions, although passengers in Business Class on the Doha-based airline’s non-QSuite aircraft must still wear a face mask. Travelers who are medically exempt are still eligible for exemptions.
This isn’t the first time Qatar Airways has waived the face mask requirement for QSuite passengers, and the new policy appears to have been in effect since late December.
The theory is that the QSuite’s increased privacy makes it safe for guests to go mask-free if they so desire.
In early 2021, Cathay Pacific announced a similar policy that enabled Business Class customers to remove their face masks while lying totally flat.
At the time, a Cathay Pacific spokeswoman claimed that the spaciousness of Business Class seats, as well as dividers, allowed for more lenient restrictions to be applied to Business Class passengers.
Qatar Airways mandated all passengers to wear a face mask and a face shield during the peak of the pandemic.
Business Class passengers, on the other hand, were only required to wear a face shield during boarding and disembarkation, whilst all other passengers were required to wear one for the length of the journey.