You may need to do more than remember to pack your mask the next time you fly. You might want to bring the correct sort and leave the fabric masks at home.
According to The Washington Post, several airlines, mostly in Europe, have banned the use of fabric masks. Travelers must use surgical masks, KN95 or N95 masks without a valve, or FFP2 masks.
Finnair was the most recent European airline to prohibit the use of cotton masks, while other carriers, such as Lufthansa, have had a similar policy in place since February 1. When flying, Air France also demands surgical masks.
American Airlines, on the other hand, are more forgiving, even as the Delta variety expands. To this day, no US aircraft carrier has prohibited the use of cloth masks.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “the filtering effectiveness of fabric masks is generally lower than that of medical masks and respirators; nonetheless, cloth masks may provide some protection if carefully designed and used correctly.”
Other sorts of face coverings are, however, prohibited on American airlines. Ski masks, scarves, and bandanas are almost universally prohibited.
According to the Transportation Security Administration, masks are currently mandatory in U.S. airports, aircraft, trains, buses, and all other modes of public transportation until at least mid-January 2022. (TSA).
N95 masks were initially difficult to come by due to high demand at the outset of the pandemic, but there are now plenty available.
According to the CDC, KN95 masks are a less expensive alternative if they “meet requirements similar to those imposed by the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) for respirators.”
Several reliable vendors, like N95 Medical Supplies, N95MaskCo, and Well Before, specialize in NIOSH-certified N95 and KN95 mask sales with reasonably rapid shipping.