Lufthansa Now Requiring Coronavirus Test To Fly Without Mask

Filed Under: Lufthansa

Want to fly Lufthansa without a mask? The German flag carrier is taking an interesting approach towards tightening its policy for those with “medical exceptions” that prevent them from wearing a mask.

Lufthansa will require coronavirus test to fly without mask

Currently Lufthansa’s policy is that everyone has to wear a mask onboard flights, except those under the age of six, and those “not allowed to wear a mask for health reasons.”  While a health form has already been required in order to fly without a mask, the airline is now also adding a coronavirus test requirement.

Going forward, if you want an exception to the face mask policy, you’ll need to:

Note that:

  • This policy applies no later than September 1, 2020, though in practice is already being rolled out earlier
  • This applies across Lufthansa Group airlines, including Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian, Eurowings, etc.

Lufthansa Group airlines have been requiring that passengers wear masks since May, and up until now exceptions only applied for those with medical documents. The new rules are supposed to ensure even better protection for passengers.

Lufthansa now requires a coronavirus test to fly without a mask

This is still more open-ended than US airlines

Over the past few weeks we’ve seen US airlines go from worst to first when it comes to face mask enforcement. US airlines similarly had exceptions for those with medical conditions allowing them to not wear mask.

But we live in a country where a lot of people value “freedom” over other peoples’ safety, and “I believe in God’s breathing system” isn’t a good reason for a medical exemption.

As a result we’ve seen several airlines completely eliminate medical exemptions for flying without masks, meaning that if you want to fly you’ll need to wear a mask. Not only that, but passengers who haven’t cooperated have been banned, and combined US airlines have banned over 300 passengers since the pandemic started.

US airlines have stepped up enforcement of face mask policies

Bottom line

If you’re still going to allow exceptions for mask policies, then I think Lufthansa’s policy is exactly right. Not only is a doctor’s note needed, but you need to get a coronavirus test to minimize the odds of you having coronavirus and spreading it to others.

What do you make of Lufthansa’s new testing requirement to fly without a mask?

  1. Can’t wait for the anti-maskers to keep crying over this one too, and giving us the same ol’ garbage reasons that have been refuted 100 times.

  2. this one makes no sense! what if someone got infected from a passenger in the terminal and now they are asymptomatic. that could make things riskier.

    “y’all refused to wear a mask for 2 months, and now you have to wear it for 2 years.” thanks a lot anti-maskers and Karens

    karenavirus (KAVID-20) is more contagious than coronavirus jeez

  3. How does the mask requirement work in practice for long haul flights? I believe it’s considered unsafe to sleep with a mask on, so are passengers expected to stay awake on a 10-hour overnight flight?

  4. @Jim:
    I recently flew AC from Montreal to Frankfurt: that is a 6.5h flight and the mask had to be worn throughout the flight. FA used a flashlight to check of mask actually is worn.

    If somebody gets infected after the test he/she wouldn’t immediately be infectious. Assuming that the person got infected 4 days before taking the test which then still showed negative, yes, than until flying the person could infect others. So there is no 100% Protection.
    But taking the test reduces the risk of spreading the infection and that is better than nothing. In addition, it makes it more
    Difficult to fly without a mask. Lufthansa has an interest that there is nobody on a plane without a mask as this will cause discussions between passengers and crews.

    If your approach is that only a measurement that protects 100% is a good measurement and if you think a measurement that protects 80% or maybe 50% „makes no sense at all“ then the only Action you can take is complete Self Isolation (and I am not even sure if that is 100% protection).

  5. @Jim, I fell asleep in J on IAD-AMS and my mask fell off at some point while I was sleeping. It wasn’t intentional, but nobody woke me up or even checked as far as I know. FWIW, the KLM crew didn’t wear masks while in the galley (I was in row 1 and could see around the curtain), they only put them on when they entered the passenger cabins. So I doubt they’re too strict with it.

  6. From CDC’s website (“How to Protect Yourself & Others” dated July 31):

    “Masks should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.”

    I guess a sleeping person is unconscious, so they shouldn’t wear a mask while sleeping. I don’t mind staying up on long-haul overnight flights, but just want to be clear if airlines expect that or not.

  7. @jim sleeping is not being unconscious. Intentionally misinterpreting data to suit your narrative is embarrassing, at this point you might as well not sleep with a blanket or pillow since that’s a hazard too.

  8. This is a great idea and a step in the right direction. Instead of stupidly requiring everyone to wear a mask, we start targeting those that are actually infected with SARS-CoV-2.

  9. @jim Being asleep is not the same as being unconscious. A sleeping person will respond to loud noises or gentle shaking. An unconscious person will not.

  10. Well, then I will avoid them. There are plenty of EU airlines that do not enforce mask-wearing in practice – SAS, BA, LOT, Belavia, CSA, Amapola Flyg, easyJet, KLM…

    They will soon relax it – holidays end soon, then almost no one will be flying. Especially that business travellers are especially opposed to masks :))

  11. I did a lot of Googling around and I’m surprised I couldn’t find clear guidance from an authority about sleeping with face masks on. If it’s safe, they should state that but I could find little information either way.

    I did find some from the Minnesota Department of Health in a document titled “Face Covering Requirements and Recommendations under Executive Order 20-81”:

    “People exempted from the face covering requirement

    Any person who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, sleeping, incapacitated, or is otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance.”

    As I read it, they have chosen to exempt people who are sleeping from the face mask requirement. I’m not an anti-masker at all — I wear them every day. I just want to be clear what is safe to do when flying long-haul when it comes to sleeping. I’m fine with staying awake the whole flight with my mask on, if that’s what is best.

    Can anyone point to clear guidance for a health authority on sleeping with face masks on?

  12. According to CDC PDF flyer “How You can Protect Others from COVID-19
    in Shelters: When to Wear a Mask” (google it):
    “Wear a mask* any time you are not in an individual room, on your bed or mat,
    eating , or sleeping.”

  13. Asymptomatic spread has been thoroughly disproven. Healthy people should not be wearing masks. This is all dumb.

  14. @Johan – Even LX is more or less ignoring the masking rules that come from Frankfurt. In the end of the day, airlines are businesses and need customers to make money, which is why they eventually have to adapt to local customs. That’s why we see US airlines being superstrict on masks, which aparantely are a big deal in America, while many European airlines from mask-free locations (e.g. OK, SK, LX) turn a blind eye.

  15. @Max

    Why can’t people that are afraid of second hand smoking just stay home? Then we can have the freedom to smoke anywhere!

    Why can’t people that are afraid of car crashes just stay home? Then we wouldn’t have to bother stopping at red lights!

    Why can’t people that are afraid of breathing car exhaust just stay home? Then we wouldn’t need all those costly emission control systems!

  16. This policy does seem better than the US no-nuance policies.

    It is reasonable to believe that we should not have bogus medical exemptions and also believe that we should not turn planes around because an autistic three-year-old can not keep a mask on…

  17. lol at all the anti-maskers who can’t seem to read. I suppose that’s why they have trouble understanding mask studies.

    This isn’t a test in lieu of medical exemption, this is a test in ADDITION to a medical exemption. Learn to read.

  18. Sleeping with a Surgical mask is safe, even for people with obstructive sleep apnea. Full stop.

    Asymptomatic spread happens. Full stop.

    Oh and 1/3 the reason you wear a mask is, that if you are careful, it might reduce u catching the disease.

    You can seek a negative test result and achieve it, so this test can be cheated, especially if both the tester and tested have an incentive to get a negative result.

    There is zero reason for recreational international travel for the next 18 months. U can do it, but it will result in propagation of a disease that will kill 100,000’s of extra people who were going to the post office or had to go to work so they wouldn’t be homeless. It will result in an extra longer shut down of schools and offices. Suck it up and minimize crowded spaces.

  19. @Ak – The disease isn’t going away. We can’t stop life forever.

    I’m in a location which has been back to business as usual for the last two months (Prague) and nothing happened. Yes, new cases skyrocketed, but deaths and hospitalisations remain low. The key is to protect the vulnerable, not to shut life down forever, which is just gonna cause more problems.

  20. Looks to me like the so called “doctors” who wrote fake notes for the people who just had to fly with their pets (you know, those who didn’t want to pay the fee or follow the temperature rules) now have a new revenue stream. They can now write notes for the anti-maskers!

    Free enterprise at its best!

  21. @Jim I’ve flown on 10 hour redeye flights in which I had to sleep with my mask on. It wasn’t much of a problem at all. I woke up fine and well-rested.

  22. @Bob Doll – please explain how my friend caught the virus then, when no-one he came in contact had it, yet he caught it. He was also asymptomatic himself and could’ve continued to spread out, had he not been tested.

    @Jim – who cares? I wore a mask on a 12h flight making my way home last month and you can sleep with it on just fine. This was on LH fyi and the staff wasn’t exactly busy telling people off when it came to not wearing the masks. But hey, maybe you should only fly in Minnesota, at least you won’t get in trouble there if you nod off without a mask on.

  23. @TLS

    Cool random anecdote story about friend of maybe never left his basement and maybe got virus etc etc. Is large scale asymptomatic spread an issue? The answer is definitively no.

    There are numerous large scale contact trading studies that refute the idea of asymptomatic spread. The WHO themselves came out in June and basically said asymptomatic spread was “very rare”. Soon after, they walked it back completely when push back from tyrannical idiots who used AS as an excuse to institute destructive lock downs, and masked mandates would no longer be able to justify their insane power trips.

  24. @ Bob Doll — Asymptomatic spread (which has not been “thoroughly disproven” anyway) is not the same as pre-symptomatic spread. Scientists and epidemiologists agree that there is a window of time (averaging about two days beforehand) where a person who has been infected with SARS-Cov-2, but is not yet showing signs or symptoms of Covid-19, is contagious. And that’s where most infections are coming from at this point; people who think they are “healthy”, but then wake up three days later with a cough or headache, who have exposed countless people in the interim.

    Hence, masks for everyone.

  25. Not sure why more airlines aren’t rolling out the red carpet for those that have recovered. There would be no scientific need to wear a mask if you could produce proof of having Covid, recovering and then having the antibodies. Then you can’t get it and can’t give it to anyone. Even Gates who wants to vaccinate the world has been quoted as saying the vaccination (when available) OR proof of recovery and the antibodies would be sufficient.

  26. @David

    You seem to be a self-proclaimed expert on the benefits of mask wearing. Can you point us to the published peer-reviewed study that shows how masks are able to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2 when worn by individuals uninfected with the virus?

    I already understand the psychological benefits of providing a soothing reassurance to cowards or to incorrectly erring on the side caution in the name of asymptomatic spread. Rather, I’m searching for that elusive and irrefutable scientific basis — seemingly common knowledge to pro-maskers — that anti-maskers are alleged to not understand or possess.

  27. @Roger – See Taiwan. Very little spread, only seven deaths, as people used masks here before this pandemic if they were sick. As such it was perfectly normal to do so during a pandemic. No other nation has gone longer without local cases.

  28. @Roger

    Your comment is filled with loaded terms and ignorant assumptions.
    1. There is no such thing as “irrefutable scientific basis”, that’s not how science works. Even Newton or Einstein’s theories are refutable. Learn how science works before offering public health advice.
    2. You assume people can readily tell if they are uninflected, which is not true because of both asymptomatic spread AND pre-symptomatic spread. Tiffany offers a helpful explanation of the difference above.
    3. You seem confused about pre-symptomatic vs asymptomatic.
    4. There are plenty of evidence from prestigious peer reviewed journals about the effectiveness of mask use. A quick Google with “mask effectiveness” and Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine, Nature etc. would easily yield the entries. Since you seem unfamiliar with the scientific method or community, those are the most prestigious journals on medicine and science, not the “typed from a basement” or outdated articles anti-maskers like to cite.
    5. As to why wear masks if there’s no “guarantee” it will be effective. The same seat people wear seatbelts, or get vaccines (which are not 100% effective either, by the way), because it might help and the cost-benefit checks out. There is little cost to wearing a mask unless you’re so self absorbed that you believe putting a cloth on your face is more important the a chance at saving lives.

  29. @TLS – that’s bulls*it. Taiwan is an island with strict border controls and broad testing. Masks have nothing to do with that. Do yourself a favour and compare the stats of fully mask-wearing countries like Spain, Japan and Brazil (masks worn even outside) with mask-free countries (Estonia, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Netherlands, Switzerland, Czechia).

    If you come up with Taiwan as a relevant example, then I can come up with New Zealand – mask-free island that had almost a month with no local transmission at all. Masks are just a placebo. Accept this simple fact.

  30. @Ben ( Lucky) , I posted here, yesterday Aug 24,2020 the following;

    I Mask We Mask
    You Mask They Mask
    He,She Mask………………..thank you Wuhan, China.

    I see today that it has been removed. Why ? ( It was just a parody of a verb conjugation, even if a mask is not a verb but rather a noun)

  31. @David

    1. Of course anything is refutable in theory. You could refute that 2+2=4, or that the Earth revolves around the Sun, but you’ll be hard pressed to provide evidence to support. More specifically on my point, I’m seeking more clarity on the same ol’ garbage reasons that have been refuted 100 times. A valid reason for not wearing a mask is that a person is uninfected and therefore incapable of spreading a virus. Can you refute this claim?

    2. 3. I am familiar with the difference between asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic, both of which refer to individuals carrying a virus. I’m talking about individuals that are not carrying the virus. There are many tests available for ascertaining and confirming this condition. Why not use one of them instead of guessing, hence my appreciation of Lufthansa’s approach.

    4. I have read dozens of articles on this topic and I have yet to discover one that fails to pre-suppose that the transmitting entity is carrying an infectious disease. The reason is quite simple: it is impossible for an uninfected person to spread a virus they do not possess. It is therefore illogical for an uninfected person to be asked to wear a mask. Based on this, it is not unreasonable for an uninfected person to be opposed to wearing a mask, a token action and inconvenience that — in their scenario — can do nothing to slow the spread.

    5. I never understand your seatbelt example. Are you suggesting that some people are constructed in such a fashion that a seatbelt is ineffective under all conditions? Your comparison is otherwise apples to oranges. A mask might help prevent the spread if the person wearing it is infected with SARS-CoV-2, just like a seatbelt might help if a person is involved in a serious car accident. Of course. What I’m stating is that a mask cannot help prevent the spread if the person wearing it is not infected with SARS-CoV-2. There is no analogy to this with wearing a seatbelt or to the dangers of second-hand smoke or to any other silly comparison that pro-maskers keep peddling. It is a fact that seatbelts are potentially beneficial to all that wear them. It is a fact that second-hand smoke is potentially harmful to all that inhale it. It is NOT a fact that cloth masks are potentially beneficial when worn by anyone. They must be worn by infected individuals for a non negligible benefit to exist.

  32. @Roger

    So your entire argument revolves around somehow knowing an individual is uninfected all the time. Sure, if you have a test that is accurate, fast and readily available to everyone at all times, then there might be some merit to your point, except there:
    1. is no test that is 100% accurate
    2. usually the faster the test, the lower the accuracy and
    3. tests which are both fast and accurate will likely be limited in supply, or high in price, both lowering availability
    Finally, the most important point:
    4. There is no testing capability for entire countries. At best you can test a small slice of the entire population once or twice, someone who isn’t infected today could well be infected tomorrow.

    So your assumption that testing alone will catch all infected individuals is a fantasy.

    And how am I suggesting seatbelts are ineffective under all conditions? Am I suggesting masks are ineffective under all conditions? Seatbelts are not effective under a very small set of conditions, but it’s no reason to refute the use of seatbelts. The same applies to vaccines (which you of course dodge, and start talking about second hand smoke which I never even used as an example).

  33. This would be discrimination against those with health conditions. This shoulde be easily challenged at the ECHR.

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