Germany Extends & Tightens Airplane Mask Rules

Germany Extends & Tightens Airplane Mask Rules

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Germany is certainly countering the trend. Not only has the country extended mask rules for airplanes, but Germany is even tightening the rules around which kinds of masks you have to wear.

Germany requiring masks on planes through April 2023

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s cabinet has this week approved new coronavirus measures for fall and winter. While these ideas were first floated earlier in August, they’re now official. Germany has extended its mask mandate for air travel through April 7, 2023, so you can expect to have to mask up on airplanes in Germany for well over seven more months.

Not only that, but Germany is tightening restrictions around the kinds of masks that travelers need to wear. As of October 1, 2022, you’ll have to wear N95-style masks in Germany. Currently you can also wear medical masks, though individual areas have been in some cases requiring higher quality masks.

These new rules are designed to anticipate an increase in coronavirus cases in the fall and winter, and to minimize the overall risk. While the German government is promising no more lockdowns and isn’t bringing back the requirement to test for travel, masking isn’t going anywhere.

Politically the timing of this isn’t great. Earlier this week, the German Chancellor flew from Germany to Canada maskless, along with roughly 80 people. It was claimed that the same mask rules don’t apply to government planes. That’s not exactly a great look, and not leading by example (as we’ve seen all too often).

Germany will require masks through April 2023

My take on Germany extending mask rules on planes

On a positive note, I do want to give Germany credit for one thing. If you are going to require masks, then I’m a fan of requiring N95-style masks. Masks provide vastly different levels of protection, so I’ve always found it a bit silly when a mask of any quality is permitted. Some people wear stretched cloth masks that sit half an inch off their face, while others wear masks that actually provide protection.

If you want a mask mandate to be meaningful, require proper masks that actually provide protection. So kudos to Germany on that.

As far as the general extension of the mask rules for flying go, a few thoughts:

  • I find it bizarre how Germany doesn’t require masking in crowded and poorly ventilated airports, while the country requires masking on planes; is that really a logical, risk-based approach?
  • Is this just going to be the new permanent normal in Germany? Coronavirus isn’t going anywhere, and we have great tools available to reduce the death risk, so what would need to happen for Germany to eventually lift a mask mandate?
  • It’s interesting to contrast Germany to Singapore, as the latter initially took a zero tolerance approach toward coronavirus, has been cautiously reopening, and is now lifting mask requirements at airports and on planes as of next week
  • I think these rules will make some people more likely to fly Lufthansa, but most people less likely to fly Lufthansa (purely based on the number of people you see choosing not to wear masks when it’s optional)

I’m curious to see if these regulations stick, or if Germany might backtrack. After all, a seven month extension is pretty significant.

Oddly Germany doesn’t require masks at airports

Bottom line

Germany is countering the trend, and will require masks to be worn on planes through April 7, 2023. Not only that, but the country will require N95-style masks to be worn, so your typical medical masks will no longer do the trick.

I’m curious to see how this situation evolves over time…

What do you make of Germany extending its mask mandate for travel?

Conversations (56)
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  1. Jan Guest

    And as I said: now law yet.
    They will scratch mask mandate. On Thursday they will communicate that there is no mask mandate anymore:

    https://www.rnd.de/politik/keine-maskenpflicht-mehr-im-flugzeug-auf-druck-der-fdp-73V5XNB7JZGS5AVQ2QBAT3DBCA.html

  2. Bruce Jones Guest

    We have cancelled our flight/vacation to Germany this November due to the mask requirements. Not going to do it. I guess there's no place like home.

  3. Andy Guest

    I will simply stop using Lufthansa

  4. Brian C Hill Guest

    I just switched my New York to Munich flight from Lufthansa to Austrian Air to avoid the mask mandate. The long-haul part is from New York to Vienna, and Austria doesn't require masks on planes anymore.

    It's truly enough already with the masks.

  5. Balkanrec Guest

    This is ridiculous...it won't help and annoys people especially watching politicians flying without masks
    Double standards ... Covid is here to stay , learn to live with it and drop the ridiculous mask rules Germany !

  6. UAfrequent_flier Guest

    TravelinWilly, I’m opposed to masks as I don’t need a government entity to make decisions for me, if ppl are insecure enough and they wish to wear a mask on their own, no issue taken. But do not mandate everyone wear one. Where I live there are people driving their own cars with no one in the car but the driver still wearing masks. I personally think if you are that insecure about things you...

    TravelinWilly, I’m opposed to masks as I don’t need a government entity to make decisions for me, if ppl are insecure enough and they wish to wear a mask on their own, no issue taken. But do not mandate everyone wear one. Where I live there are people driving their own cars with no one in the car but the driver still wearing masks. I personally think if you are that insecure about things you should stay home. I realize there are a thousand different reasons/excuses one can give why the do wear a mask. At this point it’s a to each their own issue IMHO. I’m just glad I’m flying TK next week rather than LH and will deter away from them as they are long duration flights for me.

  7. Debbie Skira Guest

    I personally, live close enough to the border that I will opt to drive a little further to fly out of Luxembourg, France or Belgium. Sick of masks and not going to wear them anymore, especially on a long flight!

  8. Christoffer Holmsteen Guest

    As an asthma patient, I will not be visiting Germany at all purely due to this requirement (also mandatory on trains) and will not be flying Lufthansa, until this is lifted.

    1. Christoffer Holmsteen Guest

      I should add reason being I simply cannot breathe through the N95 masks.

  9. James Hauger Guest

    I just return August 25 on two Lufthansa flights, one from Ljubljana to Frankfurt and then a second from Frankfurt to San Francisco. I was in business class and I would say less than half the passengers were masked. And at times I saw flight attendants without masks.

  10. derek Guest

    "I find it bizarre how Germany doesn’t require masking in crowded and poorly ventilated airports, while the country requires masking on planes; is that really a logical, risk-based approach?"

    Just wear a N95 mask in the airport.

  11. Tom Guest

    I just spent several weeks in Germany.

    When I traveled, masks were NOT required on planes (the government just re-instituted the mandate), but masks have been mandatory on all public transit, i.e., trains, buses, trams, and ferries.

    I do feel pretty laid back about the continued mask mandate, because, the way it is implemented, it seems to almost be the best of both worlds. Those who are still more comfortable wearing masks will find...

    I just spent several weeks in Germany.

    When I traveled, masks were NOT required on planes (the government just re-instituted the mandate), but masks have been mandatory on all public transit, i.e., trains, buses, trams, and ferries.

    I do feel pretty laid back about the continued mask mandate, because, the way it is implemented, it seems to almost be the best of both worlds. Those who are still more comfortable wearing masks will find strength in numbers (you don’t have to be the only one masking up), since lots of people will only wear masks when required to do so.

    At the same time, mask-wearing is no longer enforced. Yes, there are automatic announcements about the “requirement”, but there is zero enforcement. So about half of all passengers ignore the rule, risk-free.

    So I really don’t understand why those opposed to wearing masks still get upset about this. Nobody will bother you, if you don’t.

    1. TravelinWilly Diamond

      “So I really don’t understand why those opposed to wearing masks still get upset about this.”

      Two reasons:
      1. Control over others, and
      2. They feel inferior and insecure that others are choosing health and safety in a way that anti-maskers have to see; their confirmation bias is threatened.

    2. Tom_of_few_miles New Member

      Sounds about right …

    3. Jeffrey Guest

      True. I agree. What is this Luancy about anyway!?!?!?

  12. Paul Guest

    With or without masks, more important for me is the end of this mandatory and expensive Covid testing requirements.
    We would not get rid of this Covid sooner anyway. I try to calm myself and just fulfill the requirements needed in order to fly and enter my destinations. There are still moments in the flight or places in my destinations where I can take the mask off and just breath. Hopefully my vaccination and...

    With or without masks, more important for me is the end of this mandatory and expensive Covid testing requirements.
    We would not get rid of this Covid sooner anyway. I try to calm myself and just fulfill the requirements needed in order to fly and enter my destinations. There are still moments in the flight or places in my destinations where I can take the mask off and just breath. Hopefully my vaccination and immune system are good enough to spare me an ICU stay. That is life, there is no gurantee.

  13. TravelinWilly Diamond

    The vast majority will go with the cheapest option, mask or no mask.

  14. Wandering DCist Guest

    Hi Ben/Others - Curious, I'm flying SQ biz JFK - SIN in three weeks. Will I need to wear a mask for the JFK-FRA leg even if I don't deplane in FRA? Thanks.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Wandering DCist -- You would have to mask, since the flight operates to & from Germany. Unrelated, but I also believe all passengers have to deplane on that flight.

    2. TravelinWilly Diamond

      Yes, all pax deplane in FRA on the SQ stopover.

    3. Omar Guest

      I'm also flying this in a few weeks in suites class. I wonder how strictly enforced it will be when you have a private cabin.

  15. stogieguy7 Diamond

    Germany has steadfastly held on to these mandates, even well beyond the time where pretty much everyone else has decided that they are a useless exercise in virtue signaling. Earlier this summer, I was on an DB ICE train from Cologne to Amsterdam and they were strictly enforcing muzzling (er, masking) requirements. The second we crossed the border into the Netherlands, the conductor announced that masks can come off - and everyone whipped them off...

    Germany has steadfastly held on to these mandates, even well beyond the time where pretty much everyone else has decided that they are a useless exercise in virtue signaling. Earlier this summer, I was on an DB ICE train from Cologne to Amsterdam and they were strictly enforcing muzzling (er, masking) requirements. The second we crossed the border into the Netherlands, the conductor announced that masks can come off - and everyone whipped them off right then. What a joke it all is. Just as Sgt. Scholz is a joke of a leader and the German people are a joke for electing his party.

  16. Too Many Guest

    Good for them on masking. It's been proven to lower the risk of infection while on a plane. It's an inconvenience, but they lower the chance of people catching COVID when in the air.

    1. Benjamin Guest

      "it has been proven." please stop peddling this nonsense. I would LOVE to see cited articles highlighting this. but alas, you won't be able to because this is simply not the truth.

    2. Jordan Gold

      Yes, but the vast majority of the readers on here are not interested in the truth or the facts.

    3. zagman1112 New Member

      Even before masks were mandated on planes, there was not evidence of it spreading in the air and in fact, it was quite the contrary. If you read into the design and science of how airplane air is filtered and circulated, it is not likely that an airborne virus would spread and infect a bunch of people on the plane. The systems are designed to move air straight down and out through vents by the...

      Even before masks were mandated on planes, there was not evidence of it spreading in the air and in fact, it was quite the contrary. If you read into the design and science of how airplane air is filtered and circulated, it is not likely that an airborne virus would spread and infect a bunch of people on the plane. The systems are designed to move air straight down and out through vents by the floor so if someone sneezed for example, the droplets would not have a chance to spread around inside the plane. The truth is, masks were mostly theater on airplanes.

  17. Vijay Guest

    Chancellor Olaf. Enough said.

  18. CHRIS Guest

    These people are idiots. They're still sore about losing WWI & WWII.

  19. Paul Guest

    The masks mandate is the least of the problems Germans going to encounter this coming winter. Having problems with heating and electricity as the prices will soar highly that most Germans will have problems paying them. Lots of German are struggling with their job and income. Beside the high prices for food etc. already happening.
    It is becoming very obvious for everyone that starting a war in Europe is destroying the good old days...

    The masks mandate is the least of the problems Germans going to encounter this coming winter. Having problems with heating and electricity as the prices will soar highly that most Germans will have problems paying them. Lots of German are struggling with their job and income. Beside the high prices for food etc. already happening.
    It is becoming very obvious for everyone that starting a war in Europe is destroying the good old days of secured and safe living standards which Germans have become too comfortable with the past 70 years. Now they have to learn to pay higher prices for less. Now no more excessive heating or warm water usage or excessive use of lightings in the evenings.
    This should be a warning to be very careful and considerate before joining a war and therfore destroying your country's wealth and making your citizens poor and vulnerable.
    All in all the EU and its citzens are the biggest loser in this war, not Russia nor the Ukraine.

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      well said.
      And Germany is the biggest loser in the EU for the whole Russia/Ukraine mess, the outcome of which was easily foreseeable.

      Harping on side issues like covid are distractions from the real issues that you cite.

      Like the US, the EU is a bloc that allows the free movement of people. There won't be any benefit from Germany taking a different approach to covid than the rest of the EU esp. since...

      well said.
      And Germany is the biggest loser in the EU for the whole Russia/Ukraine mess, the outcome of which was easily foreseeable.

      Harping on side issues like covid are distractions from the real issues that you cite.

      Like the US, the EU is a bloc that allows the free movement of people. There won't be any benefit from Germany taking a different approach to covid than the rest of the EU esp. since the rules are targeted just at aviation. There will indeed be people that shift to other airlines for global connections instead of LH.

    2. Never In Doubt Guest

      @Tim Dunn, “well said” to that Paul nonsense? The EU citizens are bigger losers than Ukrainians?

      Stick to Delta sycophancy.

    3. Honkbert Member

      I will admit that I shall miss the days of innocently taking a warm shower or heating my home, as well as the welfare that energy-consuming industries used to provide. Cutting off a substantial part of an industrialised nation’s energy supply comes at a price, I suppose. Yet, having your country’s energy needs met solely by democratic and peace-loving nations now is totally worth it, of course. I’ve never felt more righteous - unless I...

      I will admit that I shall miss the days of innocently taking a warm shower or heating my home, as well as the welfare that energy-consuming industries used to provide. Cutting off a substantial part of an industrialised nation’s energy supply comes at a price, I suppose. Yet, having your country’s energy needs met solely by democratic and peace-loving nations now is totally worth it, of course. I’ve never felt more righteous - unless I find myself on a Lufthansa plane explaining the wisdom of this strategy to a non-German seat mate, speaking through my government-mandated N95.

    4. Jerry Diamond

      Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have been killed or seriously injured. Millions have been displaced. Cities lie in ruins, but yes... Germans are the real losers here. Sure, having your father killed and your home destroyed is bad, but it's nothing compared to having a few less Euros to spend on your holiday to Spain because it costs a little more to heat your home. Oh the horror!

    5. pstm91 Diamond

      Thank you, Jerry. My god, what an out-of-touch comment. The fact that Paul actually ended it with "nor the Ukraine..." - trying telling that to a Ukrainian and see how it goes over.

    6. Paul Guest

      Not being biased..I will tell that to a Ukrainian when you tell it also to an Afghan, Syrian or African migrant or refugee thst you are not biased. And you welcome them with open arms in your own house as long as they wish, of course you are paying all the expenses.

    7. Honkbert Member

      Do you have any idea how many lives I’ve been saving by taking cold showers? Once I get myself to cut personal hygiene altogether, this war will be over.

    8. Tim Dunn Diamond

      I will let Paul reply if he chooses to but I specifically said "And Germany is the biggest loser in the EU "

      Ukraine is neither in the EU or Nato - and part of the reason for the war is because of the potential for Ukraine to join either body.

      I do not in any way equate Ukraine's human and economic losses with the almost entirely economic losses that any other country has suffered....

      I will let Paul reply if he chooses to but I specifically said "And Germany is the biggest loser in the EU "

      Ukraine is neither in the EU or Nato - and part of the reason for the war is because of the potential for Ukraine to join either body.

      I do not in any way equate Ukraine's human and economic losses with the almost entirely economic losses that any other country has suffered.

      Some people would do well to read and reply to what is written and not what they think.

    9. Mh Diamond

      You also said "well said" - straight after Paul wrote "All in all the EU and its citzens are the biggest loser in this war, not Russia nor the Ukraine."

      So if you're contradicting that by only referring to a subset, then it's not really well said, is it?

      So it comes across more as though you support him in principle but are putting qualifiers in for the optics.

    10. Paul Guest

      Well Jerry hopefully your governement is contributing more than just talking. Are you suffering financial loses and wondering how to pay your rent, your insurances, your children asking for money. If you know it better pls do tell me. Not with just those principles which do not feed a hungry stomach. Perhaps your country can take more or all Ukrainian refugees. Germany has enough shares of Afghan,Syrian and African legal and illegal migrants who are...

      Well Jerry hopefully your governement is contributing more than just talking. Are you suffering financial loses and wondering how to pay your rent, your insurances, your children asking for money. If you know it better pls do tell me. Not with just those principles which do not feed a hungry stomach. Perhaps your country can take more or all Ukrainian refugees. Germany has enough shares of Afghan,Syrian and African legal and illegal migrants who are before this war broke out are already in the country and actually are being treated not so welcomely comparing to these white Ukrainian refugees. Are the wars in Afghanistan, Syria and Africa different than the one in the Ukraine.
      It is all about perspectives. From a white European or North American point of view the ukranian invasion is horrible. But what about those invasions and wars in Asia and Africa. They are not so horroble for them? Because they are non white?

    11. Mark Guest

      This comment is awful. Hundredthousands innocent Ukrainians killed, raped and foltered should not be bigger loosers than people who sit safe at home and have just to pay 10% more for food? People in Ukraine made nothing wrong they just wanted live in freedom and dignity. This comment cannot be posted by a human beeing its so cruel.

  20. Honkbert Member

    This needs to pass parliament before becoming law. Amendments seem rather likely.

    1. Al Guest

      Maybe it's just me, but I will definitely avoid flying through Germany unless the price is just substantially better.

    2. AGrumpyOldMan_GA Gold

      I was thinking the same thing. I am not a regular traveler to Europe, but I hope to finally get back next year. If Germany is still pursuing masking as if it is June 2020, I will make a point to avoid their flights and Deutsche Bahn. I skipped returning to Europe last year and this year largely due to all the mask nonsense marring the travel experience.

    3. Marissa James Guest

      Can confirm I opted for a cheaper but less attractive transit time with British Airways over a shorter and more expensive flight with Lufthansa that I would normally have been willing to pay for because I refused to spend more money to spend so many hours masked with my six-year old in tow. I just won't voluntarily pay money to spend time wearing a mask.

      On a different note, I did recently fly through Germany,...

      Can confirm I opted for a cheaper but less attractive transit time with British Airways over a shorter and more expensive flight with Lufthansa that I would normally have been willing to pay for because I refused to spend more money to spend so many hours masked with my six-year old in tow. I just won't voluntarily pay money to spend time wearing a mask.

      On a different note, I did recently fly through Germany, and on the flight to Germany everyone put on a mask to board the flight, but by the end of the 12 hour flight only half the airplane was wearing a mask. I took mine off shortly after boarding (as did my seat mate), and no one ever said anything. My second flight out of Germany, the flight attendant politely asked anyone not wearing a mask to please put one on after they'd gotten to their seat and had a chance to sit down. I note that many did not do so and nothing was done.

    4. Paul Guest

      If you only specifically refer cruelty to ukranians than you are definitely biased and racist. You are forgetting the other victims of war, torture etc. who are not european whites from Asia and Africa. Stop this double standards and morals as if only white lives matter more.
      You do not have this explosion of solidarity and emotions when you talk about Mexicans and Latin refugees or Afghan and Syrian refugees. Yeah, right for you...

      If you only specifically refer cruelty to ukranians than you are definitely biased and racist. You are forgetting the other victims of war, torture etc. who are not european whites from Asia and Africa. Stop this double standards and morals as if only white lives matter more.
      You do not have this explosion of solidarity and emotions when you talk about Mexicans and Latin refugees or Afghan and Syrian refugees. Yeah, right for you they look different, have different colour and religion.
      I call hypocrisy as its best!

  21. JetAway Guest

    There will likely be a lot of people in the US (and elsewhere) trying to board LH flights without N95 masks and probably don't even own them. Is LH going to hand them out to pax?

  22. Jason Guest

    To be clear, is this just for German domestic travel, or any flight to/ from Germany? Maybe I missed it, but it's not clear to me from reading this article.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Jason -- This includes flights to & from Germany as well.

    2. Skaner Guest

      Had a nice award itinerary available last week with LH but before I pulled the trigger I remembered about their stupid mask policy. Add this to their horrible business class and it's a no brainer to avoid them.

  23. John G Guest

    It's not being enforced as you think. I've flown LH J about four times in the past 2 months and it's all for show. The crew doesn't seem to bother you if the mask isn't on and each time I went to the galley for a snack or a bottle of water- none of the crew were wearing their mask until I walked up.

    1. Nick Guest

      They made me put one on last week!

  24. STEFFL Member

    OKTOBERFEST startiing in just about 3 weeks in Munich . . . that will show how many will get sick after that and THEn . . . even a FSP-2 mask won't help, flying them home again, coming to Bavaria from all over the globe!

    Germany, the rules as as always as crazy as the rest of the world!

    Fill up the hospitals again! ;-)

    Sickening!

    1. Paul Guest

      Well, it will be worst than now. People on the Wiese will not keep on wearing the mask. It will be huge crowd - shoulders to shoulders. Lets hope for the best, than the worst we just know too well now.

    2. CHRIS Guest

      We'll be just fine. Stay away though....stay afraid.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Jerry Diamond

Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have been killed or seriously injured. Millions have been displaced. Cities lie in ruins, but yes... Germans are the real losers here. Sure, having your father killed and your home destroyed is bad, but it's nothing compared to having a few less Euros to spend on your holiday to Spain because it costs a little more to heat your home. Oh the horror!

6
Benjamin Guest

"it has been proven." please stop peddling this nonsense. I would LOVE to see cited articles highlighting this. but alas, you won't be able to because this is simply not the truth.

5
TravelinWilly Diamond

“So I really don’t understand why those opposed to wearing masks still get upset about this.” Two reasons: 1. Control over others, and 2. They feel inferior and insecure that others are choosing health and safety in a way that anti-maskers have to see; their confirmation bias is threatened.

3
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