KLM Will Stop Enforcing Face Mask Requirement

KLM Will Stop Enforcing Face Mask Requirement

48

For the past couple of years, we’ve all more or less had to wear masks on planes. We’re slowly starting to see some global airlines lift these restrictions, with British Airways and Virgin Atlantic being among the first (though this hasn’t been seamless, at least in the case of British Airways)

KLM is in an interesting situation — the airline isn’t legally allowed to lift its mask requirement, but the company does plan to stop enforcing mask wearing.

KLM’s March 23 face mask policy change

The Netherlands is about to ease many of its restrictions related to coronavirus. The country is lifting all requirements to wear face masks (including on public transportation) as of Wednesday, March 23, 2022. However, the country will continue to require airline passengers to wear face coverings.

KLM thinks it isn’t fair that airlines are being singled out here. It has long been argued that airlines have better air circulation than many other indoor spaces, yet airplanes will be the only form of transportation where mask wearing will be required.

As a result, KLM and other Dutch airlines are taking an approach we haven’t seen before — while they can’t lift the current face mask requirement, they plan to stop enforcing it as of tomorrow. As an airline spokesperson describes it, KLM plans “to no longer monitor this” from March 23, and instead “will strongly recommend that passengers wear a face mask on board in line with EASA and ICAO guidelines.”

KLM plans to stop enforcing the face mask requirement

This is going to be challenging

I suspect this boycott from Dutch airlines is being done in hopes of the government changing its policy, realizing that that there’s no reason to have a policy if it’s not going to be enforced.

At the same time, this presents a tricky situation, especially for those who are still in favor of wearing masks on planes:

  • KLM is continuing to officially state that masks must be worn on planes
  • However, if someone doesn’t wear their mask for some portion of the flight, they allegedly won’t be told they have to wear it
  • Then there’s the question of whether masks will be enforced on flights to & from destinations that have federal mask mandates, like the United States
  • Those who are in favor of masks are probably boarding KLM flights expecting that other passengers will be masked, and could grow frustrated if they find nearby passengers aren’t wearing masks, and the crew isn’t doing anything about it

I have to imagine that the government will drop the face mask requirement for airlines soon, or something…

We’ve never seen an airline take an approach like this before

Bottom line

KLM and other Dutch airlines intend to boycott the Netherlands continuing to require passengers to wear face masks on planes, while mask requirements are lifted for other forms of transportation. So while KLM is still telling passengers that face masks must be worn, the plan is to no longer enforce this requirement as of March 23, 2022.

What do you make of KLM’s approach to enforcing face masks?

Conversations (48)
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  1. Belinda Guest

    Wow wow wow if KLM is that irresponsible just like those other Dutch laws then certainly I need to change my travel plans!

  2. RD Guest

    The science is very clear. Airplanes have the best ventilation of any indoor space. The Hepa filters in use and the rate of air recycling is tremendous. Not to mention, what are the statistics on spread in airplanes? Oh right, there aren't any because we haven't found much evidence if any of spread happening on planes.

    Airlines need to start ignoring these ridiculous mandates... Like the virus doesn't spread during meal and drink times on...

    The science is very clear. Airplanes have the best ventilation of any indoor space. The Hepa filters in use and the rate of air recycling is tremendous. Not to mention, what are the statistics on spread in airplanes? Oh right, there aren't any because we haven't found much evidence if any of spread happening on planes.

    Airlines need to start ignoring these ridiculous mandates... Like the virus doesn't spread during meal and drink times on planes, just quiet sleep times ... LMAO.

  3. Grey Member

    I tend to agree with them since the requirement for masks on public transport (and everywhere else) has now been lifted. Except for destinations where it is required, why should it be required on the aeroplanes which are significantly less crowded than a train during the peak period.
    I do hope the government fixes it, because, ignoring KLM, nobody at Schiphol is enforcing the mask wearing, and it just looks bad to have a...

    I tend to agree with them since the requirement for masks on public transport (and everywhere else) has now been lifted. Except for destinations where it is required, why should it be required on the aeroplanes which are significantly less crowded than a train during the peak period.
    I do hope the government fixes it, because, ignoring KLM, nobody at Schiphol is enforcing the mask wearing, and it just looks bad to have a law that is not being enforced.
    If cases and hospitalisations surge and they need to bring back the rules, it will be much harder because everybody is already ignoring them and losing respect for them.

  4. Samo Guest

    Icelandair is joining the mask-free club. As of today, they only require masks on flights to Paris, Zurich, Canada and the US. Zurich is likely to be removed from the list on 1st April when their public transportation mask mandate expires.

    List of airlines not requiring masks in Europe now includes British Airways (flights to Ireland, Scandinavia, Iceland, Belgium, Hungary, Romania, Maldives, Kuwait, Kenya and a bunch of Carribbean destinations as well as flights within...

    Icelandair is joining the mask-free club. As of today, they only require masks on flights to Paris, Zurich, Canada and the US. Zurich is likely to be removed from the list on 1st April when their public transportation mask mandate expires.

    List of airlines not requiring masks in Europe now includes British Airways (flights to Ireland, Scandinavia, Iceland, Belgium, Hungary, Romania, Maldives, Kuwait, Kenya and a bunch of Carribbean destinations as well as flights within England), TUI UK and Jet2 (except flights to/from Scotland), SAS and Norwegian (within Scandinavia), Icelandair (except destinations mentioned above), Flyr (network-wide) and a bunch of regional Scandinavian airlines (e.g. Wideroe or BRA).

  5. Andy Diamond

    Well, they have been very poor in enforcing the mask mandate already back in February. I flew AMS-BOG and the gentlement behind me took the mask off right after take off, and so did his colleagues (it was a group of bikers, Hell's Angels or something similar). I asked the crew to enforce it once, which the did, but the masks came off again less than a minute later.

    1. Omar Chaudhry Guest

      Mind your own business, you can still wear your mask on since you’re so afraid. Safer to stay home.

    2. Awesome Guest

      I don't agree with you. If it's all about minding one's own business then what's the point of having any regulation to control a pandemic at all...shouldn't we all go about minding our own business???? Unfortunately that's not how a deadly virus works! And inside planes, you have a responsibility towards each other, people who are old or young people with underlying conditions. Its not flu where you can mind your own business or do...

      I don't agree with you. If it's all about minding one's own business then what's the point of having any regulation to control a pandemic at all...shouldn't we all go about minding our own business???? Unfortunately that's not how a deadly virus works! And inside planes, you have a responsibility towards each other, people who are old or young people with underlying conditions. Its not flu where you can mind your own business or do you have a magic ball which tells you how this virus will act on the body of the person sitting next to you once he/she catches it?

  6. Tobert Guest

    I was on four flights in Spain this week. Everyone had on omasks in the airport, with no complaining.
    It was regularly announced. It’s not the way they are reporting. They are lieing to you

  7. iamhere Guest

    Then there’s the question of whether masks will be enforced on flights to & from destinations that have federal mask mandates, like the United States
    - This is the big issue.

  8. James Guest

    Bravo KLM! Mask
    Theatre needs to end….of course the science says you cannot get covid while taking a sip of your drink or bite of food…the minute after though, you could catch it.
    This madness has gone on long enough. Hopefully US airlines will follow KLM.

  9. David Guest

    Meanwhile here in the US, our feckless administration continues to lead from behind. I’m tired of us being on the short end of so many things.

  10. Bill Guest

    Whether or not you agree with the mask law is immaterial - it is a regulation that is currently in place and I don't think that it's within the purview of the airline to determine whether or not they should enforce.

    I think that the first time that KLM or any other carrier is sued by a passenger expecting the current law to be in force may change their mind. I can foresee this happening...

    Whether or not you agree with the mask law is immaterial - it is a regulation that is currently in place and I don't think that it's within the purview of the airline to determine whether or not they should enforce.

    I think that the first time that KLM or any other carrier is sued by a passenger expecting the current law to be in force may change their mind. I can foresee this happening in our litigious society.

    I'm not passing judgement on the value of a mask mandate, just the fact that it's still a law and somebody is going to get upset that it isn't being followed. It would be better to eliminate the mandate altogether if there is insufficient evidence that there is any ongoing benefit.

  11. Andrew S Guest

    I have to book an upcoming flight from LAX-OTP. I'm platinum on UA and OneWorld Emerald through AS but I'll be flying with no SkyTeam status on KLM for this flight. Normally status would be enough for me to pay a slightly higher fare, and sadly I find myself doing the same now just to be able to breathe comfortable for 13 hours.

  12. Tim Dunn Diamond

    KLM is taking a pragmatic business approach to the clear realization among the general public that the covid pandemic is over.
    Given that Southwest's FA union is actively petitioning to end the mask mandate, airlines and many of their employees know it is not in their best interest to be in the middle of contentious enforcement of public health policy.
    There will be more "KLMs" popping up if governments don't represent the will of people.

  13. Jan Guest

    A moment of silence for the mask Karens.
    In the meantime, if they get too triggered by this, they should rebook to a mandate-loving airline, like UA.

  14. AGrumpyOldMan_GA Gold

    Thank you, KLM! It's time the airlines resist these unreasonable regulations. They are not law enforcement and it's not their job to cater to the whims of governments that can't let go of that bit of control. If the government wants it enforced, put a law enforcement officer on every last flight. Now, we need Delta, United, and American to line up with KLM.

    1. George Romey Guest

      I'm hoping that if the mandate is extended after 4/18 a couple of our airline CEOs just simply stand up and say no. In reality nothing is going to happen to the airline. The FAA won't shut the airline down or fine it. The Biden Administration won't test this in Court (you see where their other "mandate" ended up).

    2. AGrumpyOldMan_GA Gold

      To me it's pretty obvious at this point, it is their last grasp at holding onto control over the population. Logically it makes no sense, but they can make the strongest argument for federal control on the airlines (and Amtrak as well).

  15. Dick Bupkiss Guest

    Having laws on the books, but ignoring and failing to enforce those laws just breeds Republicans.

    Laws, schmaws. Who cares about laws. Go ahead and do whatever you want, there are zero consequences. After all, life is a paradise when there's no law enforcement. What could possibly go wrong when that's your policy?

    1. Samo Guest

      Airline is not a law enforcement. Dutch authorities are free to send police officers on board every KLM flight. Good luck.

      Also, the last time I checked, there were no Republicans in the Netherlands.

    2. John Guest

      @Dick Buttkiss

      It's an anonymous forum, but geeeez.....try not to embarrass yourself so easily by letting your ignorance of weighty matters show through. Silence is golden (for the smart, the mute, and the stupid). I know you don't fall into the first category.

  16. Creditcrunch Gold

    Slowly but surely things are starting to get back to normal.

  17. Andrew Diamond

    "yet airplanes will be the only form of transportation where mask wearing will be required."

    Clearly they haven't been on a bus in Los Angeles County.

  18. George Romey Guest

    At least Europe seems to be pulling ahead of the US in ending the COVID hysteria. Wear a mask if you won't do, but stop demanding others do.

    I usually fly first (upgrades) and I'm finding more and more people from the time drinks start to be served until the "flight attendants prepare for landing" announcement people are maskless, me included. Most flight attendants are burnt out and tired of being mask police. Not to...

    At least Europe seems to be pulling ahead of the US in ending the COVID hysteria. Wear a mask if you won't do, but stop demanding others do.

    I usually fly first (upgrades) and I'm finding more and more people from the time drinks start to be served until the "flight attendants prepare for landing" announcement people are maskless, me included. Most flight attendants are burnt out and tired of being mask police. Not to mention how horrible it must be for them to wear a mask almost non stop for sometimes 12 hours plus a day.

  19. TM Gold

    Interesting. For the past month or two, on most of my domestic flights with both DL and UA, the flight attendants have been far less vigilant about enforcing mask compliance. It's mostly the announcement at the beginning and once or twice while in the air, but they haven't been pestering passengers throughout the flight to put their mask back on. Now an entire airline will be doing what many airline employees have already been doing....

    Interesting. For the past month or two, on most of my domestic flights with both DL and UA, the flight attendants have been far less vigilant about enforcing mask compliance. It's mostly the announcement at the beginning and once or twice while in the air, but they haven't been pestering passengers throughout the flight to put their mask back on. Now an entire airline will be doing what many airline employees have already been doing. Of course, it only takes one cranky FA to ruin it for everyone. I have an upcoming trip to Austria with the return being VIE-AMS on KLM, connecting on to a DL operated flight. Maybe we'll get lucky with a misconnect and rescheduled on a KLM flight.

  20. Ryan Guest

    Just flew on KLM 2 weeks ago. I didn’t wear my mask and the flight attendants couldn’t have cared less. No one wears masks in Holland anymore anyways…

  21. David Guest

    If KLM does this, KLM is breaking U.S. law on its flights to and from the United States. The mask mandate specifically states:

    "[Airlines] must use best efforts to ensure that any person on the conveyance wears a mask when boarding, disembarking, and for the duration of travel. Best efforts include:

    Boarding only those persons who wear masks;

    instructing persons that Federal law requires wearing a mask on the conveyance and failure to comply...

    If KLM does this, KLM is breaking U.S. law on its flights to and from the United States. The mask mandate specifically states:

    "[Airlines] must use best efforts to ensure that any person on the conveyance wears a mask when boarding, disembarking, and for the duration of travel. Best efforts include:

    Boarding only those persons who wear masks;

    instructing persons that Federal law requires wearing a mask on the conveyance and failure to comply constitutes a violation of Federal law;

    monitoring persons onboard the conveyance for anyone who is not wearing a mask and seeking compliance from such persons;

    at the earliest opportunity, disembarking any person who refuses to comply; and

    providing persons with prominent and adequate notice to facilitate awareness and compliance of the requirement of this Order to wear a mask; best practices may include, if feasible, advance notifications on digital platforms, such as on apps, websites, or email; posted signage in multiple languages with illustrations; printing the requirement on transit tickets; or other methods as appropriate."

    Clearly an airline operator is required under U.S. law to monitor and instruct passengers to wear their masks. I hope the DOT takes stringent action is taken against KLM immediately.

    Reasonable requirements relating to ,asks on planes are not an intrusion into personal liberty. Rather they are an expression of the form of ordered liberty that is required in order to have a safe, functional society, such as observance of traffic signals and driving on the correct side of the road.

    1. James Guest

      if you want to get technical it isn't a US law. It's a mandate. A law requires legislation by congress so you could rather call it a Biden mask decree.

    2. David Guest

      Sorry, you're wrong. There are many types of federal law including (A) statutes passed by congress and (B) federal regulations that are issued after notice and comment or on an emergency basis by federal agencies and subject to judicial review. Many tax laws are not passed by Congress but are issued by a federal agency. Similarly, many regulations relating to aircraft safety are federal regulations (such as wearing a seatbelt on the plane). Wearing a...

      Sorry, you're wrong. There are many types of federal law including (A) statutes passed by congress and (B) federal regulations that are issued after notice and comment or on an emergency basis by federal agencies and subject to judicial review. Many tax laws are not passed by Congress but are issued by a federal agency. Similarly, many regulations relating to aircraft safety are federal regulations (such as wearing a seatbelt on the plane). Wearing a seatbelt on a plane is common sense and is not the result of a decree, but a legal requirement arising after due process.

    3. Earl Guest

      David I bet you’re the type of guy who makes his kids wear a mask as he takes them outside after school for a bike ride. Crawl out of your basement it’s great out here.

    4. RCB Gold

      That's not at all how laws work, James, not even a little bit close.

    5. magice Member

      If you want to get technical, you need to stay awake in your civic class? OK, that's mean, my apologies.

      Here is how this works: Congress (and a previous President) already passed a law which authorizes certain government agency (in this case, the CDC under Surgeon General) to set policy to achieve a certain goal (see here for the actual law: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/42/264). Subsequently, the agency can make regulations under Congress's name without further instruction from...

      If you want to get technical, you need to stay awake in your civic class? OK, that's mean, my apologies.

      Here is how this works: Congress (and a previous President) already passed a law which authorizes certain government agency (in this case, the CDC under Surgeon General) to set policy to achieve a certain goal (see here for the actual law: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/42/264). Subsequently, the agency can make regulations under Congress's name without further instruction from Congress.

      Your logic makes no sense. There is no legal mandate except that of the Constitution and Acts and Laws passed by Congress (and signed by the President) in the United States of America. Thus, if it's law, it'd better be in the Constitution. If it's in neither, it is not legal.

      In this case, though, the mandate *is* the laws. The laws pre-approves this type of mandates. As such, it *is* federal laws that require masks on airplane at this point.

    6. Jordan Guest

      You break the law every time you speed lol. This is a dumb point.

    7. MikeL1986 Guest

      Really? Just admit that this remaining mask mandate is all theater, is completely useless, and should have been lifted as scheduled. Have you been on a flight lately? Every passenger has their mask off for a portion during meal and drink services. Is Covid only a threat when not chewing and sipping?

      Not to mention that last weekend, I was able to enjoy dinner and drinks in a packed-to-the-rafters brewpub before entering a packed arena...

      Really? Just admit that this remaining mask mandate is all theater, is completely useless, and should have been lifted as scheduled. Have you been on a flight lately? Every passenger has their mask off for a portion during meal and drink services. Is Covid only a threat when not chewing and sipping?

      Not to mention that last weekend, I was able to enjoy dinner and drinks in a packed-to-the-rafters brewpub before entering a packed arena of 18,000 people for a 3 hour long hockey game. None of these places require masks but on an airplane, where the airflow and air filtration makes it incredibly unlikely to spread airborne germs, I have to wear a mask. Oh, and also in the airport.

      No, the DOT should not take any action against KLM. They should move forward like everyone else and remove these unscientific airplane/airport mask mandates. ALL airlines should start taking this approach. Tell the government to enjoy their mandates but make it clear that they will not enforce. I have spoken with a couple friends who are FA's and they can't wait for the mandate to be gone. It makes their job more tense/difficult. Most of them do not want to enforce it but risk disciplinary action from their employer if they don't.

    8. AGrumpyOldMan_GA Gold

      You know there will be someone like David on every flight that is going to complain and make a scene when he can't force everyone to behave the way he wants.

      And, David, when there is no legitimate reason for a restriction on personal behavior - your best protection against infection is not anyone else wearing a mask but rather getting vaccinated which you control for yourself at this point - then it is an infringement of personal liberty.

    9. Samo Guest

      KLM will be doing all of that. Masks are still required and there will be announcements to that effect. The only possible non-compliance is letting pax board without a mask, which is easy to implement on US-bound flights. Once plane leaves the gate, the earliest opportunity to deboard a passenger is at the destination.

  22. Andre Guest

    Good for KLM. Ending this useless mask theater is long overdue.

  23. Mak Guest

    Checking if I can reroute my upcoming trip -- now through FRA on LH - instead through AMS on KLM.

    1. Andrew Diamond

      Are you 6 years old? Name-calling is such a sad, primal way to respond to a viewpoint you disagree with.

    2. Steve Diamond

      But it is ok for you to name call him a 6 year old? How about neither of you all do this.

    3. Andrew Diamond

      @Steve - I retract my first sentence, I leave the second one.
      @Grumpy - I think you're correct.

    4. Irrelevant Guest

      Oh no! Your rebooked basic coach ticket is going to financially crumble KLM lol. F

    5. AGrumpyOldMan_GA Gold

      Reread what he wrote. I think he is saying he wants to fly on KLM, not avoid KLM. I would do the same!

    6. Jeffrey Chang Guest

      Don't forget your HazMat suit and goggles.

    7. Airfarer Gold

      It would seem from some of the comments to your post, that remedial Engllish comprehension would be recommended.

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George Romey Guest

I'm hoping that if the mandate is extended after 4/18 a couple of our airline CEOs just simply stand up and say no. In reality nothing is going to happen to the airline. The FAA won't shut the airline down or fine it. The Biden Administration won't test this in Court (you see where their other "mandate" ended up).

3
Greg Guest

Good for KLM

3
George Romey Guest

At least Europe seems to be pulling ahead of the US in ending the COVID hysteria. Wear a mask if you won't do, but stop demanding others do. I usually fly first (upgrades) and I'm finding more and more people from the time drinks start to be served until the "flight attendants prepare for landing" announcement people are maskless, me included. Most flight attendants are burnt out and tired of being mask police. Not to mention how horrible it must be for them to wear a mask almost non stop for sometimes 12 hours plus a day.

3
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