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’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.”
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…
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?