SWISS Drops Airplane Face Mask Requirement

SWISS Drops Airplane Face Mask Requirement

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SWISS has become the latest global airline to drop the requirement to wear a face mask when flying…

SWISS drops mask rules as of April 1, 2022

SWISS has announced that it will no longer require masks to be worn onboard flights as of Friday, April 1, 2022. This follows the Swiss Federal Council no longer requiring face masks to be worn on public transportation in the country as of the same date.

As you’d expect, face masks will still need to worn on flights where it’s required by the destination country. SWISS passengers will be advised of the applicable mask-wearing provisions in advance of their flights.

We’re increasingly seeing some airlines lift face mask requirements. For example, we’ve seen this from British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, and we’ve seen KLM advise that it will no longer enforce face mask policies. SWISS is the first airline of the Lufthansa Group to introduce such a policy, though.

You can expect that masks will still be required on flights to the United States, as the federal transportation mask mandate in the United States is valid through April 18, 2022 (and could be extended).

This could be my first mask-optional flight… I think?

I’m currently on a trip to Italy and France, and funny enough I’m flying SWISS soon from Geneva to Frankfurt. Assuming masks don’t need to be worn on this flight, it’ll be my first mask-optional flight in well over two years. At least that’s the case if Germany doesn’t mandate that all flights to the country require masks? I’m not sure…

Given how long it has been, I’m kind of in shock at the concept of boarding a flight without a mask. I remember last spring when masks started to be optional in many indoor settings, and I felt borderline naked when unmasked in public indoors.

While I absolutely support masks being made optional, I’m curious to see how I’ll feel about this once I actually board a maskless flight (assuming that’ll be allowed on a flight to Germany, since the rules are complicated).

I’ll be flying SWISS shortly

Bottom line

SWISS is starting the gradual process of lifting its mask requirement for passengers as of April 1, corresponding with the Swiss government lifting the transportation mask mandate. Masks will still be required on some flights based on rules at the destination country, which makes this complicated in the short term.

Personally I think it’s highly likely that mask-optional flights becomes the norm rather than the exception by late spring or early summer, perhaps with the exception of Asia. But for now there’s still some novelty to this.

What do you make of SWISS lifting its mask requirement?

Conversations (38)
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  1. Angela Guest

    Please please DO NOT DROP MASKS REQUEREMENTS AT LEAST FOR LONG FLIGHT.
    PLEASE COVID STILL KILLS

  2. Rachelle Guest

    I feel very uncomfortable that masks will become optional. This is a dangerous mistake. I am so sorry they are doing this, I have to fly the end of the month. I hope they recognise their error before I fly.

  3. Moose Guest

    Here's a current list of Swiss destinations and mask rules:
    https://www.swiss.com/ch/en/customer-support/travel-and-corona/travel-briefing/destinations-masks

  4. Samo Guest

    ..and SAS has just extended its mask-free policy to all flights except US, China and Italy :)

  5. Samo Guest

    LOT has also joined the list a couple of days ago, as did Icelandair. The number of mask-free airlines in Europe is growing.

    Flights have already been mask-free here in Scandinavia for a while, but it was a great feeling to also fly mask-free on BA few days ago (ARN-LHR-OSL). The world is coming to their senses.

  6. Jim Guest

    Are they following the science

    Very serious question

    1. Ray Gold

      I think they are. With the percentage of vaccinated ( with booster as well ) plus the lower risk of death from the new variants, I think they feel they can relax the rule.

    2. Swiss Guest

      Hi, I live in Zurich and they don't. The Covid-Science Taskforce from ETH Zurich and EPFL Lausanne, which advises the Swiss government, explicitly warned about lifting the mask mandate in public transportation. So no, they are not 'following the science'.

      Disclaimer: I'm in favour of lifting the mask mandate. But we've got to at least admit that lifting the mask mandate in Switzerland right now is not 'following the science'.

    3. Samo Guest

      Science is not to be "followed", it's not a religion.

  7. robbo Guest

    I'm flying Swiss CDG-ZRH-ATY on Sunday, I'll let you know how it goes

    1. Watson Gold

      @Samo, stop trying to manufacture a gotcha moment. "Follow" here is clearly being used to mean "trust the experts who have conducted verifiable and reproducible research".

  8. AyL Guest

    interesting. these guys gave me so much BS last year on my 4 flights with them about wearing masks including one time denying me boarding for a flight leaving europe because I wasn't wearing a surgical mask so I literally had to find an atm and get change to buy a mask pack from a vending machine.

    1. Ray Gold

      yes, and they used to have a smoking sections on planes. smfh

  9. Bobby Guest

    I received the following email from Swiss that masks would be required on my flight tomorrow from JFK to ZRH:

    Dear Passenger

    The obligation to wear a mask on board depends on the current regulations at the departure and destination points. For your flight, the wearing of a mouth-nose covering is therefore currently still mandatory.

    Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

    Sincerely,
    Swiss International Air Lines

    1. Regis Guest

      You should be allowed to remove your mask as soon as the airplane leaves US airspace. At that time, ask the FA to bring you some champagne and make a toast to freedom.

    2. notbad41 Guest

      It's a disgrace that we have to leave US airspace to be free...

  10. HonestAl Guest

    I just flew SAS from Copenhagen to Stockholm and back last week. There was no mask requirement.

    1. Samo Guest

      SAS removed masks intra-Scandinavia ~6 weeks ago :)

  11. Lukas Guest

    Seems like the list of airlines not requiring masks in Europe is growing slowly but steadily.
    In March, we added most UK carriers (BA, EasyJet, Jet2), as well as Icelandair, and now Swiss; as well as KLM just not enforcing the existing requirement.
    All the Scandinavian carriers (SAS, Norwegian, Widerøe, BRA, etc.) have dropped the requirement for flights within Scandinavia, but still require require masks to and from other destinations, even though the...

    Seems like the list of airlines not requiring masks in Europe is growing slowly but steadily.
    In March, we added most UK carriers (BA, EasyJet, Jet2), as well as Icelandair, and now Swiss; as well as KLM just not enforcing the existing requirement.
    All the Scandinavian carriers (SAS, Norwegian, Widerøe, BRA, etc.) have dropped the requirement for flights within Scandinavia, but still require require masks to and from other destinations, even though the destination doesn't require it.
    Am I missing any other airlines here?

    1. Samo Guest

      LOT also dropped masks recently.

      Flyr, a Norwegian startup, doesn't require masks anywhere on their network.

    2. K.C. Cooper Guest

      Norwegian has gone mask-optional entirely now.
      https://travelweekly.co.uk/news/air/norwegian-air-lifts-face-mask-restriction

  12. Mantis Guest

    But how am I going to show the world what a caring, considerate and progressive minded person without my favorite virtue signaling device?

    1. Jan Guest

      It's funny because to the American left, the Nordic states (and Switzerland) are the most "progressive" in many metrics, and yet right now these countries they are the most open and least restrictive in terms of COVID. The American left isn't really progressive, they're just dumb statists.

    2. George Romey Guest

      That's because these countries tended to be what progressiveness used to be. Today "progressive" in the US means something very different. Including going along with all the COVID hysteria and lies so that people can virtue signal on social media.

    3. Swisscheese Guest

      I don't see how you would compare Switzerland to the Nordics? I know Americans get confused between Sweden and Switzerland but the systems are VERY different: in CH = minimal paternity leave, woman vote since 1992 in one canton, last country to allow gay marriage in Western Europe besides Italy, no public healthcare (mandatory private insurance), only 20 days of holidays as opposed to 25 in the rest of Europe... I love living in Switzerland...

      I don't see how you would compare Switzerland to the Nordics? I know Americans get confused between Sweden and Switzerland but the systems are VERY different: in CH = minimal paternity leave, woman vote since 1992 in one canton, last country to allow gay marriage in Western Europe besides Italy, no public healthcare (mandatory private insurance), only 20 days of holidays as opposed to 25 in the rest of Europe... I love living in Switzerland but it is really not fitting the definition of "progressive".

    4. UA-NYC Guest

      Ironic coming from a right-wing mouth breather...the Red states have some of the worst public education systems in the country too, just saying...

    5. Andrew Diamond

      Good news, masks are optional. So you can still continue to wear it! You totally sound like the type that will. :-)

    6. Ray Gold

      @Andrew: I take the comment @Mantis as sarcasm and your comment tells me you are the type that still believes the election was stolen.

    7. reddargon Diamond

      Ha Ray, it's funny that you were able to detect sarcasm in the original post and not in Andrew's. Pretty sure they were both sarcastic--the emoji at the end of Andrew's post should have tipped you off. Pretty sure that indicates that he does not, in fact, think Mantis will wear a mask.

      I find the whole mask debate ridiculous on both sides. People seem so quick to judge others responses to Covid; either...

      Ha Ray, it's funny that you were able to detect sarcasm in the original post and not in Andrew's. Pretty sure they were both sarcastic--the emoji at the end of Andrew's post should have tipped you off. Pretty sure that indicates that he does not, in fact, think Mantis will wear a mask.

      I find the whole mask debate ridiculous on both sides. People seem so quick to judge others responses to Covid; either you're doing too much or not doing enough. There's seemingly no middle ground or room for other conversations on the topic, and just because someone responds differently from you does not make them "wrong" or mean that they have a nefarious motive. I guess it's easier to jump down each other's throats than confront the horrible reality that over 6 million globally (1 million American!) have died from this.

  13. Andy Diamond

    The decision is related to the decision of the Swiss government to terminate all measures on 1 April. So Swiss would have become an isolated case, perhaps suggesting that flying is more risky than any other activity - therefore it seems obvious that they also drop the requirement.

  14. Evan Guest

    The masks are good news, but GREAT NEWS WOULD BE WHEN THE US DROPS THE TESTING REQUIREMENT! Anyone have any insight? The cruise industry got it’s travel warning removed!

    1. Jan Guest

      This is the way.

      Mask optional is ok (I for one am not extremely bothered by it) but the testing requirement is a hassle that costs $.

    2. Andy Diamond

      Agree. Switzerland has stopped requiring testing about a month ago. Obviously, travelling back to the US you still need to test, due to US regulation.

    3. OPR Member

      Yeah, apart from the cost and the hassle, I'm a bit concerned I'll test positive (at least false positives aren't too common, right?) and won't be able to go home!

    4. Not Lucky Guest

      take sensible precautions and you'll never test positive. i've been flying all over the place during this pandemic. i take my jabs, and i wear the mask when i don't know whom i'm around. test regularly, and never been positive yet, and haven't had to compromise my life. more power to all the FREEDOM crew, but I'm going with my freedom to be intelligent and follow easy precautions that keep me and others safe without materially impacting my life. it ain't hard.

    5. Andy Diamond

      @Not Lucky. This was my position as well - until two weeks ago. Then, totally unexpectedly, I tested positive and was not able to fly to the US. I never had any symptoms other than a (very slightly) running nose for a day or two. Triple vaccinated here.

    6. Mr. Obvious Guest

      ...because testing positive and getting stuck in Switzerland for another week or so sucks... oh... wait...

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

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Mantis Guest

But how am I going to show the world what a caring, considerate and progressive minded person without my favorite virtue signaling device?

6
Evan Guest

The masks are good news, but GREAT NEWS WOULD BE WHEN THE US DROPS THE TESTING REQUIREMENT! Anyone have any insight? The cruise industry got it’s travel warning removed!

4
Regis Guest

You should be allowed to remove your mask as soon as the airplane leaves US airspace. At that time, ask the FA to bring you some champagne and make a toast to freedom.

3
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