Next time you travel on an airplane you may need to do more than just remember to bring your mask. You may need to remember to bring the right kind, and leave those cloth masks at home.
Several airlines, mostly European carriers, are banning cloth masks, according to The Washington Post. The carriers will insist travelers wear surgical masks, KN95 or N95 masks without a valve, or FFP2 masks.
Finnair was the most recent European air carrier to ban cloth masks, while other carriers such as Lufthansa have had policies such as this in place since Feb. 1. Air France also requires surgical masks when flying.
“The filtration effectiveness of cloth masks is generally lower than that of medical masks and respirators; however, cloth masks may provide some protection if well designed and used correctly,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said last year.
American air carriers, do, however, restrict other types of face coverings. Nearly all prohibit the use of ski masks, scarves, and bandanas.
Masks are currently required in U.S. airports, airplanes, trains, buses, and on all other forms of public transportation until at least mid-January 2022, according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
N95 masks were once difficult to find since they were in high-demand at the start of the pandemic, but now plenty are currently available.
KN95 masks are a cheaper alternative, as long as they “meet requirements similar to those set by CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) for respirators,” according to the CDC.
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