Unlike most airlines, British Airways has taken a contrarian view regarding the use of face masks on BA flights: they are optional. The British Airways Face Mask Policy is shocking in this regard given the widespread adoption of face masks and face coverings by major airlines.
British Airways Face Mask Policy – do they really even have one? Barely…
While nearly all airlines large and small have implemented face mask policies that require passengers to wear a face covering at various stages of the travel process, British Airways has taken a different approach.
The British Airways Face Mask Policy asks customers to wear a face mask while traveling on a BA flight, but does not require them.
Specifically, the BA face mask policy states:
“We ask all customers to wear a face mask at all times in the airport and on board. As a guide, a face mask could last up to four hours, so please make sure that you bring enough for the duration of your trip. Please be aware, that it’s now a mandatory requirement to wear one in many airports.”
This oddly worded statement is found on the BA website in the form of an answer to a frequently asked question that asks if passengers need to wear a face mask. That’s it.
Other airlines like Delta, or United, and many other airlines for that matter, have far more comprehensive policies in place with far more details – sometimes even in depth answers to frequently asked questions. BA, however, appears disinterested in any of that providing ONLY the statement noted above.
Fellow travel blogger Paddle Your Own Kanoo recently highlighted some of the apparent lackadaisical approaches British Airways is taking with regard to COVID-19 policies. In his piece he shares a quote from a BA official who says:
“‘Evidence suggests that wearing a face-covering does not protect you,’ official government guidance explains. ‘However, if you are infected but have not yet developed symptoms, it may provide some protection for others you come into close contact with.'”
British Airways approach to passenger and crew safety is notable. While most airlines now feature comprehensive safety initiatives designed to inspire confidence in fearful passengers while keeping employees safe, BA appears disinterested in much of that.
For example, if you visit Delta’s website you can find detailed information on the various measures the airline has taken for its crew and passengers. BA’s website, on the other hand, is starkly silent on much of anything.
And a recent Sun article (also featured in the aforementioned Paddle Your Own Kanoo piece) highlights a much different travel experience for BA passengers. Several fascinating and telling quotes emerged in the Sun piece:
- “The crew wore protective clothing and did their best, but there were no efforts in place to look after passengers.”
- “BA did not board people in turn in a bid to separate them. It was a free-for-all, with passengers jammed in together.”
- “A lot of flyers were shocked and angry that there was no effort to keep them safe.”
- “Keeping people safe does not appear to count at 30,000ft, despite planes being one of the most likely places to pick up germs. It was shocking and a farce.”
- “BA crew are not happy. Staff volunteered to continue working during the crisis on the understanding that measures would be in place to keep them safe.”
- “Self-evidently, that has not been the case.”
The IATA is clear that face coverings are recommended for travelers and crew alike and has provided a host of other safety measures for airlines to follow in providing a safer travel experience.
Does British Airways know something the rest of us don’t? Have they realized the incredibly difficulty enforcing such a policy and just decided that it’s not worth the hassle – optics be damned? Will this policy pay off for them in the long run? What say you? Drop us a comment below – we’d love your opinion.
BA Face Masks FAQs
The BA Face Mask policy is notably spartan, but we’ve tried to highlight a few frequently asked questions we suspect our readers will have about wearing a face covering on a British Airways flight.
Do I have to wear a face mask on a British Airways flight?
No, face masks are optional, although recommended, on British Airways flights.
Can I take my mask off while on a British Airways flight?
Yes, by virtue of the fact that British Airways recommends but does not mandate face coverings or masks on BA flights, passengers can remove their masks on a flight.
Does British Airways provide passengers a free face mask or face covering?
No, British Airways does not currently provide passengers a free face mask or face covering for BA flights. Moreover, while face masks are recommended on BA flights, they are not required.
Other Airline Face Mask Policies
We continue to build our our database of face mask policies for major airlines to help our readers travel a little easier in this time. Please view our entire directory here or select a specific airline below:
- US DOT giving out free masks to travelers
- Delta Face Mask Policy
- Southwest Face Mask Policy
- United Airlines Face Mask Policy
- Spirit Face Mask Policy
- British Airways Face Mask Policy
- Where to buy a Face Mask for Travel
- See all Face Mask Policies here
Thanks and be safe out there
Travelers and travel providers face uncertain times. Travel may never be the same again. If you are fortunate to be able to travel right now please be safe! Here’s a few other travel-related articles that might valuable to you:
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