Nearly eight months into the COVID-19 pandemic, people are slowly beginning to travel again, with road trips up and global air travel starting to creep back. While not everyone is comfortable getting on a plane just yet – in an International Air Transportation Association survey conducted from February to June, 58% reported they’ve been avoiding air travel – airlines have put into place new safety protocols, including updating air filters, blocking out the middle seat to allow for easier social distancing, and mandating that all passengers wear a mask. 

Nowadays, there’s a sea of mask options available, so choose one that’s equal parts functional and comfortable. Below, find nine of the best masks for air travel, keeping you covered from security check to baggage claim and beyond. 

Three face masks with floral patterns
Gap's masks expand to comfortably fit different face shapes © Gap


At $5 each (€4), Gap’s triple-layer cotton masks are breathable and, thanks to the built-in nose wire, fit snuggly. Plus, the pleated design expands to comfortably cover a range of face shapes. They come in packs of three or 10, and are available in family sets, bundled with sizes for both adults and kids. 

A pink face mask against a bright turquoise background
Find cute masks at Smoko © Smoko


The Los Angeles-based accessory company specializes in all things cute, and its new masks are no exception. Face coverings in avocado, boba tea, or sushi-splashed prints are also supremely functional, with a HEPA filter pocket (not included, find one on Amazon), adjustable ear straps and a removable wire nose bridge insert for a more comfortable fit. They cost $14 (€12) for each adult- or child-sized mask.

An Asian woman wearing a stylish navy face mask stands in front of a patterned screen
Tom Bihn designs stay comfortable for hours © Tom Binh

Tom Bihn

Like so many other companies, the Seattle-based travel bag manufacturer has gotten into the face mask business. Tom Bihn’s are a little different, though, with a meticulously thoughtful design that stays comfortable after hours of wear. (The team making the masks wears them in the factory all day.) These quick-drying masks come in two sizes, and feature smart design elements like especially soft and durable ear straps, and a bendable nose bridge fitted with a removable, standard twist tie (like the ones that close plastic bread bags.) Plus, they published the mask pattern with how-to video online, and for every mask sold, the company donates one to a person in need, transparently tracking their donations with a public spreadsheet. The cost is $13 (€11) per mask.

A black mask with elastic ear loops
Wolford masks are treated with UV light before being packaged © Wolford


The Austrian label known for luxe legwear and lingerie is, unsurprisingly, making a stylish and splurge-worthy face mask for high-fliers. The sleek black mask is made with two layers of high-quality, moisture-wicking fabric, an adaptable nose wire, and extra-thin elastic ear bands. Before packaging the masks up, they’re treated with UV light to kill viruses and germs. Expect to pay $35 (€30) per mask.

10 unfolded face masks with different patterns lined up alongside each other
Old Navy masks are great for kids © Old Navy

Old Navy 

Gap’s budget-friendly sister brand sells packs of 10 face masks for $25 (€21), or $2.50 each. At half the price, they’re still made of breathable, 100% cotton poplin, and have the same pleated design to adapt to (and still cover) tiny faces, making them an especially good pick for kids. The lower price point means stocking up for travel or school is easier on the wallet, and the wide range of fun, colorful patterns makes convincing your tot to use one a little easier.

A white male model wears a black tube scarf that covers his neck, chin and nose
 Buff's designs are often worn by runners and people playing sport © Buff


Buff has been selling its “multifunctional headwear” – ie a versatile neck gaiter used by outdoors and sporting enthusiasts as a headband, neck warmer, face covering, etc – long before COVID. But with mask mandates in effect in most places, it’s been adopted by runners and anyone else looking for a supremely comfortable way to adhere. The moisture-wicking fabric is UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) 50, so it protects against sunburn (or chilly cabin temps). They cost $20 (€17) per mask.

Editor's note: A recent study has called into question the effectiveness of gaiters at stopping aerosol droplets. 

Three face masks in black, navy and gray
Athleta masks come with an extra head strap © Athleta


The activewear company specializes in moveable, breathable clothing, so it makes sense it also makes a thoughtfully designed mask. A mesh inner layer is soft on the skin, while a Spandex and Polyester-blend outer layer is lightweight and washable. A disposable filter can be tucked inside the mask’s hidden pocket (not included), and the ingenious ear straps include an extra head strap that can be attached to take pressure off the ear loops, making wearing this for hours a breeze. The cost is $25 (€21) for three masks.

Three face masks with striped patterns
For each five-pack of masks sold, Everlane donates a percentage to charity © Everlane


Double-layer masks feature a face-hugging layer made of uber-soft cotton jersey and an upper layer of thick, durable knit made from a blend of cotton, linen, and rayon. Designs are available in cool and classic stripes. For each five-pack sold, Everlane will donate 10% to the non-profit American Civil Liberties Union. These are $25 (€21) for five masks.


Hundreds of sellers sewing up sturdy, well-made masks are part of Etsy, the international marketplace for handcrafted goods. One is Breezemountain8, with over 1000 five-star reviews for their four-layer cotton masks designed with a nose wire and filter pocket. Users note they’re both comfortable and stylish, with options that include subdued solid shades and lovely floral patterns. These start at $13 (€11) per mask. 

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