In an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, EU transport officials have agreed on various health and security measures, including one that will require adults and children aged six and over to wear face masks on board aircraft and at airports. The measures come as countries across Europe are taking steps to avoid being overwhelmed by another wave of the virus.

No face mask, no flight: the new rule of travel?

According to German transport minister, Andreas Scheuer, agreement on uniform standards was reached by officials but still has to be formally approved by EU ministers. While most airlines have already made the wearing of masks compulsory for adults, children have frequently been exempt from this requirement. The officials also agreed that airlines must disinfect aircraft more frequently and implement protocols to enforce safe distancing between passengers.

A woman wearing a face mask at the airport
Passengers are required to wear face masks on board aircraft © Golfx via Getty Images

Mandatory mask-wearing is becoming part of a concerted effort by carriers to keep travelers safe as the second wave of the pandemic begins in many parts of the globe. Face masks have also been made compulsory in indoor public spaces in several European countries. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency has published a guide highlighting the importance of “respiratory etiquette” and face mask wearing on planes and at airports.

In addition, executives from major US and European airlines are calling for officials in both regions to create a joint US-EU COVID-19 testing program to help boost confidence in transatlantic travel.

Lockdowns are easing globally as the planet adjusts to a new normal. Find out how COVID-19 is changing travel.

You might also like:

Here's a video explaining how filters clean the air on airplanes
How to prepare for your first post-COVID trip
An expert's safety checklist if you need to travel now
With travel ground to a halt, a writer rediscovers home

Explore related stories

Bocas del Toro Island, Caribbean coast, Panama
vacation, leisure, relaxed
A woman relaxing on the deck of a seaside bungalow in Bocas del Toro Island, Panama

Destination Practicalities

Do I need a visa to visit or work in Panama?

Dec 5, 2023 • 4 min read