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More airlines requiring N95, KN95, FFP2 masks

Some international airline companies say cloth masks do not provide adequate protection like higher quality N95 masks.

As the coronavirus pandemic is still ongoing, air travelers may have to make sure their mask is in compliance by an increasing number of airlines when flying abroad.

Several international airlines that fly to and from the United States, are no longer accepting cloth masks for passengers, saying these face coverings allow air to filter out from beneath the mask.

Beginning Aug. 16th, Finnair tweeted out that the airline is banning fabric masks on their airplanes. Moving forward, they are only accepting surgical masks, FFP2 or FFP3 respirator masks without a valve or other valve-free masks with the same standard as N95. 

Earlier in the year, German airline Lufthansa banned fabric masks and began requiring passengers to wear medical or surgical face masks at the start of February.

"These are face masks worn in everyday medical practice, also known as surgical masks," the company said. "They are medical products and were designed for the protection of others."

The Swiss Airline also joined in only allowing medical-grade face masks. Beginning February 1, like Lufthansa, all passengers flying Swiss Air are required to wear FFFP2, KN95 or N95 or surgical masks when boarding and onboard the aircraft, the airline states on its site.

Air France banned cloth masks and masks with valves back in May 2020.

U.S. airlines such as Southwest, Delta, United and American require a mask at all times throughout the flight, but, cloth masks are still permitted. Face coverings that are not allowed include masks with valves, face shields or visors, scarves, bandanas, shirts or sweater collars. 

The Delta Airline mask policy differs where the airline does allow passengers to wear gaiters with at least two layers. And American Airlines allows face shields with the accompaniment of a face covering.

Exceptions to these rules within each of the airline companies include children under a certain age and medical reasoning with a doctor's note ahead of the flight.

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