Business travel

BA and Virgin Atlantic fall mask rule for US flights

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have removed the requirement to wear masks on flights to the United States.

The two UK-based carriers responded to a US judge on Monday (April 18) by overturning the federal requirement that travelers wear masks on commercial planes and at airports.

Following the decision, the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said it would no longer enforce the federal mandate requiring masks on aircraft.

BA and Virgin decided in March to make the wearing of face masks a matter of ‘personal choice’ on their flights – except when traveling to destinations that still require passengers to wear face coverings, which was the case in the United States until Monday.

Virgin Atlantic said in a statement: “From now on, face masks will be a personal choice for our customers and people traveling back and forth between the UK and US.

“This aligns with our existing mask policy on routes where international regulations regarding mask wearing do not apply, such as between the UK and the Caribbean.”

Passengers aged 12 and over traveling to destinations such as Delhi, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Lagos, Mumbai, Shanghai and Tel Aviv must always wear masks onboard Virgin flights.

BA has also updated its website to confirm that face masks are no longer required for passengers traveling to and from the United States.

Other major European airlines, including Lufthansa and Air France, continue to require the wearing of face masks on all flights.

Most US carriers, including Alaska, American, Delta, United and Southwest have already announced that they no longer require passengers or crew to wear masks on domestic flights.