Cathay Pacific adds mask exemption for premium passengers

Feb 8, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific said that it’s easing mask restrictions for its business- and first-class passengers.

Sign up to receive the daily TPG newsletter for more travel news!

In an internal memo sent on Friday, the airline detailed its plan to offer a mask exemption “when a passenger is lying flat in business or first class.” The memo, which was first reported by Executive Traveller, detailed the reasoning for the policy being that the premium cabins offer suite-style seats with high enclosures surrounding the passenger.

“Seats in first and business class are more spacious with partitions, and passengers are exempted when lying flat for sleep,” a spokesperson for Cathay explained.

When the first- or business-class passenger’s seat is in the lounge or the upright position, they will still be required to wear their mask. The exemption only applies to when the seat is in its lie-flat mode.

Since May 2020,  Cathay has enforced a one-size-fits-all rule to mask-wearing when flying: every traveler aged two years or older must wear a mask unless eating or drinking, no matter which cabin they’re flying in. Additionally, all passengers must wear a mask during check-in, in Cathay lounges, during boarding, during disembarkation and when directed by airport staff or cabin crew.

Related: Why pilots don’t have to wear masks when flying

Most other airlines, including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic in the U.K., continue to mandate strict rules regarding masks for all passengers in all cabins.

In the United States, President Joe Biden implemented a new mandate that requires all passengers wear a face mask on aeroplanes, trains, buses, taxis and rideshares as of Feb. 2. The CDC said that scientific evidence shows that “consistent and universal use of masks” on public transit will help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Elsewhere, in the Middle East, Qatar advises its passengers flying in business class to wear their mask “onboard at their own discretion, as they enjoy more space and privacy.” A Qatar Airways spokesperson clarified to TPG that “wearing face shields and masks simultaneously is at the wearer’s discretion, however at minimum masks are mandatory.” Non-business class passengers on Qatar are required to wear a face mask and protective face shield at all times.

Featured photo by Emily McNutt/The Points Guy

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.