The 13 European countries that still require masks on flights despite EU dropping rules

May 21, 2022

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.

The European Union scrapped face mask rules on planes and in airports across the continent earlier this week,  but a host of countries continue to enforce them.

In a joint statement released earlier this month, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said removing the mandate would ease pressure on an industry clambering back to its feet after a crippling pandemic.

For more news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for TPG daily newsletter.

“For passengers and aircrew, this is a big step forward in the normalization of air travel,” according to the statement.

However, a number of European nations still regard the move as hasty, choosing to ignore the new guidance and continue to enforce their own mask mandates on flights. And they include some of Europe’s most popular holiday hotspots.

Which countries continue to hold firm on mask rules?

According to the BBC, they are:

  • Austria
  • Cyprus
  • Estonia
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • the Netherlands
  • Portugal
  • Spain

Conspicuous by its absence on that list of course is France, one of the few main summer holiday destinations to have lifted mask mandates on planes, trains and buses in light of the EU’s announcement.

Last week, Minister of Social Affairs and Health Oliver Veran announced the move on Twitter.

“The health situation, which is constantly improving, allows us to lift the obligation to wear a mask in all transport, from Monday. However, it remains recommended, especially for fragile people,” he wrote.

On April 28, Irish authorities decided that they would no longer require passengers to wear face masks while traveling on international airlines so long as the country of origin had waived the requirement.

However, the reluctance by many of the EU’s 27 member states to fall in line with EU guidance reflects a wider mood across the continent that COVID-19 is not gone yet.

Related: Face masks will no longer be mandatory on EU flights from next week

In Italy, passengers are required to keep wearing the more protective FFP2 mask on public transport until June 15.

And last week, Spanish health minister Carolina Darias stood firm in the country’s COVID-19 protection policy. “We have recently adopted measures, hand in hand with prudence and always with the unanimity of the experts and, in this case, the Interterritorial Health Council,” she said. “Therefore, in our regulations, it is not compulsory to wear a mask either on platforms or at airports, but it is on public transport and also on flights.”

The dominoes do appear to be falling, however. In Germany, for example, Transport Minister Volker Wissing suggested he was in favor of lifting the requirement for people to wear masks on buses, trains and trams. “We should proceed uniformly throughout Europe and abolish compulsory masks, especially in air travel,” he said. “I see the same need for adjustment for compulsory masks in buses and trains (in Germany).”

A number of airlines have also removed the requirement to wear masks on board planes, as long as the countries at either end of the flight allow it. They include EasyJet, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Jet2.

Related: A complete guide to the 6-month validity rule

As for the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), they were keen to remind passengers to respect the personal choice of anyone wishing to continue wearing a mask.

“Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them,” they said.

Vulnerable passengers, however, are advised to continue to wear face masks in spite of rule changes, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 mask, which provide superior protection over a surgical or cloth mask.

Featured image by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

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 after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • 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 up to 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 in the U.S., 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 $80 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 PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • 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
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
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.