KLM plans to stop monitoring face masks this week – despite Dutch government rules
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KLM plans to stop monitoring and enforcing face mask usage on passengers later this week.
The Netherlands flag carrier is keen to drop onboard face mask requirements for passengers, putting KLM Royal Dutch Airlines on a potential collision course with a strict government policy that still currently requires mandatory face masks for air travel.
The airline has also been joined in its fight against the regulations by Transavia, Corendon and the Dutch subsidiary of TUI Airways.
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The move comes as Dutch authorities are set to scrap the requirement of face masks on all public transportation this week on March 23 — except for in airports and on flights.
“We find it disappointing that the use of face masks during boarding and during the entire flight is still being considered by the Dutch government, while this has been abandoned everywhere in the Netherlands,” a KLM spokesperson told TPG.
“The sector finds this approach inappropriate, given the phase the pandemic is in,” the spokesperson added. “It is also at odds with European and international developments that we monitor closely … we see an increase in [misunderstandings] among our passengers and a growing number and also more serious incidents with ‘unruly’ passengers, which may negatively affect the safety of a flight.”
“We plan to no longer monitor this from March 23. Instead, we will strongly recommend that our passengers wear a face mask on board in line with EASA and ICAO guidelines,” the airline spokesperson noted, adding that they are currently in consultation with the Dutch government about face masks and the airline’s potential boycott of government guidance.
It reflects a wider move among both major airports and airlines to try and resume normal service where passengers are given the choice of whether or not to wear a face covering, rather than making it a requirement.
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic announced last week they would be dropping mandatory mask rules. Though, in the case of BA, the airline’s rollout announcement may have been somewhat premature and wrought with logistical and communication issues, as TPG UK’s managing editor, Jordan Waller, discovered when he attempted to board one of the first ‘maskless’ flights last week.
KLM has already stated that its loosening of mask rules won’t apply for all routes worldwide.
At the peak of the pandemic, the Netherlands suffered major losses in tourism, relying heavily on European tourists as travelers from the United States and Asian countries decreased by 83%. You can be sure, however they achieve it, KLM is planning to make up for lost time by making traveling more appealing to travelers turned off by face mask requirements.
Featured image by Ethan Klapper/The Points Guy.
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