KLM removes masks on all flights
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One of the most popular air carriers between Europe and North America, KLM and a number of other Dutch airlines have announced masks will no longer be mandatory on any of their flightsas the Netherlands plans to lift all remaining Covid regulations on March 23, 2022.
While the news was surely welcomed by Covid-weary passengers, it does not mean that KLM and its competitors are following official guidelines, because the government has not yet given its consent that face masks should stop being mandatory on flights.
Masks are no longer mandatory on KLM, Transavia and TUI Nederland flights from March 23
Earlier this week, the Netherlands announced it would scrap most of its Covid rules on March 23, including mandates around the use of face coverings indoors and outdoors. As these come into effect Through the whole Countryair travel was left out.
On March 15, the Cabinet justified its decision to continue to impose the use of the mask on planes because it is part of an “international agreement”. As expected, airline officials were not happy not only with KLM, but also with Transavia, Corendonand TUI Netherlands to rebel and scrap face masks for their own account.
From March 23, these airlines will no longer require customers to wear face coverings while traveling. despite the declarations of the Dutch government. Representatives from Transavia and TUI went so far as to call the government’s decision “irresponsible”, saying it would increase passenger aggression.
Flag carrier KLM, however, was more careful in its wording, with its spokespersons calling the government’s decision “disappointing”, considering that mask use will be phased out in all other closed environments. As KLM points out, the industry as a whole regards this approach as “inappropriate”given the current stage of the pandemic.
Backing its own decision to break ranks with the government, KLM said the decision was “at odds with European and international developments which we are following closely. Indeed, Europe has recently started to back away from its hard-line tactics, which aimed to keep Covid as far away as possible during the crisis.
A number of European nations have recently removed all health protocols at their borders, including Montenegro, Ireland, Hungary, Romania and several others. As the Netherlands itself prepares to open up further on March 23, with the end of mandatory mask use, airlines appear to be feeling targeted.
KLM is in talks with the government regarding mandatory mask use
In an official statement, KLM confirmed that they are in consultation with the government, as they believe ‘the wearing of face masks is no longer explicable‘ to the passengers. Transavia is also strongly opposed to the measure, with a spokesperson telling NH Nieuws that the airline was “displeased” and “appalled” by the removal of face masks on public transport, but not on airplanes.
In a press release, Transavia affirmed “that it is not true that this is due to international agreements”, and raises again the question of flight safety, as the unpopular measure “leads to non-compliance and more aggression”. Finally, TUI Nederland is would have even been “angry” at the mandateas quoted by a regional broadcaster.
For TUI, “passengers are less and less willing to comply with this obligation, especially since it is not applied in the rest of society. According to the airline, enforcement of mask use has recently led to ‘an increase in aggressiveness on board‘ towards the crew and passengers, further urging the government to reconsider.
In TUI’s own words, they’ll’no longer monitor compliance with the mask obligation on board” and the Cabinet – the task force responsible for overseeing Covid regulations in the country – is again asked to “transform this obligation to wear a face mask into an urgent recommendation”. This would mean that the use of the mask would cease to be regular except emergency.
Could more airlines rebel and/or announce new guidelines for mask use?
Charged with sending the travel industry into a tailspin at the end of last year, when it had already been hit hard, the The Omicron variant is finally showing signs of setback, as recall campaigns across Europe intensify and more countries ease entry restrictions. In March alone the 11th removed all Covid entry requirements.
Echoing industry demands for a return to normal, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) also recently called for all remaining travel restrictions in Europe to be lifted. Throughout the pandemic, travelers have faced huge challenges relating to the patchwork of cross-border measures within the continent.
With a public wary of the pandemic and a struggling travel industry pushing for a return to pre-pandemic normality, we expect more airlines to announce a change to their mask guidelines soon. At present, the Dutch authorities have not yet reacted to the airline boycott.
When traveling with KLM, Transavia or TUI Nederland from March 23, either within Europe or transcontinentally, passengers are no longer expected to wear face masks and cover your mouth and nose at all times. Nevertheless, travelers should keep abreast of the latest developments and ensure they comply with all applicable regulations.
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