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Face masks in flights

Any suggestions on a comfortable mask for a long international flight? I plan to use a face shield too.

Posted by
3383 posts

What face masks are you currently wearing? Is there one that is more comfortable than others if you wear it for 8 straight hours? I encourage you to try this in advance. One thing I learned when I wore masks all day for work was to wear a hairband with buttons sewed on and loop the ear loops around the buttons rather than my ears. This made long hours of mask wearing far more comfortable.

Posted by
1288 posts

You should probably check with the airline to see if it must be a specific kind. Some don’t allow cloth masks.

Posted by
7471 posts

Is there one that is more comfortable than others if you wear it for 8 straight hours? I encourage you to try this in advance.

For an international flight from the US it will be way more than 8 hours of mask time. Adjust your 'test time' to reflect the real time you will be masked ( i.e., from airport entry to exit at the other end)

Posted by
555 posts

I agree with Carol. Airlines now have specific requirements. Cloth masks in general are NOT allowed. Nor do they protect you.

I wore an N95 on board. It was totally ok. The fabric did not touch my mouth and nostrils, and so I could breath normally. They are slightly more expensive, but they provide maximum protection against Covid.

Posted by
5285 posts

As for type of mask, no need to really ask, you can if it makes you comfortable, but you are safe to assume cloth masks and "gaiters" are not allowed, and that a typical surgical mask or an N95 are safe bets.

Some airlines in Europe may require the N95.

All airlines will also provide you a compliant mask in the event ir is needed.

Posted by
762 posts

We recently wore KN95 masks on a long Delta flight, they were comfortable and got the Job done.

Posted by
6498 posts

When I flew Delta back to France in May, they handed out surgical masks at boarding and made anyone who was wearing any other type of mask switch to a surgical mask.

Posted by
126 posts

We just flew to Rome on American. Cloth masks were being worn by many and they were left alone. We wore surgical and had a couple of extra in our carry on so we could change for the long flights. I also am more comfortable using one of these under the mask. It also seems to help my glasses from fogging up. It definitely is cooler.
You can search for them using "face mask guard"

With the findings that cloth masks don't do a great job, I was surprised that the airline allowed them.

Posted by
11 posts

All 3 of my group wore the KN95 masks, but many passengers had the lightweight, disposable masks on. The poor flight attendants - constantly having to monitor people that continually take their masks off - the lady with 2 kids flying in the seat in front of us, did not like to wear her lightweight mask and kept taking it off. The attendant had to ask her multiple times and then informed her she was being reported to the captain - I believe her family was detained upon departing. Such a fuss. Just wear the mask.

Posted by
2721 posts

The best mask I have found for any longer term wearing is an N95 mask by Kimberly Clark Co. Granted, it is ridiculous looking as it is in the duck style (horizontal vs vertical), but I don't care as it is the only mask I have found that doesn't fog up my glasses. It also has light elastic that goes around the back of the wearer's head so no ear discomfort or continual adjusting. They fit really well. It is very secure on the edges but provides lots of space on the interior for one's face/breathe. YMMV

Posted by
45 posts

From what I understand, our airline requires either a surgical mask or an N95. We bought a pack of the N95’s, and I recently tested it out at work for an 8-hour shift. I have to wear a mask every day at work anyway, but I’m used to a triple-layer cloth mask. The N95 actually wasn’t as bad as I thought, and as some have said, it touches your mouth and nose a little less than a cloth mask. We will of course have to wear it longer than 8-hours, since our flight is not direct. So either way, I know it’ll be unpleasant. BUT, I really didn’t notice a huge difference between the cloth and N95. And since the N95 offers more protection, that’s also a win. We also bought some surgical masks to switch to in case we have trouble sleeping with an N95 since it stick out more than a surgical mask (the longest portion of our flight is a red eye, so we are concerned about not being able to sleep more than normal on a flight).

Definitely check with your airline if they have a mask requirement as far as type. Most do now require a surgical or N95. Hope this helps!

Posted by
33 posts

I’ve tried various options & plan to wear kn95. I’ve had survivals that don’t fit well at all & ended up double masking under cloth as the surgical was required but it’s not doing any good when it doesn’t sit on my face right!

The other thing I like are mask lanyards. Not for flying where it has to be on all the time, but handy when going in & out of places walking around.

Posted by
551 posts

I'm with Wray regarding the Kimberly Clark N95 "duck mask". They look funny but they are the most comfortable masks. No latex and non-irritating to my eczema prone skin.

Posted by
78 posts

I stumbled upon this company called Lanz Graf in the beginning of the pandemic. They make organic cotton masks and they donate $ to feed America. They're located in Los Angeles CA. I own 3 of their masks but one is red so I'm not taking that color with me to Italy. I went to order 1 or 2 more for my trip but they're out of all masks so depending on when you leave check back.. They're super comfortable to wear as they bill out like a duck as someone calls it. I plan to get an N95 for the plane but will wear my Graf masks in museums If someone is wearing an N95 then you don't need a cool protector unless I'm brain farting. On the other hand I do have some Prana masks that don't breath like my Lanz Graf so I'll probably pick a pack up to share with my travel friend. Whoever suggested that thanks.

Posted by
20 posts

Per Delta Airlines website, 2-ply cloth face masks are accepted for domestic and international flights. Some foreign airlines have stricter mask requirements, but I am not aware of any US airline that has done so. Of course a codeshare flight booked on a US carrier but operated by a foreign airline could have stricter requirements.

Posted by
1461 posts

You might want to try out masks with loops that go around the back of your head, rather than ear loops - avoid sore ears. I just got some KN95s with the head loops.

Posted by
2253 posts

Lots of good advice already; I will just add that a face shield is probably more trouble than it's worth when you are in the same "room" as other people for 8 hours straight. It protects you somewhat from one-off projections, but definitely not from ambient aerosols.
But of course, if it makes you feel safer, no issue!

Posted by
41 posts

I haven’t flown yet during pandemic times, but I have read on another forum that many have found that the dry air on planes is more conducive to comfort wearing masks. I find that humidity makes mask-wearing more uncomfortable, this is a happy thought!

Posted by
52 posts

We did find it difficult to sleep with our cloth masks and eye mask on a red-eye on United next month. Will get Kn95 or N95 for our Italy trip.

Posted by
4866 posts

Looking forward to travel without the mask. I make a point to keep eating so that I don't have to wear them.

My doctor says the the ordinary cloth or disposable masks don't provide much protection at all.

Posted by
2063 posts

Yet so many of us are able to follow the rules geova. Please try not to make flying harder than it has be be right now.