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Masks on flights from/to U.S.

My family will be traveling on American Airlines nonstop from Dallas to Rome and back in June. I see that Italy is still requiring masks for international flights. We don’t mind complying particularly, but an FFP2 mask all of that time will be less than pleasant. Can anyone tell me whether American is strictly enforcing the mask requirement? Can we wear the standard surgical masks instead some of the time? I know the situation is evolving, so please note when you travelled. Thanks.

Posted by
7196 posts

Nope. Impossible to enforce when there are hundreds and the airlines all going to Italy want what you and hundreds want : to leave and arrive on time.

Furthermore, I took the airport train about 4 hours ago in Italy and saw an off duty employee of the national railroad Trenitalia either on his way to or getting off work wearing one of those blue surgical masks below his nose while the automated recording repeated this FFP2 mask requirement in English and Italian. LOL!

The FFP2 mask rule is for all public transportation in Italy not just the least enforceable a flight originating outside the border.
Moreover, FFP2 masks are being handed out for free at the train stations in Italy; you see them on the ground. But this is very well intended, headed into the busy summer travel season and COVID infection rates.

Now I recommend you comply and wear one in a crowded situations like I did the entire time I was there, so COVID is not found on the q-tip that is required by the USA to be put in both nostrils starting the day before your trip is over. Otherwise you will not be going home and have to quarantine in Italy.

Nonetheless the rules could change by time you are scheduled to travel.

Posted by
710 posts

Government policy or not, mask wearing on airplanes and other crowded environments is a no-brainer.

Posted by
2020 posts

The requirement is that if you are flying to country you have to wear the masks they tell you too.

"can anyone tell me whether American is strictly enforcing the mask requirement" is totally irrelevant. It does not matter at all what "bubba" tells you AA did on HIS flight. The flight crew on your flight may decide to strictly enforce it and you should assume they will (A defense of "someone on the internet told me you don't care" is not really going to work)

Posted by
149 posts

I've flown internationally twice in the past three months and on no flight was the type of mask dictated. It didn't matter what kind you had on, as long as you had one on. And enforcement of wearing it correctly varied from almost none to regular cabin announcements about wearing it correctly.
I must say, if you're hoping not to have to wear one the whole time, I hope you are also making contingency plans for testing postive the day before you come home and having to stay there until you test negative. I find the testing rule ridiculous and pointless at this point, but as long as it's in effect, I'm going to protect myself and if that means wearing an FFP2 mask an entire flight even if no one else does, then I will.

Posted by
347 posts

Try a KF94 if you haven't yet. My husband hates masks, they make him feel like he can't breathe. But he was able to tolerate this type on a long flight.

Posted by
166 posts

As someone else posted above, each flight varies in how much or how little the crew enforces masking. For what it's worth, we flew from Rome to Dallas on American Airlines on April 23. Once the plane was at cruising altitude, a flight attendant announced that wearing a mask was advised, but no longer compulsory. Could have been a coincidence, but this was a few days after a district court judge ruled that the mask mandate for airlines is beyond the statutory authority of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Posted by
12923 posts

On an airplane is the one place where it is most advisable to wear the FFP2 or N95 mask. An airplane is like a flying Petri Dish, covid or not, and those types of masks are 90% effective in preventing being infected with any virus.

I wouldn't risk ruining my vacation because I get sick with Covid or even risking being stuck in Italy (the US still requires a negative test before boarding a plane to come back to the US).

Italy is still registering a quarter of a million new cases a week, and almost 800 Covid deaths a week. It's not front page news anymore, because the war in Ukraine is in the limelight now, but the coronavirus is still there acting like a war criminal even worse than Putin.

Posted by
229 posts

airlines are only enforcing standard surgical masks. (sometimes not even that in Europe!)

Posted by
1559 posts

I wore a KN95 for 18 hours and never took it off while flying from Mexico to California. Airlines changed my flights so I had hours of layover.
I don’t care if masks are not required. I will be wearing a mask until the vaccine is variant specific.

Posted by
959 posts

I wear my mask indoors like the grocery store and will on my flight BUT airplanes have great air filtration systems I'd be less worried on a plane then a bus or train. A second for the KF94 mask.

Posted by
13 posts

I flew from Dallas to Rome and from Rome to Chicago two weeks ago on American Airlines. Masks were NOT required on either flight. At the beginning of each of these flights, the captain made a specific announcement that masks are NOT required and asked that all passengers respect each other’s personal decision whether to wear a mask, or not. I’d estimate that 10% of passengers wore masks throughout each flight.

The most interesting thing to me was that we were required to put on an FFP2 mask in order to board the flight (i.e. from the boarding pass checkpoint, down the jetway, and through the airplane doorway only). Once on-board, we immediately dispensed with the mask. If needed, the upstairs pharmacy in FCO Terminal 3 sells the FFP2’s for 0.49€ a piece.

Posted by
9 posts

Thanks Jazz+Travels, kayla p., Gail, hubestur, Shaun Kel, and viajera for your substantive and helpful responses. Happy travels.

Posted by
140 posts

I see people posting that no airlines are requiring a specific mask type and that was definitely NOT our experience 6 days ago, flying from Rome FCO to Zurich on Swiss Air. Gate agents were absolutely strict that you must be wearing an FFP2 mask to board. If you didn’t have one, you had to exit the line and go buy one. The next leg, same day and airline out of Zurich to Paris, gate agent didn’t seem to care one way or the other what kind of mask or even that you were wearing one.

So be prepared with one because you just never know what you will encounter

Posted by
1767 posts

On ITA airlines from Boston to Rome a week or two ago it was absolute enforced you had to have an ffp/n95 type mask on the entire time
Blue surgical or cloth was not permitted

Everywhere else in Italy I saw signs stating this but also people with blue surgical and no one ever said anything to them. In some places the mask requirement was strictly enforced but was any mask.

On 5 or so other flights in Europe a mask was required but did not have to be the n95 type.

So conclusion is it does matter which airline and it may or may not matter where you are flying to as well

Posted by
331 posts

When I flew out of Bologna on Saturday Evening, all gates were strictly enforcing the "Embarking passengers must wear masks" rule.
Not relevant to US flights, but the predominantly Italian queue on my Ryanair Flight were very good at reminding people to wear their masks (and wear them properly)

Posted by
1188 posts

I just returned from France, on Delta, and masks were not required either way. Also, France just dropped the rule about masks on public transportation, too. Still, about half the people wore them. Each country has it's own rules. Gotta follow them.

Posted by
849 posts

Air France was still requiring face masks and made it clear no matter the air space, the airline was sticking to it's rule.

Posted by
2 posts

I'm in Rome right now and took Delta in from JFK. There's no mask requirements. It's your choice. In the airport in Rome, most people aren't wearing them and the same on the subway. No one is telling you to put them on. I did bring a N95 mask for the Vatican, just in case. I believe international airlines may have different requirements, but on AA it should be your choice.

Posted by
5 posts

My family and I just flew from Spain to Italy and the FFP2 mask requirement was enforced.

Posted by
2590 posts

Think for just a minute how confined a space an airline is (regardless of how great its airflow is) and what a variety of humanoids are crowded into it and how long you're going to be in that space. And just wear the mask, for your own sake. Same for a bus or train or subway.

BTW, do people really look at whether you're wearing an FFP2 or will a KN95 suffice?

Posted by
1767 posts

N95 / KN95 / FFP2 all counted as the same, it is the style of the mask.

Posted by
9 posts

We flew on American Airlines flight 240 from DFW to Rome on June 4. Masks were not required and very, very few people wore them. Most people also did not wear them exiting the plane, going through customs, and collecting bags at FCO. It would seem from the comments above that some will be happy and some will be gravely troubled and need to consider staying home. Count us among the former. Happy travels.