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Do Children Need to Wear an Airplane Face Mask?

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Updated: Tuesday 19th April. Here you will find useful information on which countries require masks on flights to and from their destination, what individual airlines are currently saying regarding the use of face masks and whether children are required to wear an airplane face mask. Read the entire article for a more in depth look at the rules, or use the contents to head straight to your preferred airline and see if kids have to wear a face mask on a plane in destinations which require masks. Note: some airlines (April 2022) STILL require a mask even if the destination does not!

If you are flying with a baby or toddler, then that age group is exempt on most airlines to most destinations that still require a mask.

The most major recent update is that the old rule: that all airlines to and from the USA must enforce that all passengers aged two and over must wear a mask unless they meet the CDC exemptions, is no longer required. A Floridian judge overturned the rule and now it is no longer a legal requirement to wear one and many US airlines have dropped the requirement unless flying to countries which still enforce masks to and from their destination.( Details below).

Another major rule change is that the UK no longer requires masks at the airports.

Which Countries Require Masks on Planes?

Below we list many of the current destinations which require a mask on the airplane to and from the country. As this can change quickly, please note you are also required to check the local restrictions at the destination you’re travelling to from their government website. Also importantly, airlines may still have a requirement you wear a mask, even if the destination doesn’t!

Destination CountryMask on board RequiredMask at Airport required
Austria All passengers aged 6 and over are required to wear a FFP2 when they fly.
Canada For all passengers over the age of 2, face coverings are a mandatory requirement issued by Transport Canada.
Cayman Islands
Costa Rica
Czech Republic
Dominican Republic
France All passengers aged 6 and over are required to wear a FFP2 or surgical masks when they fly. Cloth masks, scarves, visors and masks with valves are not accepted.X
GermanyX However some airport trains and trams may still require them
Hong Kong, China
Italy All passengers aged 6 and over are required to wear a FFP2 when they fly.
Saudi Arabia
South Africa
St Kitts
St Lucia
The Netherlands
Trinidad and Tobago
Turks and Caicos
United StatesXX
pregnant mother and child wearing facemask next to a plane

What Airlines are Requiring Face Masks?

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but gives you 15 major airlines current rules for face masks during the Coronavirus pandemic and their policies on children wearing them plus extra information to help you plan.

A helpful reader who is exempt also wrote in to tell me about their experience and noted that, “some airlines also require a negative test result in order to travel with a face covering exemption.” And to check that the exemption is noted on all sectors of the journey in case of connections and transit stops to avoid any situations of denied boarding.

Alaskan Airlines

Alaskan Airlines Covid-19 Travel Guide


Acceptable face coverings 

  • Face coverings must be made from a cloth or other barrier material that prevents the discharge, release, and expulsion of respiratory droplets from a person’s nose or mouth.
  • If you are wearing a face shield, you must also wear a mask.

Unacceptable face coverings 

  • Face coverings with direct exhaust valves
  • Face coverings that do not cover a guest’s nose and mouth
  • Face shields without masks

American Airlines



  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to recommend that people wear a face mask in indoor public transportation settings, but they aren’t required to be worn in airport settings or on your flight unless an individual jurisdiction has these requirements.
  • We recommend checking the cities / countries you’re traveling to / through / from for the latest updates and travel requirements.
  • These rules do not apply to children under 2, or if you have a disability that prevents you from wearing a face covering and meet the exemption requirements.

Rules for Masks on AA:

They aren’t required to be worn in airport settings or on your flight unless an individual jurisdiction has these requirements.

British Airways


Covid-19 Travel Guide:

Covid-19 BA FAQs:


  • The legal requirement to wear a face covering has now been removed in England and Wales and we have updated our face mask policy.

Rules for Masks:

  • If you are travelling on our flights, you will be required to wear a mask on board if the destination you are flying to or from requires you too.
  • If you are travelling on our flights, you will be required to wear a mask to disembark the aircraft, and at your arrival airport, if the destination you are flying to requires it



Covid-19 Travel Guide:

Covid-19 FAQs:


  • Effective immediately, masks are optional for all airport employees, crew members and customers inside U.S. airports and on board all aircraft domestically, as well as on most international flights.

Permitted Masks when masks must be worn to certain countries eg Canada, Italy, Austria and more.

  • Disposable surgical or medical masks 
  • Cloth masks with tightly woven fabric (2 or 3 ply masks are recommended) 
  • Valve-free respirator masks (N95 or KN95) 
  • Fabric masks with a clear plastic window  
  • Gaiters with two layers (single layer gaiters should be doubled over) 
  • Plastic face shields or goggles may be worn in addition to a mask but are not approved mask replacements. 



Covid-19 Travel Guide:

Covid-19 FAQs:


  • Many of the countries we fly to still require that masks are worn, and you may need one at the airport, at the gate and during your flight. Masks are only optional on a small number of our routes.
  • The type of mask you require depends on the route you’re flying. If in doubt, an FFP2 certified mask is accepted everywhere.
  • For flights to, from and within France you must travel with a surgical or FFP2 certified mask.
  • If you’re travelling to, from or within Italy, Austria and Germany a FFP2 certified mask is required.
  • For all other flights where masks are required, the mask can be surgical, cloth or of FFP2 standard. Face visors, masks with valves and scarves are not allowed.
  • If your mask isn’t suitable, you may be refused travel.

Rules for Children’s Masks:

Flights to countries which require masks: Only children under the age of six, and those with a valid medical reason supported by a letter from a medical practitioner are exempt.



Covid-19 Travel Guide:


  • When you enter Emirates Terminal 3 in Dubai you’ll need to wear a face mask. You don’t have to wear gloves, but it is recommended. 
  • We’ll give you a complimentary travel hygiene kit containing gloves, a face mask, antibacterial wipes and a hand sanitiser. 
  • Make sure you pack everything into your checked-in bags. Cabin baggage is currently restricted to a laptop bag, handbag, briefcase, or baby items only. 
  • From 1 July, we’ll reopen our Business Class Lounge on Concourse B at Dubai International airport for First Class, Business Class and eligible Emirates Skywards customers. Our other lounges in Dubai and around the world remain closed for the time being.
  • We’re boarding the aircraft in smaller groups from the last row to the first

Rules for Masks:

Current 19th April 2022. You must wear a cloth or medical mask throughout Dubai International airport, during boarding, throughout your flight, and as you leave the aircraft. Children under 6 years old and customers who have certain medical conditions do not have to wear a mask.

Due to local government regulations, only medical face masks are accepted on flights from Dubai to Germany, France, and Austria.

If for medical reasons you’re unable to wear a mask throughout your entire journey, you need to complete a Medical Information Form (MEDIF)before your flight.

This applies to:

Customers with the following cognitive, intellectual or sensory conditions

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Dementia
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Down syndrome
  • Developmental delay
  • Autism spectrum condition

Customers who require supplemental oxygen or have the following respiratory conditions:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Heart failure
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Asthma

From Customer Services Representative: We expect parents to encourage their children to wear a mask for extra protection. Flights to/from the USA all passengers aged two and above are required to wear a mask unless they meet the CDC exemptions.



Covid-19 Travel Guide:


  • No hand sanitizer is available on board, so do bring your own.
  • Toilets will be open to use as normal. Please wait safely in your seat until one’s free rather than queuing in the aisles. If you need any special assistance, just ask one of our friendly cabin crew who’ll be happy to help.
  •  Cabin crew to warm your baby’s bottle and food for you as normal. Our crew will be washing their hands regularly anyway, but they’ll wash them again just before handling your baby’s bottle and food.
  • The inflight menu is still available. You’ll be able to choose onboard or you can keep things more contact free by pre-paying for your in-flight food before you take off.
  • Until 30 April, FFP2 masks or higher grade must be worn to travel on flights in Italy. FFP2 Masks must be worn on flights to France and Austria.

England and Northern Ireland

It’s no longer a legal requirement to wear a face mask at airports in England and Northern Ireland or onboard our planes. However, as per UK Government guidance, we recommend that you continue to wear a face mask in these spaces, and you will need to wear one when you get to your overseas destination.


It’s still a legal requirement for everyone aged six years and over to wear a face mask at our Scottish airports and onboard our planes travelling to and from those airports. This is the case even if you’re fully vaccinated.

If you’re unable to wear a mask, you must let us know in advance to be able to travel – please provide proof of your exemption to our Special Assistance team on 0800 408 5591 so we can authorise your travel. We’ll ask you for specific medical evidence to confirm this, as we don’t accept downloaded exemption cards or lanyards as proof of exemption. And if you fail to wear a face mask without our agreement, you’ll not be allowed to board your flight.

Jet Blue 


Covid-19 Travel Guide:


  • Per Federal mandate, we require all travelers 2 years and older to wear a mask covering their nose and mouth on board and at the airport unless exempt. Masks with exhalation valves or vents are not permitted.
  • If a mask cannot be worn due to a permitted CDC exemption, then a face shield must be worn to travel.

Jet star


Covid-19 Travel Guide:

Covid-19 FAQs:


  • Information sent to you before you fly, so you know what to expect
  • Contactless check-in (either online or via our mobile App) is recommended
  • A Fly Well pack will be provided containing a mask and sanitising wipes
  • You’ll be asked to limit movement around cabin, once seated
  • Modified inflight catering to minimise touchpoints for crew and customers
  • Food and beverages will only be available when pre-paid up to 24 hours before departure, no sales will be made on board.

Rules for Masks:

For further details see



Covid-19 Travel Guide:

Covid-19 FAQs:


  • Contactless check-in (either online or via our mobile App) is recommended
  • Self-service Bag Drop is strongly encouraged
  • On entering the lounge, you may be asked to provide your contact details as part of COVID-19 traceability requirements
  • Simplified service – for the time being we’ve reduced our food and beverage offering and removed inflight entertainment. 
  • You’ll be provided with a Fly Well pack containing a mask and sanitising wipes. 
  • Temporary removal of inflight magazines (available digitally)
  • All Qantas Meeting Rooms are closed until further notice.
  • All Qantas Valet locations are closed until further notice.

Rules for Masks:

You’re required to wear a face mask on all flights. Your face mask needs to cover your mouth and nose, fit securely and must be worn unless you’re under 12 years of age or have a medical exemption. A scarf or bandana is not considered a face mask.

As you’ll need to wear your mask as soon as you enter the airport as well as inflight, you’re encouraged to bring your own. If you need a replacement mask, they are included in your Fly Well pack which is collected at the boarding gate.

Ensure you’re aware of any government requirements that apply while in Australia and in New Zealand including wearing face masks and coverings.



All passengers aged 6 and over must wear a mask unless exempt on ALL Lufthansa flights. An exemption to the obligation to wear a face mask can be made on health grounds. Lufthansa will only accept an exemption on presentation of an up-to-date (no more than 48 hours old) negative Covid-19 PCR test result alongside the Lufthansa Group form signed by a doctor. Please let them know before boarding.

Cloth face masks, as well as visors (face shields), masks with valves, scarves or handkerchiefs, are not permitted on board. This also applies to FFP2 masks made of fabric. Variations may be possible due to national regulations or the requirements of a destination country.

Ryan Air


Covid-19 Travel Guide:


  • You may be required to have your temperature checked at the airport, prior to security. If you do not pass this temperature check you will not be permitted to travel on public health grounds.
  • It is still be mandatory to wear a face mask/covering on board your flight.
  • Failure to comply with these measures will result in passengers not being permitted to travel on public health grounds.
  • All Ryanair aircraft are fitted with HEPA air filters (High Efficiency Particulate Arrestors), which remove particles in the air, down to the size of microscopic bacteria and virus clusters with an efficiency of better than 99.99% and interior surfaces are disinfected every night with chemicals, which are effective for over 24 hours.

Rules for Masks: See their terms and conditions. However, they may refuse to carry you or your baggage  In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, this is especially the case if you refuse to undergo temperature checks at the airport or if you refuse to wear a face mask during boarding or on-board our aircraft. Children under 12 do not need to wear face masks. If you suffer from a medical condition that prevents you from wearing a face mask you are exempted from the face mask obligation on provision of a medical certificate attesting your condition.

Exemptions to face coverings: Children under 12 do not need to wear face masks. If you suffer from a medical condition that prevents you from wearing a face mask you are exempted from the face mask obligation on provision of a medical certificate attesting your condition.

SouthWest Airlines


Covid-19 Travel Guide:

Covid-19 FAQs:


The White House announced the masking order is not in effect, and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will not enforce the federal mask mandate at this time.

As a result of this development, effective immediately, Southwest Employees and Customers will be able to choose whether they would like to wear a mask on flights, at domestic ​airports, and at some international locations.

If required to wear a mask rules are:

  • Masks must fit snuggly under the chin, with no mesh fabrics.
  • On the aircraft, if wearing oxygen masks is needed because of loss of cabin pressure or other event affecting aircraft ventilation, masks should be removed to accommodate oxygen masks. For more information on our mask policy, including attributes for acceptable masks, see the FAQ.
  • If you forget your mask or bring one that’s deemed insufficient, a mask will be available for you.

Rules for Masks:

We are awaiting clarification for children who are flyign to destinations that still require them. Do check on that countries law in the meantime as it varies from country to country. eg Canada aged 2 and above, Italy aged 6 and above.



Covid-19 Travel Guide:

Covid-19 FAQs:


  • It’s no longer a legal requirement for those travelling to or from the UK to wear a face mask during their TUI Airways flight, but – in accordance with UK government and EU Charter guidance – we do still strongly recommend that you do so. Please don’t travel if you’re showing any COVID-19 symptoms, or testing positive – you can change your holiday fee-free under our COVID flexibility policy.
  • If you’re flying with one of our partner airlines, you’ll need to check their website for their rules on face masks.
  • No matter which UK nation you’re flying to or from: If you’re flying to Italy, everyone aged 6 and over must wear an FFP2 mask throughout your flight – this is mandatory. If you’re medically exempt, you must carry evidence of this. Just so you know, Sunflower Lanyards are not accepted as evidence.

Rules for Masks:

Virgin Atlantic


Covid-19 Travel Guide:

Covid-19 FAQs:

  • For the following routes operating to or from the UK, masks are still required for customers aged 12 and above until further notice, unless exempt: Delhi, Islamabad, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Lahore, Lagos, Mumbai, Shanghai, Tel Aviv.

Rules for children: Children 11 and under do not need to wear a mask.

General mask wearing advice for the flight.

  • Face masks should be replaced after being worn for 4 hours, if not advised otherwise by the face mask manufacturer, or when they become wet or soiled.
  • Make sure you have enough face masks for all the family for the entire duration of their journey and allow for delays.

Where can I find child sized masks?

Below links may contain affiliate links.

What Were/Are The Airline Rules for Wearing a Face Mask on a Plane?

Airlines did and still do vary on their rules with masks which were/are enforced in different ways.

The Captain is in charge of the flight and it is he or she who ultimately has a say over who can travel, especially if they have any concerns for the flights operation and safety during flight.

The pilot in command stands in the role of the air carrier and can decide whether to remove a passenger from a flight for safety reasons. Before we delve deeper, I am by no means a legal professional. This information comes from my research and experience as an ex flight attendant who has had circumstances arise where the Captain has needed to refuse travel or authorise restraining a passenger etc, when there has been a real risk to either fellow passengers, crew or the aircraft. Every occurrence was unique.

airplace face mask rule sf or kids pin for pinterest

If there was unacceptable behaviour that endangered the aircraft, passengers or crew, then legally a Captain in command can decide to remove a passenger. Currently EASA (European Union Aviation Safety Agency) and IATA recommend the wearing of masks on airlines.

In the USA, it was federal law since January 2021 which required airline passengers to wear masks unless they are under two years old. Previously, in the USA, airline passengers, including a 3 year old with autism have been removed for not being able to wear a mask.

This is because airlines could previously make their own rules in some cases, and although most US airlines were following the USA CDC guidelines. which are ,

Children 2 years and older should wear a mask over their nose and mouth when in public settings where it’s difficult to practice social distancing. This is an additional public health measure people should take to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in addition to (not instead of) the other everyday preventive actions listed above.”

They no longer are required to follow this advice and United, Delta Airlines, Alaska Airlines have now said face coverings would no longer be required on domestic flights and only needed on some international flights.

But what about children?

EASA say, “an exemption to wearing a face mask can be made for instances where it is otherwise specified, such as during security checks or identification control. Children under 6 years of age and people that cannot wear a face mask due to medical reasons can also be exempted.

Previous Exemptions to mask wearing if flying to or from the USA.

The federal government of the USA set a mandate that the ONLY exemptions to mask wearing onboard was,

  • A child under the age of 2 years;
  • A person with a disability who cannot wear a mask, or cannot safely wear a mask, because of the disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.).9 
  • A person for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to workplace health, safety, or job duty as determined by the relevant workplace safety guidelines or federal regulations.”

Download my useful checklist now by clicking on the image

Click image to print out

Where does this leave parents?

With this unique situation continually evolving and rules being so varied, and throwing normal kid behaviour into the mix, it makes it very hard to determine what would actually happen if things kicked off regarding a child not wearing a mask on board if required to do so. One would hope a degree of understanding by both crew and other passengers, with no consequences to the family for trying, being polite, non threatening etc.

Many other airlines, as you can see from below do understand the practicalities for trying to get a young child to wear a mask on a flight. We will attempt to on our next flight and will update how it went!

Last thoughts before the guide to airline requirements.

SO, the low down is from researching this, it is important to realise that each airline can vary and countries rules change frequently, so do research your options and have back up plans.

Airplane Face Mask Rules pinterest pin.

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18 − twelve =

K.C. Cooper

Sunday 24th of April 2022

Scotland's mask mandate was also dropped on April 18, making the entire UK mask-optional.

Carrie Bradley

Tuesday 26th of April 2022

Brilliant thank you! I'll update!

K.C. Cooper

Saturday 22nd of January 2022

The information for Delta (and US law) is completely wrong. There is a medical/disability exemption. This is clearly stated on Delta and CDC websites.

K.C. Cooper

Sunday 30th of January 2022

@Carrie Bradley

A few things...

1. In my case, I'm autistic and can't wear a face covering due to the sensory sensitivity to touch. This is an example of a disability under both US and UK law. The Americans with Disabilities Act is much like the UK's Equality Act. Therefore, the US' face covering requirement is fairly similar to the UK's, with the biggest difference being the age cutoff (which you've correctly noted as being 2 instead of 11). I have firsthand experience with exemptions (domestic flights on Delta, and US and non-US flights on Icelandair).

2. Let's say you fly on BA or Virgin, from the US to the UK, and then on to elsewhere. The face covering exemption process will be the exact same process on both legs of the journey (except for children ages 2 through 10, for whom only the US flight would require an exemption process). For connecting flights on airlines that require advance notice, such as Virgin, be sure the exemption is being applied to your entire journey - this is especially important if the flights are on different bookings. Failing to do so could lead to you being denied boarding, leading to you stranded in your connecting city. Whether the airline is based in the US, UK, or elsewhere, the website will generally spell out the process, including how much advance notice is required if applicable. Some airlines also require a negative test result in order to travel with a face covering exemption. Word of caution - don't fly JetBlue if you can't wear a mask. They require a face shield which isn't indicated ANYWHERE on their website, and since I can't wear a face shield either, I was forced to miss out on a family vacation. Here's someone else who ran into the JetBlue face shield problem: (see reply 15 for what the resolution was. Spoiler alert: Delta to the rescue.)

3. The part about being arrested isn't true. The face covering requirement itself is enforced through civil administrative fines (not likely for a first-time violation, though), not criminal penalties. (However, there have been cases where people refused to wear a mask, and were therefore asked to leave and refused, resulting in the person being arrested for trespassing.) The part about being banned from the airline is correct.

4. In common areas of most, if not all, US airports, face covering exemptions are handled on a UK-style honor system/self-attestation. However, the TSA/security checkpoints will require medical documentation (presented upon entry) in order to enter without a face covering. This applies irrespective of any airline's exemption policies.

5. The top of your post still incorrectly states "However, all airlines (USA based) are implementing rules that children 2 and over must wear a mask, with no exemptions." In addition, for Alaska, Delta and other US airlines, your post still has outdated (or sometimes entirely wrong) information. For instance, for Delta, your post still claims "Only children under two and unaccompanied minors are exempt from the mask requirements.", which was never true. (also, Delta's website claims that the exemption process can take over an hour, probably as a deterrent. From my experience, that's absolutely not true - it took less than 15 minutes.)

6. Last, but not least, DO NOT MAKE FALSE CLAIMS OF A DISABILITY, or otherwise abuse a face covering exemption process! The processes exist for a reason. Misusing them delegitimizes, discredits, and is extremely disrespectful and rude to those with legitimate exemptions.

Carrie Bradley

Monday 24th of January 2022

Hi KC, Yes, this is correctly stated in the paragraph above with the heading about all flights to and from USA, with links to the CDC exemptionns * Exemptions to mask wearing if flying to or from the USA*

The federal government of the USA since January set a mandate that the ONLY exemptions to mask wearing onboard is,A child under the age of 2 years

A person with a disability who cannot wear a mask, or cannot safely wear a mask, because of the disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.).

A person for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to workplace health, safety, or job duty as determined by the relevant workplace safety guidelines or federal regulations.

Failure to comply could lead to arrest and being banned from the airline. Hope this clarifies for you and thanks for writing in! Hope you have a safe flight and any other questions or if you need further help, please do let me know.

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