Finnair, international airlines prohibit fabric masks in favor of surgical masks
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Commercial airline passengers who wish to travel abroad during the coronavirus pandemic need to double-check their chosen face mask fits current policies.
While many airlines in the U.S. have deemed fabric face masks to be acceptable pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE), some international airlines are showing a preference for surgical-grade face masks.
Finnair – the largest airline in Finland, updated its coronavirus mask policy on Monday with an announcement that updated passengers it would no longer be allowing cloth face masks onboard.
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"Starting 16 August, we will no longer accept fabric masks on our flights," the airline wrote. "We accept surgical masks, FFP2 or FFP3 respirator masks without a valve or other valve free masks with the same standard (N95). Please remember you need to wear a mask throughout the entire journey."
The airline elaborated on its website that fabric masks won’t be accepted because "they allow air to escape and do not provide comparable protection." Passengers are also expected to bring their own masks when traveling on Finnair.
Other international airlines that have surgical mask policies include Air France, Swissair, Croatia Airlines, Germany’s Lufthansa and Chile’s LATAM Airlines.
|AFLYY||AIR FRANCE-KLM SA||4.48||-0.08||-1.75%|
|DLAKY||DEUTSCHE LUFTHANSA AG||9.96||-0.29||-2.88%|
|LTMAQ||LATAM AIRLINES GROUP||2.18||-0.04||-1.80%|
Airlines that have shown a preference for surgical-grade masks have cited research that states surgical masks filter small particles better than fabric-made masks.
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In the U.S., however, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has determined that cloth and non-surgical-grade face masks are suitable options so long as it has multiple layers and is free of exhaust valves or vents.
Additional mask features the health agency says Americans should keep an eye out for include an adjustable nose wire, correctly-sized or adjustable ear loops and be opaque when held up to a light source (to help determine whether it has enough layers).