The Masks Were Working All Along
September 13, 2021

Next time you travel on an airplane you may need to do more than just remember to bring your mask. You may need to remember to bring the right kind, and leave those cloth masks at home.

Finnair was the most recent European air carrier to ban cloth masks, while other carriers such as Lufthansa have had policies such as this in place since Feb. 1. Air France also requires surgical masks when flying.

American air carriers, however, are more lenient, even as the Delta variant spreads. To this day, no U.S. aircraft carrier has banned cloth masks.

“The filtration effectiveness of cloth masks is generally lower than that of medical masks and respirators; however, cloth masks may provide some protection if well designed and used correctly,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said last year.

American air carriers, do, however, restrict other types of face coverings. Nearly all prohibit the use of ski masks, scarves, and bandanas.

Masks are currently required in U.S. airports, airplanes, trains, buses, and on all other forms of public transportation until at least mid-January 2022, according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

N95 masks were once difficult to find since they were in high-demand at the start of the pandemic, but now plenty are currently available.

KN95 masks are a cheaper alternative, as long as they “meet requirements similar to those set by CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) for respirators,” according to the CDC.

Several reputable merchants specialize in NIOSH-certified N95 and KN95 mask sales with reasonably fast shipping, notably companies like N95 Medical Supplies, N95MaskCo and Well Before.

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