Mask confusion: British Airways now clear about lifting face covering mandate

After a day of some confusion over its mask rules, British Airways has now issued revised guidance for passengers.

The airline is now aligned with the policy of Heathrow airport, which lifted the obligation to wear face coverings on Wednesday.

BA now tells passengers: “The legal requirement to wear a face covering has now been removed in England and Wales and we have updated our face mask policy.

“Customers are no longer required to wear a mask at some airports in England.

“However, as an international airline flying all around the world, we are obliged to ensure our customers continue to comply with local restrictions and meet the requirements of the destination they arrive at.”

Many destinations still mandate masks for the entire duration of the flight, while others insist face coverings are worn when disembarking the aircraft and entering the arrival airport.

British Airways says: “Where we are unsure or have not been able to clarify the local restrictions, we will still require you to wear face coverings, and we ask that you continue to carry masks with you for the duration of your journey.

“For destinations where we have established that the wearing of a face covering is not mandated, you are able to make a personal choice and we kindly request everyone respects each other’s preferences.

British Airways is the main airline at Heathrow, the UK’s busiest aviation hub.

BA’s rival on long-haul flights, Virgin Atlantic, lifted its mask mandate where destinations allow travel without a face covering to coincide with the Heathrow change.

Initially flights to the Caribbean and the Bahamas allow passengers to decide whether or not to wear face coverings.

The US, which is the leading destination for travelers from Heathrow, will insist on face coverings on flights to and from American airports until 18 April at the earliest.

A British Airways passenger from San Francisco, Jennifer Ewing, tweeted: “Careful… I just boarded a BA flight from San Francisco to LHR and they are requiring face masks.

“I pointed out the ‘official’ announcement from BA and the staff, including the pilot, said they were sorry about the ‘confusion’ but masks still required on this flight. “

The American authorities say face coverings are mandatory on all flights to, from and within the US.

Meanwhile Heathrow airport still has messaging aimed at passengers that says mask wearing is mandatory, though this is steadily being removed.

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