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QANTAS: Dropping mask requirement on some international flights

QANTAS: Dropping mask requirement on some international flights

Some of you will be sighing in anticipation, while others, including me, will be tsk tsk-ing at the dropping of this major preventative measure, and minor inconvenience.

Rome, USA and UK routes to become maskless

Qantas has stopped enforcing mask-wearing on international routes between Sydney, Perth and Brisbane and Rome, Italy, and destinations in the USA and UK according to a leaked memo reported in the SMH. Victoria and Queensland have already dropped the mandate for masks to be worn in Airports.

This is becoming a pattern, with many countries including the United Kingdom and the United States adopting maskless airline travel. Qantas, according to a leaked memo believes: “… lifting of mask mandates onboard aircraft in all settings is the appropriate next step, with global studies showing the risk of transmission inside the cabin is very low.”

That view is disputed among experts but is in line with the Australia Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) recommendation that mandated mask wearing in airports also be scrapped.

Masks are still required on domestic flights

There is no change to the mask mandate for domestic flights. You still need to mask up once inside the aircraft, even though you may be allowed to go maskless at the airport

a group of people in a line
Melbourne Airport with masks

2PAXfly Takeout

This is another timely reminder to wear your seatbelt when seated. Holding you close to your seat will protect you from the sort of injuries sustained on this flight, when unsecured passengers flew to the ceiling of the aircraft, and then came crashing down once the ‘drop’ ceased.

The hope will be that this is an anomaly – a ‘freak accident’ in casual parlance. If it is a systemic error either mechanical or electronic, then this is a larger concern for the airlines that fly Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft. Let’s hope it isn’t. If it is, it will pile on the woes to Boeing’s existing stack.

The dropping of mask mandates connected to flying seems inevitable. Just remember that no mask mandate is not prescriptive. Health experts still recommend you wear a mask in all situations where it is not possible to socially distance, and I can’t think of any examples besides airports and aircraft to better illustrate this.

With Australian transmission rates through the roof, and more deaths in the last 6 months than occurred in the 2 years prior to 2022, I will maintain my mask wearing at airports and on flights. I also wear a mask when in shops, and on public transport. I respectfully suggest that you do the same, to protect yourselves and others.

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