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Wearing face masks to slow the spread of COVID-19 has been the norm for almost a year now but the commonly accepted practice of wearing a variety of face coverings like cloth masks, face shields and gaiters is under scrutiny and requirements might be about to change here in the US, especially in light of new, highly-transmissible COVID variants.

I wrote a post the other day about a tip from a friend in Germany saying that medical-grade masks are now required in shops and on public transportation. And then I read that Lufthansa will start requiring them as of February 1.

Today, I saw this tweet from London-based aviation analyst Alex Macheras: “Passengers flying the national airlines of Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium will have to wear either a surgical mask, or FFP2/KN95/N95 mask — all “face coverings” or any other types of masks will be banned ⛔️ #COVID19

Currently in the United States, face masks are compulsory on airplanes but surgical masks or N95 respirators have not (yet) been mandated. Masks with vents or exhalation valves have been banned. But if you have a mask that does have a valve, you must wear it with a face mask on top. I don’t have a confirmed answer right now about whether or not US airlines will start requiring N95 masks or similar but if I were a betting man, I’d say yes. The question is when.

I checked in with Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst at Atmosphere Research Group to get his thoughts. “I suspect airlines will follow their governments’ guidelines,” he says. “For now, US airlines aren’t requiring either medical-grade masks or double-masking. But, if the CDC recommends a change and the government supports it, the airlines will respond. I’m about to order some N95s.”

I agree. And I have also ordered some N95 masks to be ready when the time comes. Right now, you can pretty easily find N95 and KN95 masks for purchase but that might not always be the case as demand increases. If you’re looking, check out the links below for N95 and KN95 masks on Amazon as well as N95, KN95 and other PPE on Aiden Health. (Full disclosure: I make a small commission from these links but there’s no extra cost to you.)

Where to Buy N95 and KN95 Masks
N95 and KN95 masks on Amazon
3M N95 Masks on Amazon

Buy N95, KN95, KF94 masks on WellBefore

Related Reading
Why You Should Buy N95 Masks Now
Everything You Need to Know About N95 and KN95 Masks and Where to Buy Them

4 Comments On "Medical-Grade Masks Are Now Required on Some European Airlines – Will the US Follow?"
  1. Jeff|

    So, define what a “surgical mask” is.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      According to the Mayo Clinic:

      Also called a medical mask, a surgical mask is a loose-fitting disposable mask that protects the wearer’s nose and mouth from contact with droplets, splashes and sprays that may contain germs.

  2. Kathleen|

    Evolve Together should be on your list (
    “We are one of the only consumer-facing medical masks that is FDA registered. Additionally, SGS, a world leader in third-party consumer product testing, has verified our masks as Medical Grade Type IIR, a proven indicator of high breathability, excellent splash resistance and superior filtration. SGS has also certified our kids’ decals as non-toxic.

    All of our masks are made in a socially-responsible FDA registered factory that has long specialized in PPE production. The workers wear full PPE within the factory and utilize technology to ensure a fully sterile process from the production line to your doorstep.”

    They are comfortable for long wear, and the best I’ve found for any kind of exercise. Additionally, my 2 year old granddaughter is able to wear the child’s size, and not complain!

  3. Juli|

    Wow. Since N95 & KN95 masks are expensive, that would put quite a financial burden on those of us who are not currently employed. Especially if they were to be required on public transport, which is quite good in my city (Portland OR)and one of the main modes of transport for the unemployed and those with lower paying jobs.

    If by surgical mask they mean the blue pleated masks, those are not as expensive, but still a financial burden for those of us with a very limited income.

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