Since my most recent post on the face mask policies of U.S. airlines, the airlines have one by one started to ban face masks with valves on them. I had no idea that face masks with valves don’t effectively protect others, until Delta last week announced it was prohibiting them. On its dedicated page, Delta writes that “any mask with an exhaust valve is not approved as an acceptable face mask for customers traveling on any Delta operated flight.”

As of yesterday, face masks with valves are no longer allowed on Spirit Airlines flights. Per TPG, “the following coverings will no longer be accepted as masks on Spirit:

  • Open-chin triangle bandanas
  • Face coverings containing valves or mesh material
  • Face shields (note that face shields may be worn in addition to an acceptable face covering)”

Both United and JetBlue will soon be banning them, as well. United’s new policy will go into effect tomorrow (August 7). On JetBlue flights, meanwhile, the airline will no longer allow the use of “face masks with vents or exhalation valves” starting Monday (August 10).

What’s wrong with face masks with valves?

In a story called “Face masks with valves don’t stop COVID-19 from spreading,” PopSci writes that “when it comes to stopping the spread of COVID, wearing a valved mask is just about as bad as not wearing one at all: they allow your exhalations (and respiratory droplets, which can carry the virus that causes COVID-19) to vent out into the air.” The Mayo Clinic, in its own write-up on face mask safety, says that “some N95 masks have valves that make them easier to breathe through. With this type of mask, unfiltered air is released when the wearer exhales.” Both stories are worth reading if you want to know more.


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5 Comments On "U.S. Airlines Are Now Banning This Kind of Face Mask"
  1. Richard Slusser|

    BS! You just need to choose a better face mask with a valve:

    5 filtering layers are certainly better than 1 layer of suspect material strapped to your face (and not tightly at that.)

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Good luck getting on a plane with a valve mask

  2. Dubdub|

    The valve issue is well known. Which you can tape over. Interesting airlines are taking on the efficacy and liability of types of masks that work or not. They should simply supply a $0.50 surgical/ clean room mask.

  3. Marlin Yoder|

    I knew about those valves for years, they make it easier to breathe, why do you think that is?
    I thought it was kind of funny to see people wearing them and looking down there nose and judging people with no mask.

  4. John Robins|

    Thank you so much for this article as it supports a lot of lives. Here, I would also like to share information about the Delta Airlines Flight Change Policy as it has helped me a lot. Looking forward to seeing more articles like this from you.

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