Now that the USA has removed its test requirement for all the travelers who are allowed to enter, entering by land instead of by air no longer helps you avoid a test… but it sure does help you avoid flying with a mask if you are interested in returning to normal! This trick also has a few other benefits.
Like most European countries, the USA is following the science on masks: if they are not mandatory anywhere else on the ground (where every single indoor space factually has worse air quality than on a plane), there’s no rational reason to require them on a plane.
Canada will probably keep irrationally requiring masks on planes for months to reassure those who suffer from Covidanxiety and who don’t know the facts about air quality on planes, because feelings and politics are more important than facts here.
So this trick will allow you to fly mask-free, whether you are flying to the US or to any one of the many countries with no mask requirement on planes (a list that will only grow longer as more countries finally get over all this).
US entry rules
I won’t repeat everything about how to travel to the United States (or about the 2 simple sets of rules you have to check for any trip), as we’ve been repeating those for months now and all the details are in those posts.
The fact is that on US domestic flights and flights from the US to other countries without a mask requirement, you have the choice to wear it or not. On Canadian airlines, you can’t even finish your sip before they nag you to put your mask back on right away like it’s 2020.
The way to go anywhere mask-free
So based on those entry rules, the trick is simply to enter the US by land, and then you can fly from a US airport to go anywhere else mask-free (if the country you are going to doesn’t require it).
I give you the list of airports near the border below, with direct links to search for the cheapest flights from each, too.
Pros of flying out of a US airport
This trick also could allow unvaccinated Canadians to go further without having to drive. By now, it’s well-known that the US rarely enforces its vaccination requirement by land. And like every country in the world, there is no requirement whatsoever for a domestic flight itself.
Most importantly, by flying out of a US airport, your plane ticket might actually even be cheaper too! Although as with all airfares, there are no absolute rules and it won’t always be the case (prices always depend on the dates/destinations, so compare!)
US airlines often have more flexible change policies than Canadian airlines. By entering Canada by land, you also won’t risk having to quarantine for 14 days just because you forgot to fill out the ArriveCAN app (under a few conditions).
You’ll also avoid much of the current airport chaos, as Canada ranks literally #1 in the world in flight delays and cancelations based on the data! You can thank the federal government’s incompetence for that too obviously.
Cons of flying out of a US airport
US airlines aren’t subject to our passenger compensation rules (although the Canadian airlines are simply disregarding the rules anyway, with our limp government’s trademark inaction being complicit).
But most importantly, beware if you’re one of the many Canadians who seemed so happy that Canada had banned unvaccinated travelers* from all flights departing from a Canadian airport from November 2021 to June 2022: you might not like that domestic flights in the US are filled with untested, unvaccinated travelers who are mask-free.
(*except unvaccinated foreigners transiting through Canada; those unvaccinated travelers were always allowed to be on those same flights, it’s “The Science™”!)
So the trick of flying out of a US airport is really not for the faint of heart (yes, that’s sarcasm).
Kidding aside, the US probably isn’t the best destination for you anyway if you’re worried about catching COVID-19 in the place with literally and factually the best air quality of all indoor spaces (which is an airplane cabin).
Because in the US, there are no mask requirements in any other indoor space where the air quality is much worse than on a plane. In some cases, it was lifted well over a year ago!
US airports near the Canadian border
As a reminder, here’s a list of US airports relatively close to each major Canadian city to take advantage of this trick and travel mask-free.
You can click on the links to see the cheapest destinations from that specific airport for your dates.
- Niagara Falls (IAG) – 1 hour 40 minutes
- Buffalo (BUF) – 2 hours 10 minutes
- Rochester (ROC) – 3 hours
- Syracuse (SYR) – 4 hours
- Detroit (DTW) – 4 hours 15 minutes
- Plattsburgh (PBG) – 1 hour 5 minutes
- Burlington (BTV) – 1 hour 45 minutes
- Albany (ALB) – 3 hours 30 minutes
- Manchester (MHT) – 4 hours 10 minutes
- Portsmouth (PSM) – 4 hours 45 minutes
- Boston (BOS) – 4 hours 55 minutes
- Ogdensburg (OGS) – 1 hour 5 minutes
- Massena (MSS) – 1 hour 30 minutes
- Plattsburgh (PBG) – 2 hours 55 minutes
- Burlington (BTV) – 3 hours 40 minutes
- Syracuse (SYR) – 3 hours
- Bellingham (BLI) – 1 hour 10 minutes
- Everett (PAE) – 2 hours 15 minutes
- Seattle (SEA) – 2 hours 55 minutes
Want to get all coronavirus updates for Canadian travelers?
No masks are required to board domestic flights in the US! This means that if you’re a vaccinated Canadian, you can easily travel anywhere in the US mask-free (even the great places further south) by crossing the border by land, driving to a US airport near you, then hopping on a flight to any other destinations in the country. Simple!
What would you like to know about traveling to the US? Tell us in the comments below.
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