In 3 often idolized European countries, wearing a mask on the plane is already a thing of the past (for all travelers, vaccinated or not). To be honest, even being the most optimistic I could be, I seriously didn’t believe that we would see the end of masks on planes for a long time anywhere (and we probably still won’t here in Canada in fact).
Let’s just say I’m personally pretty surprised that developed countries have already removed masks on planes. Are you?
So in case it makes you want to go to these 3 European countries… or makes you want to avoid them (depending on your preference)…
Here are the details.
Countries without masks on the plane
Masks are no longer required on airplanes in 3 countries (for domestic flights and international flights between the 3 countries):
For those who are interested, here are those 3 countries’ entry rules for Canadians:
- Denmark: Open with no test (or with rapid antigen test if not vaccinated)
- Sweden: Open with rapid antigenic test (as low as $40)
- Norway: Closed
The region’s major airlines have all eliminated the mask requirement on either October 14 or 18:
- SAS (Scandinavian Airlines)
- Norwegian Air
Masks remain mandatory for all other flights “until further notice” according to the airlines.
SAS is a major airline in Europe, with a fleet of 132 aircraft, and has the distinction of being the flag-carrier for all 3 countries, whereas usually each country has its own carrier.
SAS hubs are in Copenhagen (CPH), Stockholm (ARN), and Oslo (OSL).
By the way, SAS is a member of the Star Alliance so they are one of the 40+ airlines you can use your Aeroplan points on.
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Why they removed the mask requirement on planes
In short, in those countries, they decided to be consistent: Pretty much all restrictions locally are lifted, so they are lifted on planes too.
As a reminder, planes have powerful HEPA filters that make the air quality factually better than in any building on the ground, contrary to the widespread but very wrong myth.
Here is what SAS said:
Due to the opening of society and general recommendations from authorities in Scandinavia, SAS is from 18 October 2021, removing the requirement for mandatory use of face masks on flights within Scandinavia.
Same for the other airlines.
This applies even if travelers are not vaccinated and there is no mandatory vaccination requirement whatsoever for air travel in those countries.
(Or for anything in fact: None of the 3 Scandinavian countries has a vaccine passport in place despite removing health measures—maybe they’ll have to put them back as it often happened everywhere, who knows.)
The population here in Canada is usually so admiring of what is done in Scandinavia, praising the excessively high level of quality of life and the society’s egalitarianism.
(Egalitarianism that seems not to be selective over there, which may explain why it is not as popular as it is here to discriminate based on someone’s medical choices.)
Yet I don’t think the mainstream public opinion here—which has shown time and time again that they keep wanting more and more travel restrictions as if we were still in March 2020—is going to be very open to emulating the Scandinavian countries on this front. What do you think?
A whole other planet
In fact, it’s a whole other planet compared to Canada, which will possibly become the only country in the world to require vaccination to board any flight even to leave the country.
(*IF* the government really goes ahead with what it has announced, which is far from certain—see our detailed post about this later this week.)
Contrary to the entry rules of each country and all, we did not verify for each country because it does add much value for our readers, but still: We are not aware of any other country in the world that prevents the unvaccinated from exiting.
No, no other country in the world (or at least very few countries in the worst case) believes that this is a reasonable measure.
This fact alone should justify at least having a rational debate about why the unvaccinated are not given the opportunity to present a PCR test to board a plane in a Canadian airport to leave the country.
Because having a negative test could even make them potentially less risky than all the vaccinated travelers like me, who don’t even need to get tested to fly (and who can still transmit the virus even if vaccinated).
For your information, Canada tests unvaccinated travelers upon arrival and publishes the data. Only 1% test positive since they had to do a pre-entry PCR before entering.
Is it really out of the realm of possibility that 1% of fully vaccinated (but untested) travelers could also be positive? And that they would therefore represent the same level of risk as unvaccinated travelers who would provide a 72-hour PCR test to board a plane?
It would be interesting for the government to publish the data they used when thinking up this new measure, since their travel rule decisions are based on science apparently.
Want to get all coronavirus updates for Canadian travelers?
Masks are no longer required on board airplanes, at least for flights within Scandinavia, i.e. Denmark, Sweden, and Norway.
What would you like to know about pandemic travel? Tell us in the comments below.
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Featured image: Copenhagen, Denmark (photo credit: Febiyan)
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