As vaccination rates rises and COVID-19 recedes, Scandinavian Airlines Systems (SAS) is loosening its mask requirement on flights within Scandinavia.
SAS Drops Mask Requirements On Scandinavian Flights
Effective October 18, 2021, SAS will not longer require masks onboard its flights within or between:
For flights within Europe, masks will continue to be required…for now. SAS says it will follow the advice of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
Walk though Sweden today and you would never know there is a worldwide pandemic going on. Extremely few people wear masks, even in public transport or other closely-confined area. Instead, Swedes can boast high vaccination rates and have chosen to treat COVID-19 as an endemic rather than a pandemic that requires continued restrictions on movement and commerce.
Throughout the pandemic, Swedes have taken a skeptical approach to masks, viewing them as a false sense of security rather than a viable additional layer of protection.
SAS credits its policy change “to the opening of societies and general recommendations from authorities in Scandinavia.”
Other Scandinavian Airlines, including Norwegian Air, will also drop mask requirements within Scandinavia.
Are You Ready To Fly Without A Mask?
I have a friend who just returned from a trip to Sweden and he could not get over how no ones wears a mask anymore, even in airports. Even while boarding your flight there is not a reminder to put your mask on.
Is this too much, too soon?
I’m of the opinion that proper masks (particularly N95 masks, not cloth ones) were an effective tool to slow the spread of virus. They still are. It’s also become clear that while greatly effective, vaccines are not foolproof and vaccinated people can spread the virus to others. That doesn’t make them any less necessary, in my opinion.
But I still blame the mask mandate for the surge in violence and misbehavior onboard airplanes in the USA and I’ve reached the point that I believe they should be optional…sooner or later we are going to have to return to mask-free flying and there’s no time like the present. I know I’m simplifying the issue, but if people want to refuse the vaccine and subject themselves to foolish risk, then let them. The small additional risk I incur as a vaccinated passenger being seated next to or around an unvaccinated one is a risk I am willing to bear.
SAS and other Scandinavian airlines will soon do away with the mask mandate on select flights. I think this is a logical move and I hope that the U.S. federal mask mandate, set to expire on January 18, 2022, will actually expire. But not because masks are bad…but because we are moving to the next phase.