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Qantas mask rules: When do I need them for international flights?


Confused by the new approach? Here are the destinations you can fly mask-free.

Qantas has removed the need to wear masks on many of its international flights – but which ones?

These are the rules in a nutshell, as confirmed to Finder by Qantas:

  • You don't need to wear a mask on an international flight if it's not a legal requirement to wear masks in your destination country. (You can of course choose to do so, but it's not mandatory.)
  • You do have to wear a mask if they're required by your destination country.
  • You still have to wear a mask on all domestic flights within Australia.

The key international markets Qantas highlights as no longer needing masks are the UK, the US and Europe.

If your flight transits through multiple countries or you're connecting to an international flight, you may be required to wear masks on some legs but not others.

So if you're flying Sydney to Los Angeles, you won't have to wear a mask.

And if you're flying from Perth to Rome, you won't have to wear a mask.

But if you're flying from Sydney to Perth and then connecting to Rome, you'll need a mask on the Sydney-Perth leg.

Similarly, if you're flying to London via Singapore, you'll need to wear a mask on the leg to Singapore, but not on the way to London. (That will be true even if you're in First, which Qantas recently reintroduced on the Singapore route.)

I'll update this guide as the rules change further.

Why is Qantas changing its mask rules?

Qantas argues that aircrafts are a very low risk for COVID transmission.

"For aircraft, we think they are the safest environment of any transport in the world," CEO Alan Joyce told radio host Ben Fordham last week. "You've got the HEPA filters on an aircraft that take out 99% of all particles, including COVID-19. You've got air that circulates every 6 minutes, you've got everybody facing in a forward direction.

"And you know, Boeing have done a study that showed if you're sitting next to somebody that coughs, it's equivalent to being 7 feet away from them on the ground. So we think there's a good case to remove masks from aircraft to stop this confusion."

I'm flying to London next month, and I'm happy that I won't have to wear a mask on the second leg, when I'll be wanting to sleep. But I suspect it will be a long while before Singapore changes its rules, so I'm fine with wearing one for the first leg.

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Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more.

Pictures: Angus Kidman/Qantas

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