• Ashley Locke

What Is the Safest Face Mask for Air Travel?

Face masks are required virtually everywhere you go these days. And that doesn't stop with air travel.


Not everyone is willing to comply with the new health precaution, though almost every major airline is enforcing passengers to wear a face mask when traveling.


This then brings up the question of which face mask is the safest for air travel. Will any mask do? Is there one that offers more protection than the rest? Time to break it all down!

Fabric face mask with daisy print sitting on a white background next to a pair of sunglasses and a branch of cherry blossoms

The type of face masks we'll be looking at include fabric, surgical, N95, face masks with valves, and face shields.


Fabric Face Mask


The fabric face mask is becoming increasingly popular, as it gives people a way to express their personalities through their mask. But are they safe for air travel? Yes, so long as you wear them properly. That means covering your nose completely and sporting it during the entirety of your flight/time at the airport. These are often recommended, because they can be washed, so you won't need to throw them away after using them like a surgical mask. You should wash this type of mask regularly to keep yourself safe.

Surgical Face Mask


Surgical face masks are fairly common, because they are inexpensive and easy to find. Plus, you can purchase a large quantity at once, so you'll never run out. These are obviously pretty safe, given that they're used by doctors during surgeries. Still, they can only be used once and should be thrown away immediately after. That creates a lot of waste, so opting for a mask that can be reused might be better.

N95 Face Mask


Another type of face mask used by medical professionals, the N95 is incredibly safe. But, and it's a big but, they're recommended to only be used by medical professionals for now. With supplies running low, the general population doesn't need their own supply of N95 masks. Any other type of face mask will do.

Face Mask With Valves


These types of masks are less common, though we're sure to be seeing them more. They have a little valve on the side that makes breathing easier. The problem? This allows germs to infiltrate your airways. In fact, these aren't really recommended by the professionals, because they don't really protect against coronavirus. So, whatever you do, don't opt for this type of face mask.

Face Shields


Face shields aren't the most common mask, though they just might be the safest. Qatar Airways has required everyone on their flights to wear both a face mask and a face shield. So if you really want to take extra precautions, the shield, in addition to the face mask of your choice, is your best bet.

Out of the five options above, the face shield seems to be the best for air travel. Though experts agree that fabric and surgical face masks will do the job if you cannot get a face shield in time for your next trip.



More and more airlines are taking stronger health and safety precautions to keep their passengers and employees safe. Recently, Emirates announced it would offer global COVID-19 insurance. Read more about it HERE!

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