The day of The Great Unmasking is finally here – as of today, Friday September 9, face masks are no longer required to be worn on domestic flights within Australia, as well as international flights travelling to Australia.
As advised on the federal Department of Health website: “From 12.01 am on Friday 9 September 2022 (AEST), the mask mandate for international flights to Australia will be removed. This means that flights travelling to Australia which depart on or after 12.01 am on Friday 9 September 2022 (AEST) will no longer be subject to a mask mandate.”
Face masks are now only considered as ‘must-wear’ items on some international flights from Australia, in accordance with local rules at the destination.
“Travellers should also be aware that airlines and countries they are travelling through may have different requirements,” the department advises.
Update: from 13 September 2022, face masks will also no longer be required on any New Zealand domestic or inbound international flights.
Air New Zealand is also reminding customers to opt into credit until 30 September should they wish not to travel following the change.
Qantas no longer considered face masks as mandatory on flights to London, Rome and the USA, for example.
Singapore is another mask-free route, and Singapore Airlines no longer enforces mask-wearing on flights to Australia along with other destinations including New Zealand, Thailand, France and Switzerland.
The Federal Government ruled for mandatory wearing of face masks on all domestic flights in early 2021; however, airlines were promoting masks as far back as May 2020 and they later became compulsory for flights to, from and within specific states and territories.
Airports around Australia declared masks optional in mid-June, so this latest announcement delivers welcome consistency for travellers.