News Singapore Airlines

Germany and Canada scrap mask mandates – good news for long-haul SIA flights

From 1st October, you won't be required to wear a mask on flights to and from Germany or Canada, meaning all Singapore Airlines services longer than 7.5 hours will be mask-optional.

There’s more good news for fewer mask-wearing requirements on board flights this week, with both Germany and Canada ending their mandates for passengers to wear a face covering on board both domestic and international flights to and from their countries, effective from 1st October 2022.

ADVERTISEMENT

This follows recent relaxations by Australia and Brunei, plus a new mask-optional policy for passengers departing from Indonesia, and means that from next month the majority of Singapore Airlines flights (56%) will be mask-optional.

Germany allows mask-free flights

Back in May 2022, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) removed their recommendation that mask-wearing at airports and on board flights should be mandatory.

Almost all EU states then followed suit (well, several had already done so!), dropping their mask-wearing edicts for air travel, but there were two notable holdouts – Germany and Spain.

These countries opted to retain their mask requirements on board flights (though, strangely, not in airport terminal buildings and lounges), leading to significant confusion among travellers flying within Europe.

ADVERTISEMENT

The situation became so unworkable that Lufthansa told the German Government the airline’s crew would not be required to enforce the policy on international flights, saying it “can no longer be implemented”.

Lufthansa repeatedly complained that Germany’s isolated stance on in-flight mask-wearing was unenforceable by its cabin crew, once other European countries had lifted the restriction. (Photo: Lufthansa)

Mainly Miles understands that since late May this year, the airline has only required its crews to insist on mask-wearing when operating domestic flights, and must merely make an announcement about the policy on international services, leaving enforcement at the discretion of the crew.

Thankfully, after significant pressure from Lufthansa, Germany’s federal legislative body the Bundesrat has approved a new COVID-19 Infection Protection Act, which means that masks will no longer need to be worn on flights within, to or from Germany between 1st October 2022 and at least 7th April 2023.

One caveat is that the government could reintroduce the policy this winter, if COVID cases spike.

Canada will also relax its mask mandate

As part of a broader relaxation, including the removal of vaccination requirements, the scrapping of a pre-travel online health declaration, and removal of random on-arrival testing, Canada has announced that it will no longer require travellers to wear masks on either domestic or international flights.

Passengers on Singapore Airlines flights to and from Vancouver, which are now year-round, will benefit from mask-optional non-stop flights starting next month

Passengers travelling from Vancouver to Singapore via SQ47 on Saturday 1st October 2022 will be the first to benefit from the mask-optional policy.

In the opposite direction though, it’s those boarding SQ48 from Singapore to Vancouver on 4th October 2022 who will begin to take advantage, since the same flight on 1st October 2022 actually departs on 30th September local time in Canada, before the relaxation has kicked in.

SIA does not operate Vancouver flights on Sundays and Mondays, so there are no SQ48 SIN-YVR services on 2nd or 3rd October.

ADVERTISEMENT

Like Germany, Canada has said it may reimpose restrictions if necessary, based on the COVID-19 situation there this winter.

What it means for Singapore Airlines

SIA recently relaxed its mask mandate, applying the rule only based on the requirements of the destination country, which meant around 40% of its passenger flights no longer imposed mandatory mask wearing from late August 2022, though cabin crew are still required to wear masks on all services.

These new relaxations will mean 62 additional weekly services, which currently require masks to be worn by all passengers, will become mask-optional, and they are some of the longest on the network.

The latest change will mean that no Singapore Airlines flights in excess of 7 hours 30 minutes will enforce mandatory mask-wearing for passengers on board.

There will be no more mask mandate on Singapore Airlines flights exceeding 7.5 hours from October. (Photo: Singapore Airlines)

The most significant beneficiaries of this latest announcement will be passengers travelling to or from New York on SQ25/26 services.

This Airbus A380 flight transits through Frankfurt in both directions of the trip, and has therefore been scuppered by Germany’s mask mandate on both flights in both directions since SIA’s original mask relaxation a month go.

From 1st October 2022, these flights will become mask-optional, music to the ears of those making the long journey all the way through from Singapore to New York on this service, which clocks in at 23 hours 15 minutes gate-to-gate.

ADVERTISEMENT

The longest Singapore Airlines flights still requiring masks to be worn from 1st October 2022 will be:

  • Dubai – Singapore: 7h 30m
  • Singapore – Dubai: 7h 15m
  • Singapore – Seoul: 6h 35m
  • Chongqing – Singapore: 6h 20m
  • Seoul – Singapore: 6h 15m

What about Barcelona, you might ask. Since Spain still mandates mask-wearing on board both inbound and outbound international flights, aren’t these “mask-on” flights too?

Well luckily (in this case) SIA’s Barcelona services operate via Milan in both directions, and with no mask mandate imposed by Italy it’s only the short 1.5 hour flights between the two European cities that require masks to be worn.

Only this short part of SIA’s flights between Singapore and Barcelona require masks to be worn

For the 12-hour Singapore – Milan and Milan – Singapore legs of the journey, masks thankfully remain optional.

The relaxation in Germany also means that Scoot’s three times weekly 13-hour flights to and from Berlin will become mask-optional from next month, making 6-hour Seoul and Jeju flights the longest on the budget carrier’s network with a mask mandate still in place.

Singapore Airlines mask requirements

Here’s how SIA’s mask requirements will look from 1st October 2022, with relaxations in both Germany and Canada.

Masks required

Masks optional

Singapore Airlines Flights
to/from Singapore
(updated 27 Sep 2022)

Country Mask Requirement

Flying from Singapore

Flying to Singapore
Europe    
Denmark
France
Germany From 1 Oct From 1 Oct
Italy
Spain*
Netherlands
Switzerland
UK
North America    
Canada From 1 Oct From 1 Oct
USA
North Asia    
China
Hong Kong
Japan
South Korea
Taiwan
South East Asia    
Brunei Since 16 Sep Since 16 Sep
Cambodia
Indonesia Since 1 Sep
Malaysia
Myanmar
Philippines
Thailand
Vietnam
South West Pacific    
Australia Since 9 Sep
New Zealand Since 13 Sep
West Asia & Africa    
Bangladesh
India
Maldives
Nepal
South Africa
Sri Lanka
Turkey
UAE

* Mask-wearing only required between Milan and Barcelona

As you can see from the list, both Germany and Canada follow the USA, UK and most EU countries in removing mask restrictions on board flights.

That means from 1st October 2022, the following SIA flights will become mask-optional:

  • SQ25 JFK-FRA-SIN
  • SQ26 SIN-FRA-JFK
  • SQ325 FRA-SIN
  • SQ326 SIN-FRA
  • SQ327 MUC-SIN
  • SQ326<