British Airways 777
British Airways 777

British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Heathrow Airport To Drop Face Mask Mandate

British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and London Heathrow Airport have all announced that they will drop their face mask mandates beginning Wednesday, 16 March. The United Kingdom is lifting travel restrictions from Friday this week.

Even though face coverings at Heathrow will no longer be mandated, Heathrow still strongly encourages travellers to continue wearing masks in recognition that the pandemic is not over yet, according to Heathrow’s press release.

“Heathrow strongly encourages those at the airport to continue wearing a face-covering – particularly when coming into close contact with others – although this will no longer be a firm requirement.”

London Heathrow Airport

British Airways & Virgin Atlantic

Both major British carriers based at London Heathrow welcomed the decision to lift off mask mandates, signaling they will also revise their face covering policies. They also mentioned that passenger’s health and safety would remain their number one priority.

British Airways Chief Operating Officer, Jason Mahoney, said that passengers would only be required to wear a mask on their flights if their destination needs it.

“We welcome this as a really positive step forward. For destinations where the wearing of a face covering is not mandated, our customers are able to make a personal choice, and we kindly request everyone respects each other’s preferences.”

Jason Mahoney, British Airways’ Chief Operating Officer

Virgin Atlantic also announced a similar decision stating that the policy will be introduced gradually across its network, beginning with the Caribbean flights from Heathrow and Manchester.

However, Virgin Atlantic’s Chief Customer & Operating Officer, Corneel Koster said that the mask requirements differ by market and all flights to and from the United States will have mask requirements in place until 18 April at the earliest, the latest expiration date for mask mandate from the Transportation Security Administration.

UK to drop all Pandemic travel measures

On Monday, the United Kingdom announced that it will lift all of its remaining travel measures and restrictions from Friday, 18 March. The UK’s Transport Secretary Grant Shapps mentioned the government’s decision in a tweet.

According to the latest policy, the UK will no longer require COVID testing requirements for unvaccinated visitors as well. Neither will the travellers be required to fill a Passenger Locator Form.