Scandinavian Airlines, better known as SAS, has announced that masks are no longer a requirement for passengers flying within or between Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. This new policy — which went into effect on Monday, October 18 — reflects an effort from these nations to return to pre-pandemic normalcy. Potential passengers should note that they will still be required to wear masks if their journey begins or ends outside of the three Nordic countries.
Lifting Restrictions In The Air
Scandinavian Airlines System operates 182 aircraft to 90 destinations and is one of the largest carriers in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, making the decision to lift the mask requirement a relatively large one.
According to a statement from SAS, “Due to the opening of societies and general recommendations from authorities in Scandinavia, SAS is from 18 October 2021, removing the requirement for mandatory use of face masks on flights within Scandinavia.” The SAS press manager told Norway’s TV2 that “the time is right now based on the infection situation in the country.”
Passengers who would like to continue to wear masks for extra protection or because they are at high risk can continue to do so. Norway’s communications director, Esben Tuman, noted the following: “It is important to point out that those who still want to wear a face mask, either because they are worried about infection or want to be courteous to others, are of course very welcome to do so.”
Know Before You Go
Officials from Sweden pointed out a goal of returning to normal life, as did Norway’s prime minister. Sweden, Norway, and Denmark have begun lifting other restrictions as well. The countries have already canceled many restrictions regarding gatherings, bars, restaurants, and curfews. Because of the countries’ success with vaccinating the public and their low case counts and rates of hospitalization, daily life seems to be returning to normal in many ways.
Here is data from Reuters about the three countries’ vaccination rates:
- Sweden: 70.1% have received at least one dose, 66% fully vaccinated
- Denmark: 76.7% have received at least one dose, 75.5% fully vaccinated
- Norway: 78.4% have received at least one dose, 69.3% fully vaccinated
For more information about flying in the age of COVID, be sure to check out these articles: