British Airways and Heathrow Airport make major travel rule change as they ditch masks

First class travel: How do people get upgraded?

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Heathrow Airport will no longer require people to wear face masks in its terminals, railway stations or office buildings. However, it recommends people continue doing so.

Heathrow’s chief operating officer Emma Gilthorpe said: “While we still recommend wearing them, we can be confident the investments we’ve made in Covid-secure measures – some of which aren’t always visible – combined with the fantastic protection provided by the vaccine will continue to keep people safe while travelling.”

Heathrow added it would not hesitate to make masks mandatory again if the situation changed or new variants of concern emerged.

British Airways customers will also now only have to wear a mask if their destination requires it.

Jason Mahoney, BA’s chief operating officer said the move was “welcome” and a “positive step forward”.

Virgin Atlantic has also announced it is now a personal choice for crew and customers to wear masks onboard.

However, some countries have international regulations on mask wearing and passengers will still be required to wear one in those cases.

Jet2 and TUI have already scrapped masks on their flights travelling from England and Northern Ireland.

The move comes as further travel restrictions will be lifted for travellers from Friday March 18.

From then, all tourists will be able to enter the UK without filling in a passenger locator form or taking a Covid test.

However, holidaymakers may still need to take tests or fill out a form in their holiday destination.

Restrictions vary across Europe and British tourists should check the Government website before travelling.

A Heathrow statement said the airport “Face coverings will remain available at the airport to support those who wish to continue wearing them.

“We know some passengers may feel vulnerable, and we are encouraging colleagues to be respectful and put on a face covering when near a passenger who requests it.

“Should a significant rise in Covid cases or a future variant of concern materialise, Heathrow will not hesitate to reinstate the mandatory use of face coverings at the airport.”

Countries including the USA and Italy still require passengers to wear masks on flights and customers should follow airline advice.

Where should you go on your next holiday?

Now that the world has opened up again it’s time to pack those suitcases and head off on a well-deserved adventure. Where should you be jetting off to? Take our quiz and find out.

Greece

With endless culture, gorgeous beaches and weather to die for, Greece is a great choice both for romantic getaways and family trips. Wander the historical streets of Athens and Thessaloniki or head to an island to soak up the sun – the choice is yours.

Japan

It may be far away but it’s definitely worth the trip. Japan has sprawling metropolises, stunning scenery, and a rich history and culture to boot. Check out the cities of Kyoto and Tokyo and make sure to get your fill of their world-famous cuisine while you’re in town

The USA

Hop across the pond and experience an array of cultures, climates, cuisines and more. You can leave the phrasebook at home and get truly immersed in everything that this sprawling nation has to offer, from the Grand Canyon to the Statue of Liberty

France

With some of the best food around and boasting the world’s most romantic city, France is a great choice if you’re in a hurry. Be in its glorious capital in just hours, grab a pain au chocolat and practice your language skills while wandering along the banks of the Seine

Italy

La dolce vita is calling! With its stunning views, fascinating history and world-famous Neapolitan pizza, Italy is a great choice, whether you’re after an adventure or want to dive into a big bowl of spaghetti

Morocco

A little off the beaten track, Morocco boasts stunning architecture, winding street markets to get lost in, and beautiful landscapes. Soak up the sun in Marrakech or head to Chefchaouen for one of the most unique experiences a holiday-maker can have

The Caribbean

Sun, sea and sand – what’s not to love? Head to the Caribbean if you really want to unwind. With plenty of picturesque locations to choose from, from the streets of Havana to the beaches of Grenada, you’re sure to find something that fits your holiday dreams.

Iceland

When most people think ‘holiday’, sunshine and relaxation comes to mind – but a different kind of trip can be just as rewarding. Splash around in the Blue Lagoon and try your luck at catching a glimpse of the Northern Lights. This is definitely one for the bucket list.

India

India is well worth a visit if you have some time to spare. With an array of different cultures coexisting in this vast and vibrant nation, as well as gorgeous food to be enjoyed at every turn, you’ll find yourself immersed in the experience. Take a trip to the Taj Mahal for that jaw drop moment

Swiss Alps

If snow sports are your thing, then this mountainous region is perfect for you. Venture down the powdered slopes and warm your hands at the après-ski afterward. Perfect for a group of friends, a romantic trip, or even some time with the kids – if they can stand the cold!

What kind of holiday do you like best?

What’s your budget?

How long do you have for your trip?

Who’s going on the trip?

How are your languages skills?

What’s your ideal climate?

Which is top of your bucket list?

Masks have proved controversial among some passengers and there have been reports of fights over the issue.

Several videos have gone viral on social media after passengers allegedly refused to wear a mask.

British tourists are advised to check the latest restrictions with their airline before setting off the airport.

The UK passenger locator form and Covid testing rules will be scrapped from 4am on Friday March 18.

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