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There’s a new travel essential you will want to tuck between your wallet and your phone. It’s your face mask. The best face masks for flying are airline-compliant while providing optimal safety and comfort. If you’re planning on flying, check out these options. There are a lot of mask options on Amazon or at the end of the grocery aisle to consider so we reviewed some of the top masks for flying below.

Editors note: Looking for airline miles? Check out these new travel miles credit cards offers worth over $1,000 in travel.

Johnny wearing his mask while flying. Credit: Johnny Jet

The Best Face Masks For Flying & Travel

Airline Face Covering Guidelines

Bringing the wrong mask means you might be unable to board your flight. Airlines are offering face masks at the gate, but quantities are limited. The airline masks at the gate are for flyers who have a mask that doesn’t meet these basic face-covering requirements:

  • Covers your nose and mouth
  • Is secure under the chin
  • Cannot have an exhalation valve or vent
  • Must be breathable material but not mesh or lace-like material

The U.S. airlines base their face mask requirements on the current CDC guidelines. Also, face shields and “costume masks” are not eligible substitutes.

Depending on the airline, you might be able to wear a neck gaiter or scarf instead of a cloth or disposable mask.  But major tourist attractions and other travel providers may not allow these face mask alternatives.

As most public places, including airport terminals, require face masks at all times, you likely won’t make it to the gate without a face mask of some sort.

The Best Face Masks for Flights

All of us prefer different face masks. You might prefer the convenience of disposable masks. Others prefer washable cloth masks with a personalized design to brighten someone’s day. Your preference might be somewhere in between.

Levi’s Re-Usable Face Masks

From the iconic clothing brand, Levi’s Re-Usable Face Masks can be a good option because Levi’s clothing tends to be of higher quality than generic store brands. You can buy a three-pack.

EnerPlex Premium 3-Ply

When traveling in 2020, having a comfortable face mask is crucial. The EnerPlex Premium 3-Ply Reusable Face Mask is a breathable option that comes in several sizes. Made of three layers (the outer layer is made of DWR 100% polyester, the middle layer is a cotton blend, and the inner layer is a NanoFine cotton blend), this mask provides protection, security, and long-lasting comfort for extended periods of time. It is also machine washable, perfect for everyday use.

Evolvetogether

You can buy a 7-day or 30-day supply of evolvetogether disposable medical-grade masks. These masks have exciting designs that make these different than the ubiquitous disposable mask. Each mask you purchase helps evolvetogether donate a mask and also plant a tree.

The masks are breathable and have a hidden nose bridge to help keep your mask snug. Your purchase includes a sustainable travel case to keep your mask supply organized and sanitary as you travel.

Evolvetogether produces these masks in a FDA-registered personal protective equipment (PPE) facility. Few mask manufacturers can boast this claim so you can have extra peace of mind in regards to the mask quality.

Folk Project Embroidered Face Masks

The Folk Project 100% cotton masks are handmade in the USA and support the Navajo Nation. You can get colorful masks with embroidered floral designs. Folk Project donates a mask to a Native community or a migrant shelter when you buy one.

Safe+Mate Cloth Face Mask

The Safe+Mate Cloth Face Mask has behind the ear loops. It also has a strap going behind your head to take some of the discomfort from your ears on a long flight. Safe+Mate may also donate a disposable mask for each face mask that you buy to help those in need.

Marine Layer

You can find some of the most comfortable masks at Marine Layer. You can choose a two-layer adjustable sports mask with over-the-ear loops. The tri-layer Signature Tie Mask has string ties instead of elastic that can provide more comfort. Both masks use tee shirt material that can be less abrasive than most cloth masks.

These masks also feature a filter pack that you can use for replaceable carbon filters.

Plover Organic Masks

Plover makes 100% organic face masks. The organic cotton sourcing is certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). There are many online sellers claiming to sell organic cotton masks. However, they are likely a scam. Children’s face masks are available as well, also in organic cotton.

If you like organic cotton, Plover also sells 100% organic bedding including duvets, pillowcases, and sheets.

MaskClub

Sport your favorite brand, superhero, or retro cartoon character with MaskClub. There are more than 1,000 officially licensed designs you can choose from to get a mask for your entire family. You will also find unique tye-dye, paisley, and other one-of-a-kind designs.

Vistaprint

If you have ever needed business cards or other displays printables for a conference, you’re likely familiar with Vistaprint. Despite fewer business meetings, Vistaprint offers print-to-ship masks.

You can choose from premade designs for various themes including outer space, birds, or your own custom design. It’s possible to upload your own logo or picture that can help you make a mask that’s different than what anyone else can produce.

For the perfect face mask, you can have a Vistaprint designer create several options for you within 24 hours of submitting your request.

Highermou Clear Transparent Face Mask

Face masks can help control the spread of germs but it’s harder to communicate with others. Most of us didn’t realize how important non-verbal communication is in everyday conversations. The Highermou Clear Transparent Face Mask has a transparent plastic window over your mouth.

This window lets others see your smile and lip movements as you speak.

PADI Gear

Having to change your masks often means old masks enter the waste stream or cast out as litter in public places. PADI Gear masks recover ocean plastic for a second life. The outer layer is 100% recycled ocean waste plastic and the inner mask layer is 92% recycled polyester and 8% elastane.

These masks have five fun aquatic patterns including whale sharks and manta rays. You secure the mask with ear loops.

Unlike other mask options, these masks come with five replaceable carbon filters. Most producers have you buy the filters separately.

Summary

The best face masks come in different materials and designs. However, they all fit snugly so you can board your flight to visit family, have fun, or conduct business. If you’re not sure which style is best for you, try several different types to see which is the most comfortable for your travel habits.

FAQs

Should I wear a face mask on an airplane?

Yes, all commercial airlines require passengers above age two to wear face masks at all times when boarding, in the cabin, and deplaning. You can remove your mask when actively eating and drinking. However, you must put your mask back on as soon as you finish.

Related: 3 More Ways to Keep Your Glasses From Fogging Up While Wearing a Face Mask

Can I wear a face shield instead of a face mask on an airplane?

Airlines do not let you wear a plastic face shield instead of a face mask. Face shields offer some protection to your mouth and nose but don’t directly cover your nose and mouth. Airlines require a face covering that fits snugly over your nose and securely under your chin.

Some international airlines do require or encourage face shields for passengers in the main cabin. This shield protects your eyes and is an extra layer of protection outside your mask.

Related: Can You Wear a Face Shield Instead of a Mask on a Plane?

How long should you wear a face mask at one time?

Most face mask makers recommend wearing your mask up to 8 hours at once. You should consider packing multiple masks for travel days in case you must go beyond that 8-hour recommendation.

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7 Comments On "Best Face Masks For Flying During COVID-19"
  1. Jen|

    Johnny,
    99% of the time love your advice, but regarding reversing masks when you’re for some reason not able to wash them: no, no, no! Please don’t encourage people to reverse their face masks to get more use out of them! Even on the Amazon website, it says that the Levi masks are reversible for *styling.* I read somewhere that you can reuse masks without washing them if you leave them sitting in an open air location for at least a week. The last thing you would want to do is have someone cough their covid on the outside of your mask, then you turn it around and breathe in all the covid.

    1. Johnny Jet
      Johnny Jet|

      I didn’t write the post and I totally missed it so I edited that advice out. Thanks for bringing it to my attention

  2. Steve Ehrlich|

    Johnny, Thank you for the interview about traveling to HI. It was really informative and interesting. We love HI and the we like that the future hopefully will see more people doing their part to retain and enhance HI.,

  3. Linda Lowe|

    Aloha Johnny — We (Hawaii residents) are on day 3 of our 14-day quarantine. Our American Airlines plane was spotless. Even the magazines were sanitized. The plane was only 1/3 full and we chose our seats so that we had an empty row in front and behind us. At the LAX AA gate everyone wore masks except when eating. Some had outfits that looked like surgeons or spacemen. We had a mask and goggles. There were of course much less people in the terminal and gate than usual and as far as we could see, all wore masks and did social distancing. The only hiccup was registering for the Hawaii quarantine with their app We use only one email regularly between us and the program required a separate email for each person although you aren’t told that. We were held back an extra hour until I was finally given a paper form to fill out. Hawaii is certainly beautiful now with lovely tradewinds. I hope your family can return once the quarantine is lifted. The scientists say Hanauma Bay is 42% clearer : )

    1. Johnny Jet
      Johnny Jet|

      Mahalo for sharing! Great to know about having an email for each person.

  4. Nancy A Roney|

    here is a young man that should be profiled somewhere in your site. very inspiring traveller

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/travel/news/cory-lees-travel-adventures-without-boundaries/ar-BB19ddxN?ocid=se

    1. Johnny Jet
      Johnny Jet|

      Cory is the best! I’m friends with him and did an interview with him a couple months ago. Here it is (video and podcast as well). https://www.johnnyjet.com/video-39-travel-questions-with-cory-lee/

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