Planes were nearly empty during 2020, but you’re lucky to have an empty seat next to you on a flight, nowadays. Plane travel is essentially the same as it used to be, but the only difference is that people still have to wear face coverings. Face masks are not going anywhere, either. According to TSA, people will have to continue to wear face masks on planes and in airports until at least January 2022. And that’s just an estimate as of now.
Even though planes have great air filtration systems in place, passengers still have to wear masks for everyone’s safety. You shouldn’t just pick out a random mask to wear for fun, though. Much like booking a flight or an entire trip with activities and hotel stays, research is absolutely necessary. Some people throw whatever cloth they can find over their face! Numerous cloth masks prove very ineffective at preventing respiratory droplets from entering or escaping.
What Should You Look For In A Mask?
Any mask made from a single layer of thin cloth is very ineffective. The bandana is probably the least effective mask, in case any of you enjoy that thin cloth that barely stays on your face. Ideally, a face mask that offers great protection will consist of two to three layers of heavyweight fabric like cotton. According to the American Lung Association, a mask like that can filter 70-79% of particles. Masks with four or more layers can provide 80-90% filtration. It’s also beneficial to get a mask with a nose wire so that it doesn’t continuously fall down your face. Lastly, when it comes to airline travel, you typically cannot have one of those masks with circular vents. Most airlines don’t allow passengers to wear those because of the fact that respiratory droplets can escape through the vents.
The SupplyAID KN95 Face Mask
This protective face mask is has over 48,000 five-star ratings online. Several studies have proven that these masks are some of the most protective and comfortable masks to wear. It’s possible to get a five-pack for about $10 or less, and they hold up for hours of travel. Some passengers said that they were still comfortable wearing these masks after 10 hours on a plane.
The Disposable KN95 5-Layer Mask
Five layers of protection means that you can have peace of mind while you travel through the skies in a metal tube with strangers. Many users claim that these masks are comfortable and the fit makes it easy to breathe, even during longer trips. Healthcare workers typically use these masks when they are not working in hospitals. They offer excellent protection and the nose wire makes it so they don’t slip off the nose.
The Boncare KN95 Mask
This brand makes masks for people with smaller faces, as other masks can slip off more easily. Mask size will vary from face to face, but this one seems to fit comfortably on small- or medium-sized faces. Additionally, users report that the loops on this mask are very comfortable. Some people say that they don’t even realize they are wearing a mask with ear loops!
N95 Pouch Respirator Mask
This mask can look like a duckbill on a person’s face, but that’s a primary reason why users rate these as the most breathable masks. It holds the edge of the mask farther away from the mouth and nose, creating a pouch that is more comfortable for the user. The nose wire consists of two parallel wires that are designed to smoothly fit on the face. Lastly, the straps that go around the head are less irritating for people who dislike ear loops. Plus, the head straps make the mask fit more snug on the face.
The Three Layer Cloth Mask
Many companies make three to four layer cloth masks that use cotton or similar heavy fabrics. The inner layer often consists of breathable cotton so as not to make the user uncomfortable. The other two layers consist of woven cotton that provide optimal protection. It’s wise to get these cloth masks with a nose wire so that they can hug the face, leaving very little room for germs to enter. These types of masks, however, will not offer the same protection as the aforementioned masks in this article.