These are the best masks to wear on planes, according to infectious disease experts

·4-min read

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Snag these before your next flight. (Photo: Amazon)
Snag these before your next flight. (Photo: Amazon)

After months of staying at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, travel is back on for people — and in a big way. 

Earlier this month, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that it had screened more than two million passengers in one day, marking the highest number the agency had seen since March 7, 2020, right before lockdowns began in the U.S. The latest numbers show that TSA is screening close to or above two million travelers at airports across the country every day. 

If you're planning to join in on the travel fun, it's only natural to have questions about how to do it safely. A big one, given that masks are still required on airplanes and in airport terminals: What is the best mask to wear on a plane? 

Infectious disease experts say it doesn't need to be complicated. "I would just recommend people wear a surgical or multilayered cloth mask," infectious disease expert Dr. Amesh A. Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, tells Yahoo Life. (If you choose a cloth face mask, keep in mind that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing one with at least two layers of fabric.)

Dr. Richard Watkins, an infectious disease physician and professor of internal medicine at the Northeast Ohio Medical University, also recommends a "standard surgical-type mask." While you could opt for something like a KN95 or KF94 mask, which offers a higher level of filtration, they can be "too uncomfortable to expect someone to wear on a plane" for longer periods of time, Watkins says. 

Ready to hit the skies? Have one of these masks handy.

Honeywell Dual Layer Face Cover with 8 Replaceable Filters

It comes in dark and light grey shades. (Photo: Amazon)
It comes in dark and light grey shades. (Photo: Amazon)

The Honeywell Dual Layer Face Cover has a different look and feel than your typical cloth face mask. These masks feature a seamless 3D knit construction that provides four-way stretch to minimize gaps and ensure proper protection. The masks also have adjustable ear loops and a nose clip to allow you to get that just-right fit, regardless of the size or shape of your face. They also have a hidden filter pocket that allows you to easily slip in a Honeywell filter and remove it when you’re done. “It’s honestly the best face mask I’ve ever tried! It’s heavy and durable. It doesn’t slip around your face, the nose piece stays in place and the adjustable ear straps make for a tight fit,” one happy wearer wrote

Shop it: Honeywell Dual Layer Face Cover with 8 Replaceable Filters, $21 (was $30),

NNPCBT Disposable Face Masks

These masks go with everything! (Photo: Amazon)
These masks go with everything! (Photo: Amazon)

NNPCBT Disposable Face Masks are made of three layers of non-woven fiber, exceeding the CDC's recommendation that masks have at least two layers. A metal nose wire and elastic bands also help you get a perfectly snug fit. Speaking of ear loops, these are made with extra-soft elastic, so you don't get that painful digging-in feeling around your ears. One user gave the masks props for comfort. "It doesn’t hurt or irritate my ears," they said, calling the masks "a steal."

Shop it: NNPCBT Disposable Face Masks, 50 pack, $6 (was $8),

Athleta Everyday Non-Medical Face Masks Five-Pack

This mask pack is just $4! (Photo: Athleta)
This mask pack is just $4! (Photo: Athleta)

The Athleta Everyday masks are crafted from a polyester/spandex blend and have a soft cotton liner. Each pack features five different masks in assorted colors and styles. The masks also have adjustable toggles on the ear loops and a metal nose bridge for a tight fit. "Perfect breathability for travel. Comfortable and soft mask was great for long trip," a fan wrote in the reviews.

Shop it: Athleta Everyday Non-Medical Face Masks Five-Pack, $4 (was $30),

Craft & Soul Mattana Face Mask 5-Pack

Get to your destination and back with this mask pack. (Photo: Amazon)
Get to your destination and back with this mask pack. (Photo: Amazon)

The Craft & Soul Mattana Face Mask is breathable, well-shaped, comfortable, and kind of elegant. Nearly 8,000 Amazon shoppers rave about this multilayer mask's comfort and breathability. Five-packs are available in four solid colors (white, bright pink, red or royal blue) for just $6. “Looking for comfort? Soft ear bands? Proper shape? You found it," one shopper said. "I’ve bought and returned more masks than most people on Etsy and Amazon. These are keepers.”

Shop it: Craft & Soul Mattana Face Mask 5-Pack, $6 (was $12),

Jointown Face Masks 50-Pack

Stock up now! (Photo: Amazon)
Stock up now! (Photo: Amazon)

Prefer a more classic surgical-style mask? The Jointown Face Masks 50-Pack is a crowd favorite, with more than 66,000 five-star reviews. These masks feature three layers of protection, including a polypropylene filtration layer, and a metal nose clip to keep them snug. “Exact same masks we use at the hospital,” says one professional mask wearer. “Checked the box; literally the same brand."

Shop it: Jointown Face Masks 50-Pack, $17 (was $18),

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.

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