With Israel finally slated to reopen to families with young children for the first time in 2 years, the next problem to tackle is mask requirements for young children.
While airlines like Delta used to exempt young children from wearing a mask on a plane, that came to an end when President Biden signed an executive order requiring masks for everyone 2 and older. That order has been extended twice and is currently slated to expire after March 18th, but it’s anyone’s guess as to whether it will be extended for a third time.
We have flown on only a few flights with the family since March 2020 and mask enforcement for our young kids has been a mixed bag. We flew to Myrtle Beach last summer and to Fort Lauderdale last month on United without issues, but on our United flight home from Fort Lauderdale the gate agents and flight attendants were extremely strict, and pounced every time my 3 year old’s mask fell just below her nose or if she didn’t replace her mask in between bites of food. We were just happy to make it home without a flight diversion!
Our 1 year old will soon turn 2, and there’s just no way he will properly wear a mask on a plane, so we’ll be grounded again unless the mask mandate is lifted.
Commenter CtownBin asked about flying from Canada to Israel to avoid those issues. And indeed, it’s worth noting that outside of the US, children are only required to wear a mask from the age of 6 or 12. While the 2 year old requirement is in effect for flights to or from the US, it’s worth considering flying via Canada so that a mask is only required for the short hop. From Canada to Israel and back, the mask requirement would only apply from the age of 6 and up.
Currently, El Al flies 2 weekly flights between Toronto and Tel Aviv. That moves to 3 weekly flights starting 3/27.
Air Canada’s service to Tel Aviv is currently suspended, but Toronto-Tel Aviv will resume on 3/1 with 3 weekly flights. That moves to 4 weekly flights starting 3/28 and daily flights starting 5/1.
Air Canada will also resume flying seasonally from Montreal to Tel Aviv with 2 weekly flights starting on 5/1, moving to 3 weekly flights starting 6/5.
While it’s true that many flight attendants don’t enforce mask rules for young children, sticklers will make for a miserable flight experience or worse if you’re removed from the plane. I have heard from several readers complaining about flight attendants waking up their young children in middle of a long-haul flight because their mask slipped off their nose. Flying via Canada is not a bad interim solution if you have young children that can’t keep a mask on for extended periods of time or while they’re sleeping.
Will you fly long-haul via Canada until the US mask requirement is removed?