Flying With Little Ones To Israel? Consider Flying Via Canada To Avoid The US Mask Mandate On Young Children

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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?

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50 Comments On "Flying With Little Ones To Israel? Consider Flying Via Canada To Avoid The US Mask Mandate On Young Children"

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Flew elal several times past few months, my kids 5 and 3 year olds were never even requested to put on a mask


Good to know.

I also think with all the contentions regarding the midterm elections, Biden is going to think really hard before extending the mask mandate yet again especially keeping it for 2 year olds which most or probably every parent is against. Maybe it won’t be completely lifted but maybe we can hope for something more reasonable like age 8 or even 12 and up. It’s gonna be about appeasing the voters and raising the age requirement will definitely go a long way.


Crazy that you think biden uses saichel.


Interesting. I wonder if when flying on a non-US carrier like ElAl, you’re far less likely to be bothered about it? Even though technically the rule is still in effect if it’s a flight that touches the US, could be that most of the FAs couldn’t be bothered to enforce such a dumb rule on little kids under 5, when they’re not always doing it for any of their other (non-US flights). I wonder if you’d see an enforcement difference between that and US airlines, where they are trained to enforce it and are doing it for every single one of their flights.




Anyone knows if we need to be vaccinated to transit via Canada just to change flights?


I just flew Turkish from JFK to Tlv via Istanbul and I believe that they announced only children over 6 are required to wear a mask. We flew in business and no one hardly wore a mask and they don’t say a peep. Btw the service was top notch


you say no one hardly wore a mask, you are referring to adult passengers I assume, correct? I am flying with them out of Toronto to Tel Aviv on Tuesday evening.


My experience on turkish was that barely anyone wrote masks and the flight attendants had it below their nose


stop bringing anecdotal proof. it has nothing to do with the airline.


Wouldn’t recommend anyone head to Canada under the current tyranny Castro JR is curating.


Unvaccinated can fly in / out of Canada?


Nice to see workarounds.

Its child abuse to force mask anyone under teenage years imo. I have been personally wearing N95s when around people since the early days (when the cdc was admonishing everyone not to).

That said its hard to breathe when masked and I don’t expect any child to smother themselves purely for my benefit (a dubious benefit at that). Anyone who does harbor that expectation has had their brains replaced with unintelligible mask mantras.

Living in a Bomb Cyclone in #nmi

Yes, I hear surgeons in operating rooms are no longer wearing masks because they don’t work . . . and because they’ve had their brains replaced with conspiracy theories and misinformation and have decided to no longer listen to science.


You are warmly invited to double mask and quadruple boost. I trust those excellent measures which work for the surgeons will do the same for you & you won’t need toddlers & children to accomodate your totalitarian impulses to dictate they participate in your own personal protective measures.

In short, Mind your own business. And when the fascist impulse starts to wash over you and you think a three year old needs their air flow cut off for your benefit, just add another layer of protection on your face- be it face shield or mask or just book your next booster. Your trembling rage at the sight of the unmasked child will subsequently subside.


How would flight attendance know if my kid is already 2 or just below 2 ?


Flying international you need a passport and correct birthdates.
The FAs have lists of passengers – would not be surprised if it’s marked which ones are over 2


Dan said several times that you can put in any birthday you like even when flying interesting.


domestic. not international


Dan Supreme Leader Trudeau is listening please


4 flights on AA. domestic and int’s not a WORD about masks for kids


Flown air canada often last 2 years with kids of different ages.

We definitely have had some annoying FAs. “Mask over your nose – I don’t want to ask you again.” They did insist my 5 year old wear as well, but that could be the flights were USA bound and they were enforcing US rules.

Who knows.

Canada in general is very compliant. (Outside of the trucker protest) masks are ubiquitous. You will rarely see someone in a store without one. Very different from my experience in various US locales where there is a mask mandate – people ignore as a point of pride.

So don’t expect a Canada transit to lead to a mask-free paradise for your kids. You’ll have snide airport agents in Toronto telling kids to mask up etc.

Uncle Runkle

Sad. Canada is a big cold sheep pasture.


Looking to book with UR NYC-TLV and its asking for passport numbers can i put in the wrong info, my passports are expire and infant doesnt have one yet


try 0000000 9 digits, and fill it in later


I called and first was told I can’t then spoke to a different department that said it can be changed. Took 3 hours of glitches but finally booked 12 tickets NYC to Tlv so excited


What about current & potential difficulties getting into Canada with all their requirements-are stopovers easier? Would it be different to drive into Canada for the originating flight? (Live in CLE.) Thanks.


Flew out of Newark to TLV. I’m not going to mention the airline because I don’t want to get anyone in trouble. On the TLV bound flight, they did politely remind people who weren’t properly wearing masks, to follow the rules. On the way back though, there was little to no enforcement of the mask rules. Most people complied anyway though.


Off topic- We want to fly on united, EWR-TLV-Zurich-EWR in late June-Early July- any way to do Excursionist Perk or other way to save points gelt?


My 3 yr old daughter has post trauma related to masks and on United tlv-ord the flight attendant told me “I don’t care if you have to personally hold it down on her face for the next 12.5 hours…”. He then proceeded to patrol the aisles for the duration of the flight.


I would complain to United customer service. They may not do anything but it is worth a shot. I would have also complained to the flight manager.


Kids on our circles are used to wearing all kinds of required clothing– head coverings, shoes, long skirts in hot weather, tsittsit, etc. Adults help kids through the complaints and discomforts with distractions, explanations, and plain old directives. Pikuach nefesh, people!


The “all kinds of required clothing” you mention were mandated by authorities much more knowledgeable than Biden.


The articles of dress you mention were mandated by authorities who know much more than Biden.


I would not bring a child, less than 2, on a flight because of the health risk to the child. They can’t be vaccinated. Omicron has been worse for children. Time to consider the health of your child instead of flying everywhere. Also everyone over the age of 12, has to be vaccinated to fly in Canada. There is also a stipulation that transiting passengers have to do the transit in 24 hours AND they cannot leave the airport for any reason, even flight delays. But if you are fully vaccinated, then these rules don’t apply.


Omicron has been worse for children, Ha? Maybe instead of a 0.0001 chance of the kid having light fever etc. It’s now up to a 0.001 chance? Lol