In Europe, there are currently only a few countries that make it compulsory to wear masks on planes and on public transport. One of these is Germany, for example. However, the government is not thinking of abolishing it, but actually wants to tighten the rules.
Apparently, one is based on an abolished peculiarity from Austria, because the draft adopted by the federal government stipulates that FFP2 masks must be worn in long-distance transport and on board aircraft in the future. So far, so-called surgical masks have been sufficient in Germany.
The mask requirement obviously does not apply to everyone, because the fact that Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck (Greens), together with a delegation and journalists, flew to Canada without a mask is currently causing a lack of understanding in the Federal Republic. In a really clumsy way, people tried to talk themselves out of the fact that negative PCR tests and a rapid test are necessary shortly before departure and that the current military order of the day would apply.
Only a few European countries still insist on masks
Twist and turn as you will, there are simply no exceptions for the military and/or members of the federal government and their entourage in the instructions to pilots, airlines, and numerous state ordinances. The approach that was chosen is simply not legally covered. Therefore, the behavior is disturbing in view of the fact that the tightening of the mask requirement for normal citizens was decided almost in time in the federal government.
In a European comparison, Germany is currently de facto going it alone, because only very few governments are still insisting that masks have to be worn on board commercial aircraft. The European Union has also stopped recommending this for a few weeks. That does not prevent Germany from continuing to hold on to it. Nevertheless, many travelers have not been complying with this for a long time and airlines such as Lufthansa and Eurowings no longer want to enforce compliance.
So if the state leadership sets a good example and claims the right to fly yourself, that you don't need a mask and that clumsy excuses are thrown at criticism, you don't have to be surprised that the understanding of the ordinary citizen is simply no longer there is available.
On the train from Vienna to Munich: sometimes an FFP2 mask, sometimes none at all, sometimes a surgical mask
If you take the train from Vienna via Salzburg to Munich, which was so highly praised by the Austrian Minister of Transport Leonore Gewessler (Greens), you will experience masked madness in its purest form. FFP2 masks should be worn at the train station and when departing from the Austrian capital. After about five minutes of driving time, you leave the sovereignty of the Mayor of Vienna and can legally drive to the state border without a mask. Shortly before Freilassing, i.e. when the German federal police think they have to look for refugees on the train, masks are compulsory again. This time, however, so-called surgical masks are sufficient. If you leave the train in Munich, it is not necessary to cover your mouth and nose at the station.
If you want to experience the feeling of totally overcrowded trains combined with barracks-like masked announcements, you can use the regional express of the Bavarian regional train from Salzburg with the nine-euro ticket. Only recently, in a military tone, a train attendant pointed out that masks should be worn, even when she wasn't around. Incidentally, there was no particular risk of getting to know the employee of the private railway company. How? The regional express was so overcrowded that even the toilets were used as makeshift standing places. A quick reminder: It wasn't that long ago that German politicians seriously considered that the next seat on trains, buses and planes must remain empty. In some countries, for example in Poland, this was even implemented in aviation for a short time, which was not a problem thanks to the very weak utilization.
The managers of the largest European airlines also know that there is “something in the air”. You simply don't trust the roast "Corona", because the managements are preparing for the fact that incomprehensible orders will come from governments or the media in the short term because of an allegedly even more dangerous variant, which turns out to be harmless a few weeks later , panic could be stoked again. So far, this has always had a dramatic impact on the booking figures, which then plummeted for weeks.
Inflation could 'eat up' summer and winter vacations
In the meantime, the airlines are even expecting that something will come up again in terms of Corona. In addition, there is the fact that fuel prices are at a very high level and in many European countries customers are no longer spending money. Inflation is at a very high level and there is no end in sight. In the meantime, more and more people are having serious problems coping with the high everyday costs and logically the cuts are not being made on bread, butter, electricity and gas, but on flights and vacation trips. The combination of the negative prospects means that many airlines have already reduced their offers as a precaution.
Of course, many carriers and airports also have acute staff shortages. This issue has been dealt with temporarily after the summer holidays anyway, because in the winter months, the demand is lower than in the middle of summer, even without any negative external influences. It only remains to be hoped that the winter of 2022/23 will be used to prepare for the summer of 2024 in all respects. However, if there are lockdowns and/or drastic entry restrictions with persistent inflation, demand could be significantly lower in the summer of 2024, because large parts of society will then no longer be able to afford to fly and vacation.
Of course, this also applies domestically. The winter season 2022/23 could give a first glimpse of what could follow in the summer of 2024, because because the costs are rising pretty much everywhere, lift tickets, accommodation and gastronomy are becoming more and more expensive. The budgets of families are getting smaller and smaller due to increased everyday costs...