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Rex makes face masks mandatory – but not complimentary

written by Adam Thorn | May 19, 2020

A file image of a Regional Express Saab 340B. (Dave Parer)
A Regional Express Saab 340B. (Dave Parer)

Rex has announced all passengers must wear masks on its flights from 1 June, or risk being denied boarding.

The airline also said the garments won’t be complimentary so customers must bring their own or purchase one at check-in.

Just hours earlier, Qantas said it would provide free masks to its passengers but the wearing of them wouldn’t be enforced.

A statement from Rex said, “Passengers will be denied boarding if they refuse to wear a mask except if there are exceptional reasons.

“Passengers must wear masks at Rex check-in counters (or worn immediately after purchasing from a check-in counter), at boarding gates, during tarmac transfer both at boarding and disembarkation (including during bus transfers), and whilst on-board the aircraft.”

Rex said it would also aim to keep free seats between separate parties “when and where possible”. In Qantas’ statement, the flag carrier said it would drop an earlier commitment to keep the middle seat free on domestic flights.

Rex national airports manager David Brooksby said, “Rex has already enforced significant changes to minimise the risk of infection, including the proactive and unprecedented measure of body temperature testing of passengers and employees.


“Since early March, Rex has endeavoured to space out seating allocation of all passengers to facilitate social distancing. Unrelated parties will not be assigned seats next to each other when and where possible.”

While it’s not known whether Rex’s statement was designed to follow Qantas’, earlier Australia’s biggest airline unveiled its passenger plan for flying from 12 June.

It includes handing all passengers face masks and sanitising wipes as part of a range of “peace of mind” coronavirus measures.


The new pre-flight measures will see app check-in and self-serve bag drop encouraged, hand sanitising stations at departure gates and lounges, and “enhanced disinfection of surfaces”.

Comments (9)

  • Craigy


    Thankfully I don’t have to fly that woeful airline REx. Being REx, each mask bought at check in are likely to cost $20-30 each.

    • gary



      Rex is a much better airline than qantas, but that’s not hard. You can make a face mask out of any fabric. Saw 1/2 a bra being used as one. Hope Rex gets 10 ex VA jets & does SYD/MEL dozen times a day. What will qantas be able to do when they lose passengers to Rex ? They can’t give everyone free qantas club passes & it would then be even more crowded than ever.

  • Paul Robson


    Surely REX with all that government money…could do same as a Qantas and provide free masks!

  • Red Cee


    Face masks only reduce the chance of infection, not eliminate it. Hand sanitising is much more effective. No mention of what REX plans to do regarding cleaning and sanitising the planes before passengers embark.

    • Hein Vandenbergh


      REX behaving like bullies again.

  • john


    Are they going to charge for toilet paper, beverage containers etc, If they want to be taken seriously as a third airline flying against re born Virgin and Qantas they will have to try a lot harder.

  • Lee


    Yet Qantas says they are not mandatory. I’m not flying anywhere if I’m forced to comply with this totally misinformed gimmick of wearing a mask.

  • David Daly


    What’s a mask worth ? 50 cents, add it to the airfare and provide them as part of the ticket

  • Hutch


    @Gary – Qantas is the super best airline ever to exist on this planet. Period.
    It is easy to make broad statements and then not support it with facts. On what metrics does Rex beat QF? Fleet size? Age? Ownership? Props falling off mid-flight? Lounges? FF program? Profit? In recent history, when QF starts a route that REX also flies, REX pulls out… this doesn’t suggest that they think customers will choose them over QF.
    Everyone is welcome to have their own preferences for an airline. That’s why competition is good as people have choice. I hope Rex picks up some jets and competes hard… i’ll happily fly them. But they ain’t going to be taken enough desired market share off QF to make any dent with 10 jets.

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