Flying whilst wearing a hijab, burka, niqab or a khimar

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How to fly whilst wearing a hijab, burka, niqab or a khimar

Read on to discover more information on this, tips, including different airline policies and FAQ's.

Can I Fly whilst wearing a hijab, burka, niqab or a khimar?

hijab icon

Yes, you can fly whilst wearing any of the above. Although the burka and the niqab have been banned in several European countries as well as the Middle East and Asia. Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Chad, China, Congo-Brazzaville, Denmark, France, Gabon, Latvia, Morocco, Netherlands, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan and Tunisia have all banned the burka.

The niqab is fully banned or to an extent in Canada, Denmark, Belgium, Norway, Germany, France, Italy, Bulgaria, Chad, Cameroon, Tunisia and the Netherlands. Therefore, it's important to consider where you're travelling whilst wearing a burka or a niqab as you can receive a fine. 

The different types of head coverings?

What is a hijab?

A hijab is a headscarf that doesn't cover the face and is worn by some Muslims women in the presence of any males outside of their immediate family, which normally covers the hair, neck and chest.

What is a burka?

A burka is a long, loose piece of clothing that covers the entire body from head to feet and is chosen to be worn by some Muslim women in the public.

What is a niqab?

Niqab is a face veil chosen to be worn by some Muslim women that covers the face apart from the eyes.

What is a khimar?

A khimar is a long piece of garment that covers all the way from the head to the elbows or shoulders without covering the face.

Why do Muslim women wear the above types of head covering?

Many Muslim women choose to wear a head covering to maintain modesty and privacy from unrelated males. Islam prescribes modesty behaviour or dress in general, and specifically, the head covering worn by Muslim women. 

 

Top Tips for Flying whilst wearing a hijab, burka, niqab or a khimar

Do your homework before setting off

Many countries have banned the burka and niqab in public places, therefore, it's important to do your research before flying to those countries. However, the hijab and khimar are not under these laws.

Stay patient

Airport security can be a pain at times and it's important to stay patient. Just follow the protocols of the airport and remember your rights.

Know your rights

It's important to know your rights. In many countries, you have the right to wear a head covering and go through security. If and when you're requested to show your appearance, then you can show it there and then or choose to show it in a private room. You can choose to also be screened by the same gender.

Take with you an extra pair

If you feel your hijab, khimar or niqab may become creased or wrinkly whilst on a plane then pack with you a spare one and maybe wear it on before you land.

 

Government policies for flying whilst wearing a hijab, burka, niqab or a khimar

Law in France

From April 2011, it's illegal to wear a face-covering veil in public spaces in France. Veils or scarves such as the hijab or a khimar do not cover the face and therefore are not affected by this law. Muslim women wearing a face veil i.e burka or a niqab can be ordered to remove the garment in French airports but are free to put it back on during the flight which Air France also permits. Flight attendants can't ask a person to uncover their face as the French law can only be enforced by the French police and other public officials on the ground. 

Law in Belgium

From 2015, Belgium has banned face-covering dress, such as the niqab or burka. However, hijabs and khimars are not in this ban. Airport security would want to see the person identity before they can board the plane.

Law in Austria

In 2017, a legal ban on face-covering such as niqabs and burkas was adopted by the Austrian parliament. 

Law in Bulgaria

From 2016, a ban on the on donning the face-covering in public was added by the Bulgarian parliament.

Law in Latvia

As of 2016, a ban on the wearing of face-covering clothing in public was adopted by the Latvian government.

Law in the Netherlands

The Dutch government in January 2012 announced a ban on any types of face-covering and is popularly known as 'burka ban'. The burka was enforced in August 2019 in schools, public transport, hospitals and government buildings.

Law in Denmark

In 2017, the Danish government adopted a law from preventing people from wearing the burka and niqab.

Law in Cameroon

From July 2015, Cameroon banned the wearing of full-face veils, including the burka, in the North region. 

Law in Chad

In July 2015, the Chadian government announced the banning of the wearing of the burka in its territory.

Law in Congo-Brazaville

The full-face veil was banned in May 2015 in public places in Congo-Brazzaville.

Law in Gabon

Gabon announced a full-face veil ban in July 2015 in public places of work.

Law in China

The burka was banned in 2017 in Xinjiang the northern area of China.

Law in Sri Lanka

The burka and niqab were banned in April 2019 in Sri lanka.

 

Flying whilst wearing a hijab, burka, niqab or a khimar 
FAQs

Do I need to remove my burka or niqab at airport security?

Yes, you may need to as airport security would like to verify your identity. You may wish to ask to do so in a private room by the same gender, however.

Can I take with me safety pins or clips for my headcover?

Absolutely, yes, you can take with you safety pins or clips for your head covering. For more information on what you can and cannot take please read our blog on this.

Am I allowed to board a plane whilst wearing a headcover?

Most definitely, after airport security, you have the right to board the plane whilst wearing any type of headcover. Remember that flight attendant doesn't have the same authority as airport security staff to ask you for your identity.