An air taxi company based in New York has made history this week when it announced its intentions to become the first travel company in the US to only offer its services to passengers who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. The company, BLADE, revealed its new policy yesterday.
The decision to require its passengers to be vaccinated comes at a time when commercial airlines are also wrangling with the possibility of such requirements taking root within their industry. However, whilst not airlines have yet to make vaccines mandatory for passengers, some have mandated them for staff. Here’s everything you need to know about BLADE’s new restrictions, plus a wider look at the vaccine situation in the aviation industry as it stands.
BLADE’s Vaccine Requirement – What Travelers Should Know
Whilst perhaps not a household name for many people, BLADE has carved out a niche in the market when it comes to ferrying passengers short distances by air, claiming that no other company flies more people in and out of city centers than it does. With 13 destinations on hand – such as New York, Florida and the Hamptons – and a mixture of different aircraft such as helicopters, seaplanes and jets – it’s a convenient way for many people to get from point A to point B.
However, the company has made changes this week that will see its potential customer base shrink after announcing that it would only operate for fully vaccinate passengers. According to the company’s website, their current Health and Safety Protocol was designed by BLADE’s MediMobility team in conjunction with their medical advisor to protect passengers from the further spread of Covid-19. From September 7th, passengers flying with BLADE must be fully vaccinated at the time of their departure, with exceptions for those under the age of 12 or those who are medically exempt.
According to BLADE’s website, their vaccination policy is as follows:
- BLADE requires that all passengers who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to fly starting Tuesday, September 7, 2021.
- By booking a flight through BLADE and agreeing to BLADE’s Terms of Service, each passenger on an order will certify that they have or will have received both doses of a two-dose vaccine (e.g., Pfizer or Moderna) or one dose of a single-dose vaccine (e.g., Jannsen/Johnson & Johnson) at least two weeks prior to the date of their flight (the “Vaccination Requirement”), unless one of the approved exceptions below applies.
- The Vaccination Requirement does not apply to (i) chartered aircraft, (ii) to passengers who are unable to be vaccinated due to disability, health impairment, age (under 12), (iii) departure points within the state of Florida, or (iv) if otherwise prohibited by law or government mandate.
On top of this, all passengers, pilots crew and employees:
- Are required to wear masks or face shields (and sanitary gloves for pilots and employees).
- All aircraft interiors are electrostatically decontaminated using an airline-grade fogging system before every flight.
- Negative pre-boarding COVID-19 test results are required for all BLADE shared jet flights. See BLADEone Miami, BLADEone Aspen, and other Shared Jet Charters section below.
Whilst BLADE may share some policies with commercial airlines – such as the use of masks and deep-cleaning their flights – it doesn’t look like airlines will be introducing mandatory vaccinations for travel any time soon. United Airline’s CEO Scott Kirby said it was unlikely that vaccines will become a requirement for domestic flights, saying that it was a decision that the government would have to take. United recently made it a requirement for all of its employees to be vaccinated – a move that other airlines such as Southwest, American and Delta have resisted.
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