United Airlines has become the first major airline in the US to require all of its staff to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, as it looks to protect itself and its flight operations against a surge of cases of the virus both in the US and around the world.
The airline – responsible for as much as 11% of all passengers flying domestic routes in the US in a typical year – has set a deadline for its employees to get inoculated by, whilst other smaller airlines in the US have also followed suit with their own vaccination requirements. Here’s everything you need to know about this story.
United Adds Employee Vaccination Requirement – Information For Travelers
Just a few months ago, the Covid-19 situation around the world looked brighter, as many countries lowered their entrance restrictions and it looked as though traveling this summer became a distinct possibility for the masses once more – vaccinated or otherwise. However, the rise in the more transmissible Delta variants has forced countries around the world to delay their plans to reopen and companies to change their restrictions – and it has also led United Airlines to require their staff to be vaccinated in the coming months.
The decision to mandate vaccines for United Airlines staff was announced yesterday in a memo to staff. Whilst it may be viewed as a controversial step to take by many, it has been ruled as a legally sound course of action by the Air Line Pilots Union, whilst the Association of Flight Attendants has also recommended that its members get vaccinated.
The airline made the decision with the safety of their staff and their customers in mind; in the memo, United’s Chief Executive and President said:
“We know some of you will disagree with this decision to require the vaccine for all United employees, but we have no greater responsibility to you and your colleagues than to ensure your safety when you’re at work, and the facts are crystal clear: everyone is safer when everyone is vaccinated.”
United has given its employees until October 25th to be vaccinated, or five weeks after the FDA fully approves a vaccine – whichever date comes around soonest. According to the airline, as many as 80% of their flight attendants are already vaccinated, along with 90% of their pilots. In order to incentivize its staff further, United will offer employees that show proof of vaccination by September 20th an extra day of pay. United have mandated that new employees be vaccinated since mid-June, and already requires existing unvaccinated members of staff to wear masks when in the office.
In order to verify that they have been vaccinated, staff members will have to send a picture of their vaccination card to the company. Those that do not comply will see their employment with United terminated. Exceptions exist for those who cannot be vaccinated due to specific health or religious grounds.
Following on from United’s lead, Frontier Airlines have also mandated vaccination for their staff. The airline announced on Friday that staff must be fully vaccinated by October 1st. Those who are not vaccinated by this date – or refuse to be vaccinated – will instead face regular testing for Covid-19 to ensure fellow staff members aren’t at risk of contracting the virus. Frontier has claimed that most of its staff are already vaccinated against Covid-19.
↓ Join the community ↓
The Travel Off Path Community FB group has all the latest reopening news, conversations, and Q&A’s happening daily!
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR LATEST POSTS
Enter your email address to subscribe to Travel Off Path’s latest breaking travel news, straight to your inbox
Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories