• Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, thinks passengers should also be subject to a vaccine mandate in order to fly.
  • Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian called it a “logistical dilemma” trying to figure out who among the millions of passengers the airline carries every week has been vaccinated.
  • “U.S. Travel has long maintained that there should be no mandatory vaccination requirement for domestic travel,” Tori Emerson Barnes, the U.S. Travel Association’s executive president said.

President Joe Biden recently announced sweeping federal vaccine mandates in a bid to get COVID-19 cases under control, a move that will likely require airline employees to be vaccinated or take weekly tests.

But what about airline passengers?

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser and the nation’s top infectious disease expert, thinks passengers should also be subject to a vaccine mandate in order to fly.

“I would support that if you want to get on a plane and travel with other people that you should be vaccinated,” Fauci said in a weekend interview with The Skimm.

Biden hasn’t publicly mentioned a vaccine mandate for flights but when asked about travel restrictions in a COVID-19 briefing Friday, Jeff Zients, the White House COVID-19 response team coordinator, said nothing is off the table. He pointed to the government’s Thursday announcement that fines will be doubling for passengers refusing to follow the federal mask mandate on planes and other public transportation.

►Doubling fines:Biden directs TSA to double the fines on travelers who refuse to wear a mask while flying

►’Sit down now’:Video shows unruly passenger growling, snarling on American Airlines flight

“Overall, I think we have a … very strong track record that shows we’re pulling available levers to acquire vaccinations and we’re not taking any measures off the table,” Zients said.

When asked about a possible vaccine mandate for domestic flights at a different briefing Friday, Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, said: “We are always looking at more we can do to protect and save lives. Obviously, he made a significant and bold announcement yesterday, so I don’t have anything to preview – predict or preview for you, but we’ll continue to look for ways to save more lives.”

Would airlines go for a vaccine requirement for passengers?

The idea of vaccine mandates for flights would not be groundbreaking. Canada already requires air travelers to be vaccinated. 

U.S. airlines have generally been against a vaccination requirement for domestic travel, and repeatedly note that it’s already a de facto requirement for a lot of international flights because of countries’ ever-changing entry requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an interview with “CBS This Morning” in late August, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said he doesn’t see a vaccine requirement for U.S. flights happening.

Bastian called it a “logistical dilemma” trying to figure out who among the millions of passengers the airline carries every week has been vaccinated, not vaccinated or is exempt from vaccination rules.

“It would actually bottleneck the

Travelers wearing protective face masks wait in line at a Transportation Security Administration screening at LaGuardia Airport in New York last month. U.S. aviation regulators are calling on the nation’s airports to crack down on the defiantly unmasked.

Angus Mordant/Bloomberg via Getty Images


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Angus Mordant/Bloomberg via Getty Images


Travelers wearing protective face masks wait in line at a Transportation Security Administration screening at LaGuardia Airport in New York last month. U.S. aviation regulators are calling on the nation’s airports to crack down on the defiantly unmasked.

Angus Mordant/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden and the Transportation Security Administration are cracking down on those who defy mask mandates on airplanes with one simple message: “If you break the rules, be prepared to pay.”

The White House announced Thursday that the TSA will be doubling its fines for travelers who refuse to wear a mask on flights. The new rules went into effect on Friday. First-time offenders now face a fine between $500 and $1,000, while fines for a second offense will range between $1,000 and $3,000, according to a TSA release.

The mask mandate for air travel has also been extended to January. The new TSA rules are part of an action plan Biden revealed Thursday to combat the spread of COVID-19 by making testing more accessible and by strengthening mask mandates nationwide.

Violent disputes over masks became more frequent on flights as lockdowns lifted and airline travel resumed in earnest: The Federal Aviation Administration said last month that more than 70% of incident reports involving disorderly passengers on airplanes this year were related to refusals to wear a mask.

In 2021 alone, the FAA had already issued more than a million dollars in fines by August.

Speaking to the nation on Thursday, Biden denounced the harassment airline employees have been facing because of mask mandates.

“If you break the rules, be prepared to pay,” Biden said. “And by the way, show some respect. The anger you see on television toward flight attendants and others doing their job is wrong, it’s ugly.”

American Airlines flight attendant Julia Simpson was eager to get back on a plane after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks upended air travel 20 years ago and shifted how the world thought about flying on an airplane.

The first plane to strike the World Trade Center buildings was full of flight attendants from Boston, where Simpson was the local union head. Not only was she grieving, but she and thousands of other employees were wondering if this would be the end of American Airlines after two of the Fort Worth-based carrier’s planes were used as weapons in the terror attacks.

“There was really a team mentality where we all came together because we needed to get this airline up and running again,” she said. “When flights were happening again, American was really good about coordinating and letting flight attendants fly where they wanted to fly, with who they wanted to fly with.”

Commercial air travel resumed just two days later with security checkpoints at airports that would become standard after that day.

Passengers banded together, too, she said. They watched out for signs of suspicious behavior, they were more willing to help out flight attendants and didn’t complain about security searches for box cutters, knives, scissors and the types of weapons that were used to hijack the four planes days earlier.

“They watched that safety demonstration like a hawk — like they had never seen it,” Simpson said. “20 years later, there is none of that now.”

Two decades after airplanes united travelers against a common enemy — terrorism —the COVID-19 pandemic has pitted passengers against passengers on planes and once again left flight attendants and pilots as the first responders to threats 35,000 feet in the air.

There have been reports of passengers attacking one another over wearing federally mandated masks. Others have attacked flight attendants, such as a California woman charged last week in federal court for punching a flight attendant and knocking out two teeth during an altercation in May. The woman could face more than 30 years in jail.

While airline executives suggested 18 months ago that the COVID-19 crisis would have the same financial impact on the airline industry as the 2001 terrorist attacks, few could have guessed that it would spark a similar level of anxiety and trepidation in the air.

The 2001 terrorist attacks instigated the biggest changes in air travel since commercial airlines started flying after World War II. Passengers were now asked to show up two hours or more early and wait in security lines while federal agents searched bags and scanned for weapons on bodies.

Erin Bowen, an aviation psychologist and professor at the University of Texas-Arlington, said the massive changes to public life after 9/11 were met with a united message from political leaders, the business world and the general population. People grumbled, but few lashed out at the new measures.

“There wasn’t a single person out there saying we don’t need security,” Bowen said. “And you had

(CNN) — While our passports haven’t been getting many stamps since March 2020, at least our vocabularies are expanding. Variants, mandates, quarantines and requirements — who knew 2021 would be so polysyllabic?

CNN Travel has, as always, been keeping an eye on the week’s developments and here’s our roundup of what we learned in Covid travel in the last seven days.

1. American Airlines won’t serve alcohol in coach until 2022

American Airlines said in a memo to employees that it's "doing all we can to help create a safe environment for our crew and customers."

American Airlines said in a memo to employees that it’s “doing all we can to help create a safe environment for our crew and customers.”

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

It turns out AA has a problem with alcohol.

The airline says the move is part of a two-pronged approach to improving safety on board, both in terms of Covid-19 spread and curbing unruly passenger behavior. On Thursday, the US Federal Aviation Authority proposed more than $500,000 in new fines against rule-breaking travelers.

2. Hong Kong has strict quarantine rules — but not if you’re Nicole Kidman

Australian actor Nicole Kidman was granted a quarantine exemption by Hong Kong.

Australian actor Nicole Kidman was granted a quarantine exemption by Hong Kong.

Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP

Hong Kong has some of the strictest Covid-19 quarantine rules in the world — but a special exemption has been granted to Hollywood star Nicole Kidman.

Kidman arrived in the city from Sydney by private jet on August 12, reportedly to film a series for Amazon. She and four crew members were granted a special exemption to “perform designated professional work,” avoiding a quarantine which would ordinarily mean spending 14 to 21 days in a hotel at your own expense.

3. A locked-down tourism board is promoting vaccination instead

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says anti-lockdown protesters are “selfish” for breaking social distancing rules. In the meantime, Hanoi, Vietnam, is under lockdown to try to contain a spike in new cases there. And in Indonesia, restrictions have been extended by a week. CNN’s Michael Holmes reports.

So Tourism Australian’s new campaign has taken a different tack. “It’s Our Best Shot for Travel” launched domestically this week and is a drive to get more people vaccinated.

4. The US has extended border restrictions and adds more countries to ‘do not travel’ list

The US has been limiting nonessential travel along both borders since the start of the pandemic, with exceptions being made for cross-border trade, US citizens and lawful permanent residents, as well as people traveling for reasons such as medical purposes or to attend school.

A landscape that was sculpted by nature has carved out a unique identity in the heart of Turkey.

Meanwhile four new destinations — Dominica, Jersey, Montenegro and Turkey — have been added to the highest-risk Level 4 category on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s travel advisories list.

In happier news, Chile, Mozambique and Uruguay have all moved down to Level 3, which urges unvaccinated travelers to avoid nonessential travel to those locations.

Uruguay has closed its borders to all but citizens and residents since the start of the pandemic, but this month

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

Growing up as a boxing fan in a middle class house, I never imagined a day we could afford ringside seats to the biggest fights in the world. But these days everybody can, thanks to commercial air travel. 

According to a recent report, the Federal Aviation Administration has logged 3,400 reports of unruly passengers this year. Most people attribute the spike in smack downs to increased mask policing and residual rage from a year of lockdowns. 

Regardless of how we got here, the fact remains there have been so many brawls on planes this summer, Brad Pitt and Ed Norton could make a sequel called “FLIGHT Club.” But I can’t elaborate further because everybody knows the first rule of Flight Club is you don’t TALK about Flight Club, you record it on your iPhone and post it to social media. 

With so many fists flying, I decided to make a list of ways you can make sure your next non-stop journey doesn’t become a “connecting” flight. Keep in mind that this is for people who fly COMMERCIAL, so if you’re a Texas Democrat, stop reading now. 

AIRPLANE BRAWL CAUGHT ON VIDEO SHOCKS PASSENGERS, ALLEGED RACIAL SLUR USED

1. Respect the Carry On Rule

We’ve all boarded a plane that’s only seated 10 rows of passengers yet somehow has already filled 18 rows of overhead storage bins. I like skipping a baggage fee as much as the next guy but trust me, the $35 Visa charge doesn’t hurt HALF as much as the roundhouse right to the neck. 

If you don’t believe me, ask passengers on a recent Frontier Airlines Flight who got into a storage fight that was so wild, police put the violence at a NINE on a scale of “One to a Real Housewives Reunion.” 

Understaffed Flight Crews are too busy seating people and their Emotional Support Ferrets to count your bags so we’re counting on you. Remember, “one carry on and one personal item” does not mean two rolling suitcases, a laptop, and shopping bag from Metro News. 

VIDEO OF AMERICAN AIRLINES AGENT BOOTING PASSENGER FOR PROFANE INSULT GOES VIRAL: ‘I SUGGEST SPIRIT’

I know your smart phone has been calibrated to make you feel like the most important person in the world but everybody behind you has a phone too. And they’re rage-texting about you while the Flight Attendant gate-checks their bags.

2. Dress For the Flight You Want. 

When I was a kid, there was a nobility to flying. People put on nice clothes and took pride in the image they projected. I’m not saying we wore tuxedos, but none of us looked underdressed for a Motley Crue concert. I flew Spirit Air last month and the first guy I saw was so disheveled I almost put a dollar in his coffee cup. But enough about the pilot. 

MOM OF 6 BOOTED FROM JETBLUE FLIGHT BECAUSE TODDLER WOULDN’T KEEP MASK ON SAYS POLICY ‘NOT FEASIBLE’

Jokes

Cruise enthusiasts are ready to set sail after a year of uncertainty as cruises return to the ports in Florida. Port officials and travel agents in Tampa Bay are also ready for the ports to reopen to cruise traffic.

“Florida has long been the global headquarters for the cruise industry — not only for their actual corporate headquarters, but for cruise home ports and cruise transit ports,” Florida Ports Council President Michael Rubin said. “The return of this industry means millions of state and local revenues, and hundreds of thousands of jobs.”

Rubin said prior to the pandemic, close to 20 million cruise passengers transited Florida Port Council seaports.  Port Tampa Bay is one of the 14 member seaports of the Florida Ports Council.

Port Tampa Bay Director of Communications Lisa Wolf-Chason said pre-pandemic, cruise revenue made up 17% of Port Tampa Bay’s budget.

“The return of cruising will be a tremendous boost to our port and surrounding businesses that depend on tourism,” Wolf-Chason said. “Fortunately, Port Tampa Bay is one of the most diversified ports in the country with cargo, bulk cargo and a robust container business, which helps it continue to have a strong financial standing.”

In 2019, Port Tampa Bay had 1,149,289 cruise passengers. Visit Tampa Bay Chief Marketing Officer Patrick Harrison said losing those passengers negatively impacted Tampa Bay’s tourism economy, especially because most were from outside of Tampa.

“It’s not only the number of passengers, but it’s a number of hotel nights we were losing within the area, too,” Harrison said. “On top of that, it’s the related jobs of those people that we use in restaurants, even the parking lots, people having to fly in and use the airport.”

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Vice President for Strategic Communications and Public Affairs Bari Golin-Blaugrund said prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the cruise industry supported nearly half a million American jobs and over 1.1 million jobs worldwide.

“Based on those numbers, more than 40% of the jobs the industry supports are actually based in the United States,” Golin-Blaugrund said. “A very high percentage of those jobs are actually located in Florida.”

Cruise Planners franchise owner Kathleen Pohl is a land and cruise travel agent based in Tampa. With more than 4,000 clients over the past 14 years, Pohl said the COVID-19 pandemic profoundly affected her job. From 2019 to 2020, Pohl lost 75% of her income as a result of the pandemic.

“It has been a very challenging 15 months. We’re definitely excited to see that we have light at the end of the tunnel, that the ships are going to be sailing and that people are going to get to experience a cruise vacation again,” Pohl said.

The absence of cruises has not only impacted the economy, but it has also affected cruisers.

Dade City resident Robin Penix has cruised for over 30 years. The cruise enthusiast is one of Pohl’s clients and is more than ready to get back on a boat.

“This

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. (Gray News) – Carnival is requiring all unvaccinated passengers to carry travel insurance when sailing on its Florida-based ships starting July 31.

According to the cruise line, each unvaccinated guest must provide proof of insurance with a minimum of $10,000 per person in medical expense coverage and $30,000 coverage for emergency medical evacuation and without COVID-19 exclusions.

Carnival says the policy must name the unvaccinated guest as the policyholder or beneficiary.

Unvaccinated guests without the required proof of travel insurance will not be allowed to board the ship, and no refunds will be provided.

The cruise line will waive the requirement for guests under the age of 12 since they are currently ineligible for vaccines.

Royal Caribbean is also implementing a similar policy for unvaccinated guests 12 and older sailing from Florida homeports starting Aug. 1.

According to Royal Caribbean officials, the travel insurance policy must have a minimum of $25,000 per person in medical expense coverage, $50,000 coverage for emergency medical evacuation and no COVID-19 exclusions.

Copyright 2021 Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Unvaccinated passengers who want to board a Carnival-owned cruise ship must first buy a travel insurance policy worth at least $10,000, according to a recently announced company rule. 

The insurance requirement takes effect July 31 and applies to excursions leaving from Florida, Carnival said on its booking website. Carnival has four Florida ports, in Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando and Tampa. 

Proof of travel insurance will be required at the time of check-in. The insurance policy must be in the name of the traveling passenger and must feature $10,000 per person in medical expense coverage and $30,000 coverage for emergency medical evacuation “without COVID-19 exclusions,” Carnival said. 

The policies are expected to add about $100 to $200 per person to the total costs of a standard cruise, based on a 2020 analysis by LendingTree on the average cost of travel insurance.

Unvaccinated passengers who don’t have insurance won’t be allowed to board and their ticket purchase won’t be refunded, Carnival said. 

Insurance proof will be waived for passengers under age 12, the company said, as the FDA has not yet approved the use of COVID-19 vaccines for children in that age group.

“This policy is consistent with the practices of other lines who are also restarting their operations, and in the best interests of our guests who are unvaccinated,” a Carnival spokesperson told CBS MoneyWatch in a statement Tuesday. “This is important coverage to have should they encounter a medical situation during their cruise.”

Carnival did not specify how long the rule will be in place.


Cruises to resume in U.S. waters this summer

00:24

Earlier this month, rival cruise line Royal Caribbean unveiled a similar travel insurance requirement for unvaccinated passengers on its Florida-based cruises, in addition to testing and other health protocol requirements. 

Royal Caribbean’s rule requires that policies feature a minimum $25,000 of coverage per person for medical expenses and $50,000 for COVID-related quarantine and medical evacuation. Unvaccinated passengers will need policies for trips planned between August 1 to December 31, Royal Caribbean said. 

Travel insurance rules are likely the result of a jurisdictional tug of war between cruise lines and the state of Florida and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said James Hardiman, a travel and leisure industry analyst at Wedbush Securities. 

Carnival and other cruise lines were granted permission by the CDC in April to resume sailing in U.S. waters by mid-summer so long as 95% of customers and 98% of crew are vaccinated against COVID-19. However,  Florida has a law prohibiting companies from requiring that customers be vaccinated against COVID-19. It’s a law that Norwegian Cruise Line is legally contesting in Florida. 

“I think the travel insurance — along with other onerous and sometimes expensive hurdles that unvaccinated passengers need to overcome — is a way to strongly encourage passengers to be vaccinated without requiring it,” Hardiman said. 

Return to U.S. waters

Insurance mandates are sprouting up as cruise lines are preparing to welcome back travelers for the first time in

TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa International Airport is seeing a huge increase in passengers and on Tuesday, the airport is holding a job fair in response.

It’s the third job fair the airport’s held this year.

This time they’re looking to fill 150 positions, all in retail and restaurants.


What You Need To Know

  • With travel back up and running, Tampa International Airport holding another job fair
  • Airport looking to fill 150 positions 
  • Airport averaging about 60,000 passengers per day
  • Tampa International Airport job fair 

“We’ve seen travel come back in a big way.  As you can see, we have a ton of people traveling, and we need to keep the restaurants and shops open for the full shift,” said Emily Nipps with the Tampa International Airport.

The days of 20,000 people traveling through TPA are long gone, and officials said now, they’re averaging about 60,000 passengers each day which is comparable to record breaking numbers in 2019.

In order to accommodate all of the additional people, the airport has to staff back up to pre-pandemic levels to offer people the customer service they expect when they travel through TPA. Even expansion projects that were put on hold during the pandemic are back in full swing, and airport officials said they expect it will only get busier.

“We expected recovery this year, but I think it’s been quicker than we thought it would be,” Nipps said. “I think all airports were not expecting this quick of a recovery. It’s great, it’s good to see people traveling again, but it really happened very fast.  We do expect a busy summer, and we’ll have a busy holiday season as well.”

The in-person job fair will be from 9am-1pm on Tuesday, and a virtual job fair from 2pm-4pm.

 

Topline

Royal Caribbean International will require unvaccinated passengers to purchase travel insurance—and therefore pick up the cost—for Covid-19-related expenses after a federal court upheld Florida’s “vaccine passport” ban prohibiting cruise ships from requiring vaccinations.

Key Facts

Royal Caribbean will mandate vaccinations for all passengers eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine on all cruises out of U.S. ports and the Bahamas, except for Florida-based cruises where vaccines are merely “strongly recommended.”

Unvaccinated travelers on cruises starting August 1 through the end of the year—excluding those who booked their cruises before the insurance requirement was first announced late Monday—will be required to purchase insurance that covers at least $25,000 in medical expenses and $50,000 per person for costs associated with quarantining and medical evaluation related to a Covid-19 infection.

The insurance expenses would presumably go toward removing the costs that the cruise lineswould otherwise pick up themselves in the event of a Covid-19 case or outbreak, as Royal Caribbean notes that for vaccinated passengers and children, the company will cover medical expenses onboard the ship and any required quarantine measures measures on land through October 31.

Unvaccinated guests on cruises out of Florida ports will be subject to other additional requirements including multiple Covid-19 tests, which the company notes on its website will cost adult guests $136 or $178 depending on the length of their cruise (Royal Caribbean will pay for tests for children up to age 11).

A federal court issued an injunction earlier in June blocking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine requirements for cruises in Florida, after the state government sued the Biden Administration over the agency’s guidelines.

Royal Caribbean added the extra requirements for unvaccinated travelers after two passengers onboard their Celebrity Millennium ship tested positive for Covid-19 earlier in June—though passengers were required on that ship to show proof of vaccination—and after eight crew members from their Odyssey of the Seas cruise ship who weren’t fully vaccinated tested positive in June as well.

Tangent

In addition to Royal Caribbean’s cases, Disney Cruise Line postponed their first test sailing Monday due to a “small number of inconsistent Covid-19 test results,” which the CDC treats as positive cases, and two passengers tested positive in June onboard a MSC Seaside cruise ship in the Mediterranean that did not have a vaccination requirement.

Big Number

90%. That’s the percentage of travelers on its Florida cruise ships that Royal Caribbean believes will be fully vaccinated despite inoculations not being required, the company said Tuesday. Polling has shown most Americans heavily prefer cruise lines to require vaccinations, with a recent Harris poll finding 63% would be more likely to go on a cruise if all passengers and crew members were vaccinated and 59% would specifically seek out a cruise line with a vaccine requirement.

What To Watch For

Cruises out of U.S. ports are now resuming after being barred since the pandemic began, with