- 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.
“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