American Airlines, JetBlue and Alaska Airlines Ask Employees to Get COVID-19 Vaccines

United Airlines has asked its employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Other airlines like American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and JetBlue followed suit, reports

Biden Administration Pressing Major U.S. Carriers To Require COVID-19 Vaccines 

The airlines mentioned were the first to give in to the pressure by the Biden administration asking major U.S. carriers to require their employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19. 

According to these airlines, they provide special flights, cargo hauling, and other government services, making them government contractors. Thus, they are covered by U.S. President Joe Biden’s earlier vaccine mandate directing contractors to require employees to get vaccinated. The deadline for the vaccine mandate for government contractors is Dec. 8. 

However, if the company is a contractor working with the government, testing and masking will not be an option over getting vaccinated.

Further, airlines remain covered under the sweeping vaccine mandates of Biden as he also ordered companies with more than 100 workers to require employees to be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing for the virus.

What The Airlines Are Saying 

In a statement last week, American Airlines CEO Dough Parker said that they are still working on the details of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. CNBC quoted him saying, “It is clear that team members who choose to remain unvaccinated will not be able to work at American Airlines.”

Alaska Airlines and JetBlue Airways said they would comply with the Dec.8 deadline. Alaska Airlines added in their memo, “This means employees may no longer opt-in for regular testing and masking instead of getting the vaccine.” 

JetBlue told their staff that the vaccination mandate would cover all employees regardless if they are working in operation, a support center, or at home.

Delta Airlines Looking Into Vaccine Mandate 

On the other hand, Delta Airlines asked employees who do not want to get vaccinated to pay a $200 surcharge for insurance starting November as they put the company and the workers at risk from contracting COVID-19. 

However, Delta released a recent statement saying it will evaluate the vaccine mandate order of Biden. Delta added, “While we continue to evaluate the Administration’s plan, Delta is proud to have developed a vaccination program that has already seen 84% of employees get vaccinated and is climbing every day.”

Other Options 

Airline employees can seek waivers on medical and religious grounds. For example, if the ground was granted, United would place these workers on unpaid leave until COVID-19 rates go down.