And then there were six. Last week, three major U.S. airlines said they would require employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19. American Airlines, Alaska Airlines and JetBlue Airways are joining United, Hawaiian and Frontier airlines in announcing vaccine mandates for staff.
Among the major U.S. air carriers, the two holdouts — Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines — are getting pushback from unions as they mull taking similar action.
But airlines have little choice. Last month, as part of a new approach to fighting the coronavirus pandemic, the Biden administration ratcheted up pressure by ordering the nation’s largest employers to impose vaccine mandates. As large employers with more than 100 workers, airlines must require their workers to get the coronavirus vaccine or test their employees for the virus at least once a week. Airlines that provide services for the government as contractors have an even stricter set of rules. They must enforce the vaccine mandate by December 8 without offering a testing option.