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Airlines Take COVID-19 Testing Grievances to White House in Virtual Meeting

Airlines Take COVID-19 Testing Grievances to White House in Virtual Meeting
Joe Cortez

Leaders of the major airlines will be taking their grievances about mandatory COVID-19 testing before flights to the White House on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. In a virtual meeting, the leaders will have their first face time with the new administration to discuss an aviation industry still in the grips of a pandemic.

Airline leaders are expected to have their first face-to-face meeting with the White House on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021 – albeit virtually, through a socially-distanced remote meeting. Both Reuters and CNN report the summit will be the first chance airline leaders will get to meet with president Joe Biden and key members of their staff.

Discussion to Include Mandatory COVID-19 Testing Prior to Travel

According to the reports, the meetings will primarily revolve around the COVID-19 pandemic, and rumors of a testing mandate for domestic flyers. Leaders of three airlines – American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines – aircraft manufacturer Boeing, and industry organization Airlines for America have all expressed their opposition to a testing regime, warning it could stall any hopes of a recovery this year.

However, the decision may not be left in the hands of either president Biden or his new Transportation Secretary, Pete Buttigieg. Instead, officials within the White House have told CNN that a national testing mandate would come from the Centers for Disease Control. Previously, the CDC announced a mandatory face mask rule for anyone traveling on a public carrier, including airlines, with fines to be enforced by the Transportation Security Administration.

“To be clear, there have been no decisions made around additional public health measures for domestic travel safety,” an anonymous spokesperson for the White House told CNN. “The administration is continuing to discuss recommendations across the travel space, but no specific decisions are under consideration.”

Although testing is still on the table, outright grounding all passenger flights is not an option. The CDC has not yet signaled if they will move towards a testing mandate.

Meeting One of Several Expected Between Carriers and Officials

While this will be the first meeting between leaders, it probably won’t be the last. CNN reports airlines have already made pleas with government officials about not making COVID-19 testing mandatory to board a flight, and its expected these talks will continue until a decision is final.

View Comments (7)


  1. enggeol

    February 12, 2021 at 4:24 am

    Self interest of the airlines before the interests of the community and their customers. Where else will you sit in an enclosed space for hours next to someone you don’t know has COVID or not, and who in all probability will for part of the time will not be wearing a mask as they drink or eat? The only way we are going to halt this thing is whilst it is prevalent either reduce to a minimum risk taking activities or check as far as possible, that in taking those risks, you remove those people from the activity you can check are a risk.

  2. Bubby913

    February 12, 2021 at 6:41 am

    The hell with the CDC!

  3. RSinclair3

    February 12, 2021 at 9:56 am

    Well, unfortunately I won’t fly on any airline that refuses to test its passengers. Attention: This is the worst pandemic in over a hundred years — so why are you acting like it’s1920? If we have the tools available, let’s use them all. And BTW, you should have been sanitizing your cabins between flights for the past 50 years. You knew then that planes were the carriers of flu and diseases. Shame on you all!

  4. bozacksmith

    February 12, 2021 at 11:05 am

    so I guess with the comments everyone would also support pre-testing before you go to Costco and the grocery store? What about walking into a hospital? My wife and any of her staff don’t get tested every day and they work with Covid patients, they even changed the policy now that if someone in your house tests positive but you have no symptoms you can work your shift. Airlines have never been cleaner than they are now (probably not saying much lol)

    Accomplishes nothing just like temperature checks, let the rest of us adults continue to do adult things…Everyone else can put their world on pause………. math is easy, figure out the percentages as we live in a world of risks.

  5. Dublin_rfk

    February 12, 2021 at 6:37 pm

    Oh great! A virtual meeting with anonymous somebody in the White House. How long will it take to explain it to joe.

  6. drvannostren

    February 14, 2021 at 7:43 pm

    Tests probably should be done, but until you can provide enough rapid tests at a reasonable price, it’s not realistic. Over the last 3 days TSA numbers are roughly 1M per day. So that means 1M tests…per day, distributed throughout the country. They also need to be affordable, like 10-20$ added to your ticket cost or whatever.

    Once they sort that out, honestly, if they could test for everything worse than the common cold (I’m no good at science, I dunno if they could do this or not) I’d be all for it. Far too often pre-covid you’d get on a plane and get off with some level of sickness. Now again, that’s just cold/flu we all accept that’s just kinda part of life, but this is the result…covid/ebola/whatever else, you can get on a plane with any illness without an issue. And people do it too, I’ve done it myself. I had a pretty bad cold and I called my airline to see if they’d let me rebook, obviously they wanted a bunch of money, I called my insurance provider and they said you’d need a doctor’s note, but I was only calling like 6 hours before I needed to leave as I woke up sick. So until we either have completely mass testing or permanently more flexibility with booking without fees, we’re gonna be right back here in another 5-10-20 years when the next Covid comes along.

  7. cosflyer

    February 15, 2021 at 11:16 pm

    i dont think you are going to be flying for awhile, Joe will eventually say OK…no tests required for domestic travel, this was nothing more than fluff from the administration and they were looking for some traction in the court public opinion if it appeared that the public wanted testing domestically, Joe,Pete and Kamala knew that it would crush any type of recovery of the us airlines.

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