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Frontier and Hawaii Require Employee Vaccinations, While American Holds Back

Both Frontier Airlines and Hawaii Airlines will follow legacy carrier United Airlines in forcing employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine by the fall of 2021. Meanwhile, American Airlines will offer “incentives” to encourage employee shots but has not yet made it a requirement for their workforce.

Two more airlines will require their employees to get vaccinated ahead of what could be one of the busiest travel seasons on record. Frontier Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines both announced employees must be vaccinated against COVID-19 before the end of 2021.

Frontier and Hawaiian Set Mid-Fall Employee Vaccination Deadlines

For low-cost carrier Frontier, employees will not lose their jobs if they decline to get vaccinated by the carrier’s deadline of October 1, 2021. Instead, those workers will be required to provide proof of a “negative COVID-19 test on a regular basis.” The airline did not expand on how often “a regular basis” will be for non-vaccinated flyers.

“The good news is that the vast majority of our employees have already taken this important step and have gotten vaccinated,” Frontier CEO Barry Biffle said in a press release. “I hope the step we’re announcing today will further increase the percentage of our workforce that’s fully vaccinated.”

Their announcement coincides with another promotion for Discount Den Members: “Friends With Vaccines Fly Free.” Vaccinated members who purchase a Discount Den fare by August 12, 2021 can get a free companion fare on the same itinerary. The deal is available for travel between Aug. 21 and Oct. 30, 2021, on select dates and routes.

Three days after Frontier’s announcement, Hawaiian became the third U.S.-based carrier to require workers to get the vaccine. CNBC reports the airline made the announcement in an internal memo, giving workers until November 1, 2021 to get inoculated. Those who have a medical or religious reason not to get the shot will be given an exception.

Both announcements come as the COVID-19 Delta Variant is creating a spike in both infections and deaths across the country. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the seven-day moving average of cases increased to over 60,000 by the week of July 27, 2021, which looks “more like the rate of cases we had seen before the vaccine was widely available.” To date, Johns Hopkins University notes nearly 36 million Americans were infected by the novel Coronavirus causing COVID-19, with over 617,000 killed by infections.

New Vaccine Requirements Follow United’s Stand, but American Not Ready for Mandate

While Frontier and Hawaiian follow United Airlines’ lead in creating a vaccination mandate for employees, other carriers are not ready to create requirements. According to Fox Business, the Fort Worth-based airline is only offering incentives for employees to get the shots, such as an extra day off in 2022 and a $50 bonus.

Feature image courtesy: National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

dhacker August 17, 2021


CincyTraveler August 12, 2021

Personally. I support national mandatory vaccinations. Not only does the vaccination protect me, it protects young children and those who cannot medically receive a vaccination. A friend of mine is immunocompromised and cannot take the vaccine (she gladly would if she could). Contracting Covid would certainly kill her. To me, anyone who does not have a legitimate medical reason to be immunized and does not, is selfish, self-absorbed, insensitive, and irresponsible. They do not care about anyone but themselves. Do they really Want children to get sick and have lifelong health issues? Do they Want my friend to die? I don't think they have thought through the ramifications of not receiving the vaccine. It's like insurance, you hope you never have to use it but you sure are glad you have it if you do.