Americans Support Vaccine Passports For Air Travel By A Wide Margin

According to recent polling (pdf, p.7) a vaccination requirement to fly on a plane enjoys broad support from Americans. This is true regardless of political party, age, or income. It’s also true of all races and regions of the country (p.137).

Overall support is 2-1, with 64% of respondents approving of vaccine passports for air travel, which is greater than the support for such a requirement to attend concerns or sporting events.

The only group opposing this requirement, not surprisingly, are those who have not been vaccinated. Although even there those who have not been vaccinated but say they’ll get a shot ‘when they get around to it’ actually support the requirement 52-48. It’s the ‘strong anti-vaxxers’ who are opposed.

President Biden considered and rejected a vaccine requirement to fly although is entertaining the idea that all foreign visitors will have to be vaccinated in lieu of country-specific travel bans (like for those who have recently been in the U.K. or Brazil).

No distinction is made in the polling data between support for proof of vaccination (vaccine passports) between domestic and international travel. This is for all travel. And the poll didn’t soft sell it, either – questioners called it “vaccine passports.”

Do you support or oppose introducing a ’’vaccine passport’’ for the following public activities? Flying on a plane

United Airlines is requiring all employees to be vaccinated (except where they’re granted an exception such as for medical or religious reasons). Their flight attendants union won’t even assist cabin crew in obtaining an exemption. Some other airlines, like Frontier and Hawaiian, have requirements (of varying stringency) announced as well, while Delta will only require vaccination for new employees and neither American nor Southwest requires it at all.

No one is requiring it for passengers, and that’s really what matters for customers. You spend a lot more time next to the person in the middle seat, or crowded with other passengers while boarding and on the jetway, than you do with the airline’s agents and flight attendants. A vaccinated pilot doesn’t meaningfully increase protection for customers.

The single most important thing you can do is get vaccinated yourself. But even though it appears more common for a vaccinated person to get a breakthrough infection after two full doses of an mRNA vaccine and more common for that person to spread the virus,

  • They’re still less likely to get the virus, and less likely to spread it
  • They tend to be infectious for a shorter period of time

I would choose to fly an airline where I knew everyone else was vaccinated, even without a vaccination requirement to enter the airport (which also lacks HEPA air filtration the other factors which make the aircraft cabin itself a safer environment than many other indoor congregant settings).

Do you support a vaccination requirement for air travel? Would you support an individual airline that imposed such a requirement?

(HT: @rakeshlobster)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @jnygiants, it is completely false that natural immunity has worked better than vaccination for covid-19. It is also completely irrelevant. Those who have been infected and who have also been vaccinated are less likely to be re-infected than those who been infected but not vaccinated. Therefore, it is provable that the vaccine increases the immune response for everybody who gets it.

    Your 99.7% recovery rate is mathematically impossible at this point >640k Americans have died from COVID. That represents .2% of the entire US population. In order for your 99.7% survival rate to be correct, pretty much every American would have to have been infected. No realistic estimate has suggested more than 70-80 million Americans have been infected.

  2. I will strongly support any business, airline or municipality that requires vaccinations. The science and statistics prove the best way to avoid getting sick, or having a much milder case of Covid-19 to to be vaccinated. It’s sad that the U.S, has so much misinformation regarding this. I have friends I cannot travel with as they refuse the shots. I feel sorry for them, they are missing out on a lot of fun.

  3. You are wrong…Do the math…More people that are getting the Vaccine are infecting others more so than anybody…I will take my chances….the flu shot is less lethal than covid 19…u can be the guinea pig…this is all politcal bs just like dinners with Democrats..You think the virus says hey im going to let u eat dinner and not wear a mask but then u better put it back on or Im going to infect u??? If ur so smart than why does ur savior Fauci say masks dont work anyway but other times promote it?? You need a N95 mask which may even be negligible not the masks that everyone is using to get 10% help..I know its real because I got it before.. I took a zpak n flushed out mybsysyem with water n gatorade…I have no underlying conditions and it is 99.7% recovery rate amongst people from 0-60’s…Democrats and China did this and Fauci funded it…I guess it was ok no masks with any democrats like obamas big party?? Bs…full of it

  4. Swine flu..all coming from Chi a once again…corrupt democrats just as I can tell with u…elderly can take it or people that need to but your not about to force something on me, my family or my newborn…I dont give a damn what u try to analyze I know how its been politicized….we got bigger things to worry about like our border! Why are they not being vaccinated or told to wear a mask?? Why are they even allowed in??? Its ur corrupt sick democrats who are looking for votes while putting Americans in danger all over the country spreading it to keep this covid going…were not fooled and I could care less what an anti American has tonsay who doesnt put our citizens 1st…now look at Afghanistan…same crooks doing a horrible job

  5. >More people that are getting the Vaccine are infecting others more so than anybody

    Respectfully, what the f’ are you talking about? Please give me a source for that. And it had better be something more comprehensive than the one town in MA.

    >the flu shot is less lethal than covid 19

    The covid-19 vaccines have caused dozens or _maybe_ hundreds of deaths. COVID-19 itself has caused hundreds of thousands of deaths. You do the math on which one is a greater risk.

    >You need a N95 mask which may even be negligible not the masks that everyone is using to get 10% help

    You’re right. We should be requiring people to wear N95 masks that actually cover their mouth AND nose. We should also probably not allow indoor dining in areas that have high transmission rates.

    >Democrats and China did this and Fauci funded it

    Sure, and the sun orbits the earth, no human has ever walked on the moon, Kennedy was shot by a man on the grassy knoll, 9/11 was an inside job with the twin towers being detonated with explosives, and Elvis is still alive. I also have some ocean-front property for sale in Arizona.

  6. >I dont give a damn what u try to analyze I know how its been politicized….we got bigger things to worry about like our border!

    You’re a bot, right? You can’t actually be this absurd to talk about how everything’s been politicized and then immediately pivot to “but… but… our border!”

  7. You are a waste of time…unlike you I have a job to do line a real American…your an internet troll…nobody is listening too…There is all kinds of facts on this and out of Fauci’s mouth who should be fired…goodbye jackass

  8. I’m vaccinated but have ZERO interest in a vaccine passport. What do I care if others on the plane are vaccinated or not? That’s their choice. I believe in vaccination but respect the choices of others. I have no desire to have to prove that I’m vaccinated, my word is good enough and worse case, here’s a copy of my card. I will not get a digital passport or other passport for vaccination purposes. Not sure who this survey asked, but most people I know are totally against passports.

  9. Yeah, me, the jackass, who is presenting actual facts instead of propaganda spread by authoritarians who have taken over a once-great political party and are using the call of “freedom” in an Orwellian way.

    –signed, someone who has voted Republican for about 90% of all votes I’ve ever cast.

  10. The anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers are very sad, uninformed, and selfish people who seem to have no concern or empathy for the 640,000+ Americans who have died and continue to die from this terrible disease. Blaming Fauci or the Democrats is just cop out for their own ignorance. Just look at Florida. Need I say more.

  11. Florida is doing very well. If I was in the US that is the only state that I would be in.
    As to the number 640000 this is debatable. As to Americans wishing vaccine passports by a wide margin what type of polling was taken?

  12. Bullshit..stop commenting because ur really stupid…nobody is selfish on anything..ur blind trust keeps getting disproved every day…Vaccines dont work if u need the mask…they may help they may not…nobody is purposefully trying to harm anyone…That gov is the best gov in our U.S…He also has in place the safest treatments and gets the help to the elderly fisrt..very oraganized…U say mothing to the fact the democrsts ARE LETTING THEM IN AT THW BORDER AND SHIPPING THEM TO FL…All over spreading it but then EVERY single one of them get caught without a mask…They all have stock in these companies…You are such a blind fool…if ur vaccinated dont worry about who isnt…at some point life goes in..You weasels should have never shut the govt down…You decimated jobs and the losses were far greater..by the way Trump stoppwd people coming here early, was attacked nonstop and pushed ALL of the vaccines thru that everyone is taking today…did everything he could and everything he said would happen has! He was right on Chloraquine and zpak as it saved me! He was right on economy, energy independence, border control, gas going up…Its a waste of time with morons like u that dont care about ur own country…Ur racist party democrats always lie…raise taxes, depend on govt, get kickbacks, support countrys that hate us…Trump stopped all that and the kickbacks..thats why they wanted him out…They want us to fight while sit there n laugh, not wearing masks and getting rich from China, Iran, Russia and others…last time Im responding and i ahve been fine on planes…I wore masks to not get flu with newborns and I will be damned if u think Im going to put that vaccine in my kids…I have peopke I know thay died and had heart problems from the PFizer Vaccine…Healthy people can wait until they perfect it better…

  13. Exactly…most Americans are tired of this and China getting away with unleashing viruses…its an attack on America and the world…The whole world should all go march on their soil and demand burn the labs down or were going to do it for you…How many times do we gotta let them get away with it…Sars, Swine flu, Corona…this is all baised towards normal people like us…excellent come back

  14. Masks are nonsense. Even the N95 offers marginal protection at best. As for 640k dead, I’m sure that number is false and likely overstated by at least 2x. We know for a fact hospitals were reporting COVID deaths if a person tested positive for COVID but died of something else. We’ll never know the real number of deaths nor the real number of infected.

  15. You are so right on that one…I 100% agree…It came right out of the scientists mouth…were obeying with masks everywhere that dont even work…N95 is minimal at 10% at best but all the fake ones everyone is wearing is garbage…its time to get back to normal living

  16. Unless we set up a VERY expensive bureaucracy similar to the agency which issues passports, a “vaccine passport” will be easy to fake and thus be of little value. Vaccine documentation is available from the health care provider which administered it. Why isn’t this enough?

  17. Death rate is .0018%. Do your own math, 600,000 divided by 331,000,000. No passport for me. Freedom to choose is more important than forcing someone to take an experimental so called vaccine.

  18. Bob, check your math. It isn’t right. 640,000/330,000,000 = 0.2%, not 0.002%.

    I enjoy how the goalpost shifts all the time though. “Death rate” of the entire US population is ridiculous stat. I’m generally pro-2nd amendment. One of the constant arguments for why people must be allowed to have guns is to defend their home. About 266k home burglaries occur in a year, where the victim experiences _any_ form of violent crime. Only about 24k have serious injuries. That’s a rate of just 0.0073% (decimal places are correct there, not shifted by 100 like you did). But people MUST be allowed to have their guns in order to defend their homes? So… which group is living in more fear? The gun obsessed or the ones who want to protect themselves from a disease that is KILLING more people each year that will have serious injuries from a home invasion over 3 decades?

    And again, I’m generally a pro-2nd Amendment former Republican who only votes Dem when the GOP candidate is awful. So don’t throw back “libtard” or evil Dem, or whatever at me because I happen to be capable of avoiding being brainwashed on this one.

  19. So I suppose you “freedom of choice” folks don’t wear seatbelts, smoke cigarettes, leave your doors and windows unlocked, don’t wear sunscreen outside, drive drunk, and play Russian Roulette just for fun. Why not? After all, it is your “Choice”. I prefer to stay alive.

  20. Proof of being fully vaccinated against SARS viruses such as Covid-19 is mute when traveling or at any event that might be considered a mass spreader event. Sure, you can accept and receive a so called “COVID Passport Card” as proof that you have been fully vaccinated but what’s the point? To make yourself feel better while traveling with a group of unknown strangers? The proof that you have been fully vaccinated does not mean that at the time of travel you are not a carrier of the virus! As an airline pilot, I don’t feel any safer in my daily routine just because someone has been fully vaccinated, which includes myself, as variants like the Delta variant are obviously indicating at this moment. With a “booster” in our very near future, the same will hold true with all future variants of the COVID virus.

    The science behind all of the studies of COVID-19 mean nothing until a vaccine is developed that can stop transmission of the virus. This does not seem very likely in the near future. Therefore, our lives will be dominated by the variants and transmission rates of those variants. Science produces facts that prove there will be variants of this virus just the same as there are variants of the common influenza virus, of which I get vaccinated against every year. This may become a normal for all of us simply because once a virus is introduced, especially SARS viruses, they tend to stay with us. Simply think of the “Swine Flu”, still with us but can be controlled to some extent with annual vaccines.

    If the public is convinced that a proof of vaccination will make everyone, well, obviously not everyone, feel safer to travel, then by all means hand the proof of vaccination cards (COVID-19 Passport Cards) out to anyone who desires one. As for me, I’ll continue to use common sense by washing my hands regularly and observing other good hygienic habits. Seriously, is this where the last 19 months has taken us. God help us…

  21. You are exactly right and I agree 100% with what u said…Until they come out with a concrete vaccine that stops it completely then I will continue to use proper hygiene…If anything it helped people to be more cognizant of washing hands, wiping down grocery carts etc…were all sick of the masks they need to be voluntary

  22. There is no such thing as a perfect vaccine for any illness. Stop letting perfection be the enemy of good.

    There’s another preprint study out today that again confirms the RNA vaccines are very effective against Delta variant and significantly reduce transmission vs unvaccinated people. I believe they said 93% reduction in transmissions from vaccinated individuals with breakthrough cases as compared to unvaccinated cases.

    There’s also a new study out of Singapore showing those with breakthrough cases peak at about the same viral load but the peak lasts about a day vs a week or more. Otherwise viral loads are significantly lower for breakthroughs vs unvaccinated cases.

    These vaccines are extremely good. Much better than most existing vaccines.

  23. Some of what Autolycus says may be true, however, I challenge your statement “93% reduction in transmission from vaccinated individuals” as being valid. This comparative percentage was seemingly based against cases of people that had not received a vaccination. You will need to site your source of information.

    Here is what I found to be known and agreed to by most epidemiologists. First let’s define “breakthrough cases”. A breakthrough case occurs when a person who has been fully vaccinated becomes infected with a virus such as the coronavirus, specifically here the COVID-19-DELTA variant. The C.D.C. has released a report (www.cdc.gov/science-briefs) strongly stating, “fully immunized people with so-called breakthrough infections of the Delta variant can spread the virus to others just as readily as unvaccinated people”. According to findings at John Hopkins University (coronavirus.just.edu), the rate of transmission currently is at its highest since mid winter of last year. John Hopkins also reports that those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are just as likely to transmit the virus to others.

    While there is a general consensus among researchers that those fully vaccinated seem to fair better after a so-called breakthrough infection, reports put out by some sources stating that hospitalization or death is rare is false. Dr Rochelle Walensky, the director of CDC, stated to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, speaking about the current vaccine, “They continue to work well for Delta, with regard to severe illness and death — they prevent it.” This statement has been strongly shown to be inaccurate as both severe illness and death have come about quite often in the vaccinated. She continued with this statement, “But what we can’t do anymore is prevent transmission.” Actually, the “anymore” is totally un-necessary as the vaccine has never worked to stop transmission of the virus!

    Since the above statement (August 8th) from the CDC director, Walensky’s office has also admitted that “the next variant is just around the corner”. Thus, the once un-necessary booster has been formulated.

    Information is constantly being updated and assessed by researchers and scientists about this strain of coronavirus officially known as the SARS-CoV-2. For a full understanding of this virus and any updates on its variants, I suggest going to http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org for the clearest information currently available.

  24. I’m curious to know of those polled, how many fly on a regular basis or at all. I’m fully vaccinated but I am totally against any vaccine passport with a possible exception of international travel. I believe it to be a slippery slope. I’ve been on a dozen flights in last 6 months with no issues and I don’t think it’s all because of the wretched mask policy. No, I’m not a mask warrior.

  25. @Parrothead Pilot my source for the 93% reduction in transmission was this Twitter thread, which references several different studies, including the one from Singapore that I mentioned:

    https://twitter.com/profshanecrotty/status/1428785670110150657?s=21

    There is also data from contact tracing in Israel which shows a reduction in household transmission of 88.5% in breakthough cases vs unvaccinated cases. So fine, let’s use 88.5%, or even a more conservative number like 80% if people prefer. But whatever the number is, it’s a significant reduction in transmission even in breakthrough cases vs unvaccinated cases.

    It is quite clear that the vaccines are effective in all important measures: they reduce the chance of infection, they reduce the length of infection, they reduce the severity of illness, and they reduce the transmissibility. It’s incredibly frustrating to see people who have set an impossible bar of a 100% perfect vaccine before they will accept any measures that push people to get vaccinated. If that’s your position on vaccines, then just admit that you’re also opposed to all vaccine requirements, because these covid vaccines are more effective than nearly every vaccine in history. They are more effective than the polio and small pox vaccines. They are more effective than the various Hepatitis ones. Etc. etc.

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