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?