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, 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. At one point they also supported the democrat Jim crow laws and democrat segregation laws.

  2. hey i read your blog it is a good decision by U.S. Government beacause nowdays it is very important to take covid vaccinations shot for everyone around the world it is benefecial for every people. thanks for sharing this beautiful blog

  3. Yep, do it. We banned smoking on flights to protect passengers from their cabin-mates. The case for requiring a vaccine is even more compelling during this pandemic because second-hand smoke doesn’t have the potential to affect others who weren’t even on the flight, as the spread of covid does.

  4. Nope. Terrible idea.

    Don’t let that particular camel’s nose under the tent. Are you comfortable with (your political bogeyman here: Trump/Biden/DeSantis/Harris/whoever) having the ability to make such rules? It’s not a huge stretch to see such a thing resulting in a very social-credit like system.

    And, if anyone’s wondering, I got jabbed as soon as I could, and I think others should, too. So get jabbed, but nope to restrictions like this.

  5. Truth is . . . there are travel restrictions all over the world. And they change on a moments notice. Having a “travel passport” that would be acceptable for all governments and businesses would make travel easier. ClearMe already has my vaccine information stored. Why not COVID testing too. That way when I arrive somewhere that requires it, it’s right there on my phone. I don’t have to dig around to locate it. I don’t have to worry that I forgot or misplaced some document. It’s easy and convenient. Unvaccinated people are simply going to have to come to terms that there are restrictions that they will have to live with.

  6. Yes.. force all Americans to take a “vaccine” that really isnt a vaccine as much as it manipulates genes into doing an unnatural action within the human body. While we’re at it, lets make sure no one can get sued for any adverse long term effects of it while lining literally tens or billions of dollars into big Pharma’s pockets.

    Nothing can go wrong here. Just shut up, be happy, and show your papers, please. Just trust the government and their “science”.

  7. And we all know how accurate polling is. Polling appeals to a certain demographic, while others don’t participate at all. So that skews the results dramatically.

    It is like asking people at an all inclusive in Cancun if they prefer the beach over the mountains.

  8. Canada already announced all air passengers flying on Canadian registered commercial aircraft must be vaccinated.

  9. I hate giving government more power, because if past is prologue that power will be abused. And “temporary” power will become permanent. That said my patience has run out with the tinfoil hat idiots who just won’t become vaccinated. Right now their “principals” don’t have a cost. It should be made more costly to be a hold-out. Others are right, they don’t just endanger themselves, they endanger all of the rest of us.
    And why stop at air travel??

  10. It is a shame to see a previously useful travel blog trying to get web traffic and clicks by posting “news” on vaccination and “masking” issues. I do understand that it is how the blogger is getting g paid but I have very little interest to read more on this topic.

  11. Absolutely. Airlines are private companies (ok let’s say quasi-private because of the hundreds of millions taken through Covid-19 relief) and can make their decisions on whom they wish to serve. And Government has the responsibility to keep its citizens as safe as possible.

    So… no shirt, no shoes, NO VAXX, no service.

  12. Thanks for this pertinent information. Safety while flying is important to me. Canada could do it, so should we.

  13. Who are the vaccinated protecting by getting vaccinated other than themselves? Don’t tell me kids. It’s statistically zero the kids who have died of covid, especially under 12. Seems like recent research suggests vaccinated people can still spread the virus, sometimes more effectively than unvaccinated because they don’t have symptoms.
    Also I’m vaxxed since January so don’t call me an anti-vaxxer. Covid is here forever.

  14. Many of the comments illustrate why universal suffrage is universal suffering.

    The use of the word “we” shows the lack of understanding of praxeology. There is no we.

  15. Wonder what polling will read when they start requiring every booster and flu shot as well.

  16. If this weren’t a virus that kills less tha 0.2% of people, the vast majority being over 70 with comorbidities, i would agree. but the pure antiscientific nonsense being peddled to the public is the reason so many people support injecting others by force. pathetic and dangerous.

  17. So are children no longer allowed to go on vacation with their families? Or is there an age cut off for this requirement?

  18. a majority of the people support showing an ID to vote. A majority of the people support a wall on the southern broader to stop human traffickers, drug mules and those infected with COVID 19 from entering the country illegally.

  19. What would honestly be most helpful at this phase would be a clear vision from our government of where we expect to end up (zero COVID, endemic COVID, something in between), how long we think it will take to get there (2022, 2023, or beyond), what tools will be used to get there (pharmaceuticals, travel restrictions, lockdowns, and/or milder NPIs), and under exactly what conditions each tool would be used (preferably focusing on things like mortality rates that are more stable and informative, rather than case counts). Otherwise, you get people throwing out half-baked ideas like vaccine passports that have clear implementation issues (children, which vaccines count, when are boosters required, etc) and CDC folks overreacting to limited data.

    I thought Biden would give the U.S. a chance to target feasible, if uncreative, goals and actually implement them (Trump had some interesting ideas, but lacked the focus, staff, and experience with U.S. government to actually implement many). Biden should have his staff take control of the COVID response, so CDC input can be combined with analysis of economic impacts and non-medical considerations and lead to more stable messaging and less panic.

  20. So 64% of people are stupid, and don’t understand that planes have never been a spread vector.

  21. Definitely support this! I will definitely give more business to United as they support vaccinations. Would feel much more comfortable knowing that all passengers were also vaccinated.

  22. Totally support this. Have no desire to travel in enclosed spaces with unvaccinated people. If given the choice between two airlines and one of them had a vaccination requirement that is the airline I would fly especially international where the last thing you want is to pick up covid in a foreign country.

  23. 18 months in and the bulk of Gary’s audience, including him, still hasn’t figured out the fraud. The evidence is in and the experimental gene therapy is a failure. Don’t look for any of these people to admit they’ve been scammed. They’ll just line up for their every six-month booster and foolishly believe they’re “saving the world”.

  24. If you’re vaccinated, why are you concerned about flying with those who aren’t? They aren’t giving you the disease, and if they do, what good did the vaccination do you? If you aren’t vaccinated, you’ve made your health choice, and if you get sick, you’re the only one to blame. So why the mandate?

  25. Yes, I support vaccination passports to board an airplane. If Canada can do it, so can we. Airlines can just build it into their app. No vax, no boarding pass.

  26. Yes, a thousand times “YES!” Now that 70 percent of American adults have been vaccinated, and almost all have had the chance to be, let’s stop organizing society around making it convenient not to be vaccinated. People can make that choice, but then they should be excluding themselves from things like flying on commercial aircraft. We will not defeat the COVID catastrophe until we get vaccinated. This will go on and on and on. Make a temporary exception for those under 12, and an exception with proof of negative test for those who medically cannot be successfully vaccinated. The disease spreaders can travel by private car.

  27. Pre-vaccine, all airlines talked about was how safe they are and air filtration and very few instances of spread, etc etc. Now anyone wants to talk about is how flying is so dangerous without masks and mandating vaccinations to fly (seems dumb as vaccinated people still spread virus), etc.

  28. Anti-vaxxers can just hop into the ol’ RV for their trip to Galveston / Daytona / Branson, no flight needed…move along.

  29. Only if

    1) It is paired to the dropping of wearing masks. If we all have to wear masks there is no reason to get the shot, and I wasted 2 weekend days getting a shot.
    2) The NIH and CDC clearly state that there is no path to zero Covid as the science is clear on, Covid is here and it will stay. In Mass where I live 0.002% of we who are vaccinated have become infected, 99.998% have not been infected.

    Get the shot and dump the mask if you fear Covid. And if you don’t get the vax I hope your case is mild and happens soon.

  30. 98% of Covid hospitalized patients are not vaccinated. Let that sink in, you freedumb nitwits. Vaccine does not stop “getting” or spreading Covid. We know that. But it WILL KEEP YOU OUT OF THE ICU AND THE MORGUE. Non vaccinated cretins should be shunned and shut out of normal society for the danger and drain they put on the rest of us and our limited resources. Charge these narcissists higher insurance premiums, ban them from indoor activities, and consider withholding medical treatment when they inevitably get sick from Covid. Bad choices have consequences and your idiotic “rights” end where my nose begins!

  31. Along those lines Marv charge the morbidly obese higher premiums and consider withholding medical treatment when they get sick – not only from COVID but from heart disease , strokes, knee and hip replacements. Over a third of the US is obese and the drain they put on the rest of us and our limited resources is immense.

  32. So many insulting self righteous ignoramuses here. Those that spot about free dumb not only do not deserve freedom. But most likely have two digit IQs as they are simply regurgitating prepared narrative. 1000 times yes. Another smug individual who has lost the ability to think. I will support carriers and businesses that do not impose restrictions.

  33. Oh and Marv while we’re on the subject of COVID vaccines Israel has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world yet is seeing a spike in cases. More than half of those cases are in vaccinated people. Way too early to sing the praises of the vaccine. Let that also sink in.

  34. @John

    Hospitalizations, not cases, is the relevant number when most cases are like a cold due to vaccinations.

    And sadly Israel is no longer a good example as their vaccinations plateaued at a mere 62%, which with Delta is too low since the remaining 38% now have a much increase risk of getting infected and going to the hospital and then morgue.

  35. I say just create a vaccine passport – no vaccine – no travel. Those who want vaccines have had the opportunity to get it. If they don’t want it, there are ramifications and I personally think keeping them out of public places. Just like we are expected to wear clothing in public as to not offend some people, it should be the same for vaccines. You shouldn’t be allowed to be the free-walking killer infecting others. I say put them in all in a group and let it be. It’s unfortunate but the division is firmly in place so let’s just cement it.

  36. Here is my recommendation.

    Domestic flights: No vaccine requirement.
    International Departure: No vaccine requirement (on US side).

    International Arrivals:
    Vaccinated: no pre-departure covid test needed, possibly with a covid test after arrival for non US Citizens..
    Non-vaccinated: series of covid tests, pre-departure, day 2 & day day 8, something like the UK is doing.

  37. @John SF has the most sensible proposal in my opinion. I am strenuously opposed to any vaccine requirement to fly or take part in any part of public life. I don’t have the words to describe how alarmed and distressed I am that such a proposal is even being considered along with restrictions on public life (New York, New Orleans, San Francisco and soon both the city and county of Los Angeles) for those who are unvaccinated as well as those vaccinated individuals who wish to guard their medical privacy. If such restrictions continue to gain traction and become common, especially if upheld by the courts, I think we will be where Germany was about 1935 give or take a year. Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

    As a matter of principle, my personal medical information including, but not limited to my vaccine status, is a very personal and private matter between my doctors and myself and is NO ONE else’s business.

    Get the vaccine if you wish or don’t get it. Each decision should be respected and is really no one else’s business. It is wrong to presume that someone has the cooties (I mean the C19 virus) unless someone clearly displays symptoms. The principle of healthy unless proven sick should apply just like the principle of innocent until proven guilty is a legal standard in the USA. Presuming everyone you don’t know is sick is a level of paranoia that is unhealthy.

  38. Bullsht…masks dont work…were 2 inches away from the next person…Natural Immunity has worked better than vaccinated people…were not taking the vaccine until they work better…u think covid says oh let me give u the ok to take a drink and eat n I wont get u but if u dont pull it up when ur done then Im going to infect u! Its all political…vote these pos democrats out on a 99.7% recovery rate…never did this for flu n look how flu is now gone…our borders are ruined, corruption, high gas, inflation, lying Fauci, u get vaccinated so u still now wear a mask, military is weak and Biden braindead n corrupt…this country better wake up fast!

  39. The IATA Travel Pass. After 2.5 hours on hold with United, I was given the code for the pass. Should never have hung up. It was not the correct code!!!
    Any suggestions?

  40. Wow, it is absolutely amazing to me that so many people want to place others in “camps” or require some type of brand to identify them (think about the WW2 European tattoos).
    We know a lady whose Father saw his wife and children killed on one of those “camps.” After the war he remarried and this lady is one of his children.
    Come on, people.
    First, it is not a vaccine. A vaccine PREVENTS infection from the target (virus, etc.), things such as polio, smallpox, the childhood diseases. This current injection does not prevent anything.
    Who remembers the world wide pandemic, as declared by the World Health Organization, that caused panic, lockdowns, and hysteria in early 2009? No, don’t remember that one? The pandemic actually occurred (look it up), but NO ONE succumbed to hysterical panic. This current one is called SARS-Covid2, the 2009 episode was called SARS-Covid1. Herd immunity was pushed around the world and it worked.

  41. I am fully vaccinated and do not approve of a vaccine passport.
    Why stop at Covid. Maybe we should require proof of the flu vaccine, the pneumonia vaccine, verification that all passengers do not have a sexually transmitted disease including AIDS.

  42. @Sheepdog, do a better job of maybe giving some critical thought to the differences between what’s being discussed and what happened in before and during WW2. The differences are quite stark, and your attempt to equate things is pathetic and extremely demeaning to the victims of what happened at the hands of monsters in the 1930s and 1940s. There is no equivalence at all.

    These are vaccines by every reasonable definition. Yours is not a reasonable definition at all. No vaccine is 100% effective, therefore no existing vaccine would meet your definition. An actual definition of a vaccine is “a preparation that is administered (as by injection) to stimulate the body’s immune response against a specific infectious agent or disease”. That’s Merriam-Webster’s definition. All other dictionaries will have something similar. It is indisputable that all FDA authorized vaccines for covid-19 stimulate the body’s immune response against covid-19. Also note that effectiveness of a vaccine isn’t in the definition at all, so your concept of “prevention” is a strawman in the first instance and based on a falsehood in the second. The FDA authorized vaccines are effective at preventing illness. They are not 100% effective, but again, no vaccine is–not even the ones you listed.

    Clearly I remember the 2009 pandemic better than you. It wasn’t from a coronavirus at all. It was an influenza virus referred to as “swine flu” colloquially and as H1N1 in medical and scientific discussions. I also remember quite clearly the critical differences between the swine flu pandemic and the current one:
    1) it lasted a total of < 18 months, which we're past now for COVID-19 with no end in sight
    2) there was a grand total of about 18.5k lab-confirmed deaths caused by swine flu during the entire pandemic whereas more people died from covid-19 in the US in just a single week. Estimates of deaths put the total GLOBAL swine flu deaths in the range of 280k-300k (there are estimates anywhere from 150-500k, which puts it in line with seasonal flu). Compare that to the more than 4.4 million lab-confirmed global deaths from covid-19. Twice as many people have died from covid-19 in the US alone than died across the entire globe from swine flu.
    3) Lock-downs, school closures, etc. were planned in 2009, in case the pandemic became a real threat to the US. They were thankfully not needed because the virus did not prove to cause widespread death in the US. The scale of death simply cannot be ignored as a reason for the significant difference in public health measures being implemented now vs. in 2009.
    Also of note with swine flu (H1N1): there was a vaccine–several actually–that received full FDA approval. It was not as effective at preventing illness as the 3 approved covid-19 vaccines.

    You thought you were being clever in calling yourself "Sheepdog", but you are, indeed, the sheep–incapable of actual thought but just parroting back the lies that you have gotten from people who want to manipulate you so they can gain power for themselves. Look at who is walking the walk. DeSantis, Abbott, Trump, etc. are all spreading anti-vax bullshit while getting the vaccine for themselves. Why? Because they don't even believe their own bullshit.

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