There’s a group associated with a law firm challenging vaccine mandates at airlines, US Freedom Flyers and this is their new video featuring a pilot making a rather dramatic case.
I’d make five observations about this video,
- The complaints about mask mandates are odd since pilots don’t have to wear masks in the cockpit. They take their masks off, while passengers have to wear them. The discussion of how masks impinge on freedom distracts from the argument about bodily autonomy.
- Like many pilots, he has a side job. (The most common side business seems to be insurance.) So it’s odd to suggest that a vaccine mandate forces him to make a choice about whether to feed his family. He could fly for another airline (regionals do not at this point have the same vaccine requirements, though he’d lose seniority and earn less) or go all-in on his business.
- He suggests American’s once had the freedom not to be vaccinated. That’s true. There didn’t used to be vaccines. But the imagery of American’s founding is odd since George Washington required Continental Army soldiers to be exposed to small pox to build up their immunity and avoid outbreaks at crucial moments in the war. (Contra popular mythology, he didn’t merely require ‘vaccination’ since the small pox vaccine had not yet been developed, he actually required variolation.)
- It seems reasonable to me for a company to require vaccination for its employees. Sick employees wreak havoc on a schedule, and outbreaks among large groups of employees is a real risk. American’s pilots are threatening to leave rather than be vaccinated, undermining the nation’s holiday travel plans. But not getting vaccinated could have the same result.
- American Airlines and every airline that’s not O.G. United is requiring vaccination only because the Executive Branch has told them they have to or lose out on government subsidies. They aren’t making the decision so they can offer a reliable operation, they’re making it so they can continue picking taxpayer pockets as a government contractor. I don’t think these airlines really has the moral high ground here. And no U.S. airline is requiring vaccines for passengers, this isn’t about passenger health.
Last week American Airlines employees were protesting at company headquarters over the requirement that they show proof of vaccination by November 24 or start the process of termination. There will be a medical and religious exemption process as well. One pastor sells exemption letters.