United Airlines announced today that all employees would have to get vaccinated starting in late October.
Now Frontier Airlines announced that all of its employees must be fully vaccinated by October 1. Only not all Frontier employees will actually need to be vaccinated.
“As we continue to watch the rapid increase of new COVID-19 cases across the United States caused by the Delta variant, I am concerned for the well-being of our team members, their families and friends,” said Barry Biffle, president and CEO, Frontier Airlines. “Safety is of the utmost importance at Frontier and we need to take every step possible for us to keep our teams safe, protect the operation and protect our passengers. The time has come to do what we can to help put an end to COVID-19.”
As with all such policies, the consequence for non-compliance matters a great deal. Frontier isn’t firing employees who do not get vaccinated, but instead the airline will insist on regular Covid-19 testing for unvaccinated employees and plans to work with its unions on the testing regimen.
This lets Frontier say all employees are required to be vaccinated while avoiding contractual issues with its unions, but it means that not all employees will be vaccinated. I’m not sure how much it matters to customers when there’s no requirement that the person in the middle seat next to you, or crowding you at the gate, has been vaccinated.
Delta says new employees only must be vaccinated, while American doesn’t plan to require vaccination (though American CEO Doug Parker has said that competitive pressure could require them to change their position).