United Airlines Plans To Require All Employees To Get Vaccinations

American Airlines told employees they won’t plan to require them to get vaccinated although they’ll encourage them to do so.

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby, on the other hand, wants to require it for his employees and thinks others should follow his lead.

The worst thing that I believe I will ever do in my career is the letters that I have written to the surviving family members of coworkers that we have lost to the coronavirus,” CEO Scott Kirby said at an employee town hall on Thursday, a transcript of which was reviewed by CNBC. “And so, for me, because I have confidence in the safety of the vaccine – and I recognize it’s controversial – I think the right thing to do is for United Airlines, and for other companies, to require the vaccines and to make them mandatory.”

…“I don’t think United will get away with and can realistically be the only company that requires vaccines and makes them mandatory,” he said. “We need some others. We need some others to show leadership. Particularly in the healthcare industry.”

By the time vaccine available is sufficiently widespread where it would be practical to require it, both for airline employees and potentially passengers, enough people will likely have been vaccinated so that the pandemic is controlled.

The most accurate prediction site so far on Covid-19. Its current projection is for March to see half of current infections, and May to be at 10% of the current rate. That’s a result both of continued virus spread and vaccination. The expectation is that we reach herd immunity from this combination by July. Those assumptions could change to the extent that even more transmissible mutations of the virus take over (raising the percentage of the population needing immunity) or allow for re-infection.

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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »



  1. How can you have herd immunity, if vaccinations have not been shown to reduce spread but only reduce symptoms?

  2. @Arguedo Last time I checked, Pfizer and Moderna haven’t been shut down and are still manufacturing the vaccine.

    And per Bloomberg, the states currently have over 18M doses in their possession and have been vaccinating almost 1M people per day.

  3. Shame on Scott Kirby thinking that he has the power to not only mandate a vaccine on his employees, but then begging other leaders to go down this path with him! The real reason he is doing this is extremely simple, keeping himself out of bankruptcy court. If he cannot push the public into some type of “mandated” vaccine, that runway of cash sitting on his balance sheet shrinks by the day, and he knows this. If the vaccine does not get shoved into the arms of people fast enough his loses the ability to keep UA solvent. The ego on this man is second to none.

  4. @Arguedo We all have to wait our turn, there’s 330M people in this country.

    It is encouraging to see that we’re consistently doing 1M vaccinations per day.

    Try drinking from the half cup full and look at the big picture. Just google covid vaccine tracker, and click on Bloomberg.

  5. Good for United! With a workforce the size they have this means saving lives. It’s unconscionable to allow an employee that read on Q anon or wherever that the vaccine is bad be allowed to interact with customers. Simple law of averages means an unvaccinated person is more likely to keep the virus moving around society then a vaccinated one.

  6. This is a good idea but I think it will not fly.

    While there is a vaccine shortage, by June or so, I think there will be lots of vaccine, no takers, and lots of Covid deaths. I predict 150 million people in the US will not get the vaccine due to slow motion behavior (want to be called on the phone for the vaccine and the vaccine provided to them either at home or have a limo pick them up), anti-vaxxers, or kids under 16, who weren’t in the original clinical trials of the vaccine.

  7. @peetyrd Actually, we don’t have to wait in turn. Our tier’s number is up, yet there is no vaccine, because the turd we just flushed along with his lackeys lied to the nation and the world about his ‘performance’, which is all it ever was, a ”performance’ and limp.

  8. derek – the good news, if we can call it that, is that there are so many deaths that eventually everyone will get spooked. Even anti-vaxxers will be willing to act in their self-interest rather than their Facebook filter bubbles if it means life or death.

  9. https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-factcheck-transmission/fact-check-scientists-do-not-yet-know-whether-the-covid-19-vaccine-reduces-transmission-of-the-virus-idUSKBN29N1UH

    ‘Scientists do not yet know whether COVID-19 vaccinations will reduce transmission because this was not tested in the trials (here, here). Instead, they found candidate vaccines were able to prevent symptomatic and severe effects of COVID-19 (here), meaning future research would need to take this further (here)’

  10. Sorry Gary searching on my phone to find the article on Moderna and spread. Do you have it handy?

    Still think that all non-Moderna vaccines will not stop spread.

  11. @ Peetyrd — How dare the employees get paid. If they don’t like it, they can work elsewhere. Of course they will never be able to force employees to take the vaccine. This is just a PR stunt for more bailout money.

  12. The misinformation out there is astounding and sad. Just heard someone say that he told his 84yo Dad not to get the vaccine because he heard most of the people getting ithe vaccine are sick for 2 weeks. Very sad state of society that so many people need to cling to whatever doomsday perspective they can find no matter how false it is.

  13. @JohnW – there are side effects! after the first injection you’re most likely to get soreness at the injection site for a day or even two. after the second dose, say of the moderna shot, you may get more significant side effects – such as exhaustion, a low grade fever – the vaccine is reactogenic, and the side effects are your immune system working. those usually resolve in 24-36 hours.

  14. @Gina – BioNTech says that they’ll have data in late January/early February on this.

    Harvard Professor Paul Sax of Harvard wrote in The New England Journal of Medicine “If there is an example of a vaccine in widespread clinical use that has this selective effect — prevents disease but not infection — I can’t think of one!”

    We do know that these vaccines likely reduce spread, we are waiting for data that shows how much they reduce spread.

  15. Anyone with face to face interaction with the public (mandatory) or with other co-workers (company decision) should be vaccinated. Those who can work remotely to the satisfaction of their job requirements could be exempted.

    The two major side effects of getting the vaccine are:
    1) You can’t stop talking about it
    2) You live

  16. @Gary that BMJ document says “additional confirmation was still required”.

    “Harvard Professor Paul Sax of Harvard wrote in The New England Journal of Medicine “If there is an example of a vaccine in widespread clinical use that has this selective effect — prevents disease but not infection — I can’t think of one!”

    I don’t think the above statement answers the question about transmission.

    I’ll wait for the data.

  17. Good. Let the pro disease crowd follow their beliefs out of employment. Those pseudo science following twits deserve nothing less.

  18. Leftists like 747allways and UA-TDS are so compassionate. Thank God we have folx like them following the science and doing the work. They know best. Listen to them, comrades.


    Do you recall the uproar about anti-vaxxers not vaccinating their children for measles? Why would pro-vax parents care whether anti-vax kids weren’t vaccinated if the only benefit of vaccination were to protect the vaccinated, i.e. the vaccine did not inhibit spread? The only people at risk would be those who weren’t vaccinated (some not by choice because of immunodeficiencies). Of course, public health officials cannot make pronouncements about the COVID-19 vaccines for which they do not yet have data to back them up, but it is likely they soon will. There is also the “noble lie” aspect of not wanting to relent on messaging regarding hygiene efforts.

  19. @cargocult – I didn’t even post in this thread, you deranged troll. Why don’t you stick to ranting about techno-fascism and other verbal diarrhea, it’s amusing.

  20. And yet here you are, UA-TDS, hurling insults. Thank you for another content-free post. U mad, bro? “Verbal diarrhea” comprises whatever you don’t like or understand. How about Gleichschaltung?

  21. Agreed Gary and you are correct, to be clear my point was there is a lot of gross exaggerations floating around the vaccine and people just going straight to making up lies.
    Gina has every right to wait if that’s what she wants to as everyone has their own comfort level. I just hate to see the misinformation floating around moving peoples comfort levels in the wrong direction. The bottom line though is as long as there are not vaccinations being left on the shelf it may as well go to those who want it. It’s not who gets vaccinated that counts but how many.
    Which leads me back to the original point of the UA story. They don’t have the right to force anyone to get the vaccine but for sure they do have the right to make it a requirement of the job and well they should. Would you rather buy a ticket on an airline that everyone you encounter has been vaccinated or one that maybe they have or maybe not. When any large employer requires everyone to be vaccinated they are doing their part for to returning to normalcy.
    Just like anti vaxers don’t have the same right to travel to counties that will require it for entry, they shouldn’t have the right to work in public contact position where they would be in a greater position to transmit the virus regardless of what ultimately is found out about whether or not being vaccinated 100 percent prevents spread. It’s still is definitely the best and only option we have.

  22. No content in that post, either. Just bile. Did you bother to look up Gleichschaltung? Keep chugging that hatorade, UA-TDS. It will help keep you going when you are hopping on and off that box in your “THIS IS WHAT A FEMINIST LOOKS LIKE” tshirt. Sad!

  23. @ Cargocult. We have a saying in Texas for those like UA-NYC . . . “Bless your little heart.”

  24. @cargocult – guess what – the country has moved on, we have a new President who has a lot of mess to clean up. You apparently are the one with TDS who can’t let go, I know you are heartbroken that the insurrection didn’t succeed, and your master is now sulking down in W. Palm Beach.

    Piss off, twat.

  25. More vulgarities. Zero substance. All love. UA-TDS is so full of love. It must have been 2020’s Summer of Love that filled him with such warm feelings for his fellow Americans. UA-TDS will never move on. Unless it’s MoveOn.org?

    It is the Democrats who are calling for a “9/11 commission” to investigate what happened at the Capitol. It is the Democrats who are trying to erase anyone associated with the Trump administration from society. Techno-fascism is what happens when private tech giants cooperate with the state. Do you think Trump was coordinating with Twitter and Facebook? You still haven’t looked up Gleichschaltung, have you? Keep pretending that I voted for Trump. I never did, and even if I had, I don’t freak out over who the President is as I don’t identify with politicians or derive any self-worth from associating with them, you mood affiliator. Sad!


    UA-TDS is what a (fatty) feminist looks like.

  26. @cargocult – for someone who spends a lot of time on travel blogs, you don’t seem to *actually travel*, nor ever comment on anything travel related. Talk about sad.

    Maybe you should go over to neo-Parler – you seem like you’d be happier among the white supremacists, Q Anon freaks, and insurrectionists. Since you have no self-worth, or stand for anything, maybe they will fill you up with warm fuzzies.

    Miss me with your crybaby techno-fascism bullsh!t – funny how the real near-fascism we just dealt with doesn’t bother you.

  27. @UA-TDS, I requalified for 1K last year. I am fairly certain I travel more than you do and I am not some OPM tough guy. I will be flying four segments in the coming week, half outside the US. You are the one who almost without fail will make a post political with your unprompted comments. All you have is insults for me because you can’t actually counter any of the points I make. You consistently demonstrate that you are a blind and brainless leftist partisan. I don’t actually expect you to engage with what I say as it is clear it goes over your head. I hope others will take up the substance of my comments and not be swayed by the leftist blather that so many like you spout. It should be pretty obvious to a moderately perceptive reader what I stand for. Do you even know what Gary’s employer, the Mercatus Center, is? If Trump really were this horrible dictatorial bogeyman, how were all the institutions of the country allowed to align against him? Why is he in Florida now? The cultural elite openly mocked him, wished for his death and killed him in effigy. Get a grip, you hysterical bedwetter, You insult those who have actually suffered through dictatorships. May your life be mostly peaceful.

  28. @cargocult – and yet it is you who brought me up, unprompted, in this post. Talk about TDS.

    I have read about “incels”, haven’t actually encountered any – but I think you might be the first. Makes total sense the more I think about it.

    Go on your merry way now. Oh and I’ve been 1K 14 years in a row with a bunch of AA EXP years in tandem at times FWIW, so don’t bother lecturing me on travel.

  29. @UA-TDS

    Please note that I was responding to the compassionate comment made by 747always. You are two peas in a pod. After that, I responded to another post that was directly related to the content of Gary’s post. You keep saying I hate myself, but you are the one constantly spewing hate and proving me right in pairing you with 747Always. I address issues. You insult people and rant about Trump and his followers or virtue signal about your Democratic support. You are incapable of reason and skirt the points I make. Gleichschaltung? I shudder to think that your employer pays to ship you around the country to deal with customers, OPM tough guy. Did you actually earn 1K or EXP last year or were you wetting the bed at home in your “THIS IS WHAT A FEMINIST LOOKS LIKE” tshirt?

  30. @ UA-NYC. I wouldn’t want to be you when you are held accountable for your vulgar personal insults. In the meantime, Bless your little heart.

  31. @One Trippe – enjoy the further purpling of Texas…going to be Democratic in the next cycle at this rate. Maybe Alabama better for you?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.