You Thought Your Trip Was Bad? It Took These Olympians 13 Weeks To Get Home

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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. Seems to me that the Southwest CEO is giving himself some “wiggle room.” Yes, when the deadline comes, I imagine that each employee that is stonewalling vaccination and/or seeking an accommodation, will be counseled by management and put on unpaid leave for a period (like 30 days). At least that is what I would do.

    Being on unpaid leave will both give the stonewalling employee time to deal with their situation, and lack of a paycheck will begin to focus their minds on the issue.

    I expect that most employees will get the vaccine and get back to work quickly, possibly after discussing their situation with a trusted advisor like their personal MD or spiritual advisor (who will either write a convincing “accommodation note” for the employee, or not).

    If there are employees still stonewalling after 30 days (and still if it was my business responsibility as SW CEO), they would then be terminated as earlier counseled. That stonewalling would be strong indicator to me of bad judgement that has no place in or near a commercial aircraft. The choice to not get a vaccine (without accommodation) is a choice to contribute to aiding the spread of the virus which impacts other people that you share an indoor congregate setting with both on and off the job. Its a choice between the freedom of an individual about what goes into their body (a compelling argument), and the health and safety of all customers and employees (a more compelling argument). Really not a hard decision that should be carefully explained to all stonewalling employees when they are counseled.

    And a shoutout to all my employees in my small business: I am deeply grateful that they all chose to get vaccinated on their own, so that I haven’t needed to deal with this difficult problem.

  2. @SE Rob

    Bingo! Best comment that I read about these anti-vax employees. As a customer, I have a right to have safety first in my travels. In a metal tube/airport in close contact with people touching me, my family or our personal items I have already taken enough risks to travel. The lack of critical decision making of these employees, makes me think twice about using Southwest. Not to mention the constant canceling of flights.

    When the deadline came at United Airlines and in NY State hospital workers, 98% of those employees were vaccinated. The health excuse involves very small amount of people. The religious excuse is lame and contrived. These people need to grow up and be responsible members of society!

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