Biden Admin Increases Pressure on Airlines to Force Employees to Get COVID Vaccine


Alaska Airlines and JetBlue are joining United Airlines in requiring employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, just as the Biden administration steps up pressure on major U.S. carriers to mandate the shots.

White House coronavirus adviser Jeffrey Zients talked to the CEOs of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines about vaccine mandates, according to three people familiar with the situation. They spoke Friday on condition of anonymity because the calls were private.

Airlines fall under President Joe Biden’s sweeping order that companies with more than 100 workers force employees to be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing for the virus.

They are also government contractors, and so could fall under a Dec. 8 deadline for contractors to enforce vaccination requirements — without the testing option.

Alaska Airlines and JetBlue Airways said Friday they would require employees to be vaccinated as soon as Dec. 8 because they will be treated as federal contractors.

Why an Army Veteran Sold His Farm to Sail the World in Search of Rare Treasure

“This means employees may no longer opt-in for regular testing and masking in lieu of getting the vaccine,” Alaska Airlines said in a memo to employees.

Delta said it was still evaluating Biden’s order. The airline previously said it would require vaccination or weekly testing and impose surcharges on unvaccinated employees.

That would pass the Biden test for large employers but would not meet the stricter rules for federal contractors.

United Airlines took an early stance to require vaccination.

United said Thursday that 320 of its 67,000 U.S. employees face termination for not getting vaccinated or seeking a medical or religious exemption by a deadline earlier this week.

American and Southwest say they are studying Biden’s order. Both are under pressure from their pilots not to require vaccinations but to instead offer options, including testing.

At least two members of Congress — Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California and Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia — have proposed requiring passengers on domestic flights to be vaccinated or show proof of a negative test for COVID-19 before they fly.

Anthony Fauci supports that approach for domestic flights. The Biden administration has not ruled out the idea, which the airlines oppose strongly.

The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

, , , , ,
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands. Photo credit: @AP on Twitter
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
New York City