Yesterday morning United Airlines announced it would require employees to be vaccinated, marking a first for a major airline in the United States. Well, it didn’t take long for another airline to follow.
Frontier Airlines’ new vaccine policy as of October 1
Frontier Airlines has announced that all direct employees of the company will need to be fully vaccinated against coronavirus by October 1, 2021. As it’s described, this action comes as coronavirus cases, and in particular the delta variant, have increased throughout the United States.
As Frontier Airlines CEO Barry Biffle explains this development:
“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. 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.
The good news is that the vast majority of our employees have already taken this important step and have gotten vaccinated. I hope the step we’re announcing today will further increase the percentage of our workforce that’s fully vaccinated.”
Interestingly as of now, Frontier Airlines might be the first major airline in the United States to introduce a vaccine policy. While United made the announcement first, the airline is only implementing its policy five weeks after September 20, 2021, or five weeks after the FDA announces that it has fully approved the vaccine, whichever comes first. In other words, United’s policy might only be implemented by late October, while Frontier is implementing its policy as of the beginning of October.
There’s a catch with Frontier Airlines’ policy
What happens if Frontier Airlines employees choose not to be vaccinated? Well, it seems the airline isn’t actually requiring employees to be vaccinated.
It’s stated that employees who choose not to or are unable to get vaccinated will be “asked to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test on a regular basis.” The airline will work with union leaders to establish testing protocols that work for employees, their health, and the overall safety of the workforce.
This differs from United’s policy. United will be firing employees who choose not to get vaccinated, with the only exception being “a very narrow reasonable accommodation process (as required by law) for religious and medical exemptions.”
So I guess Frontier is more taking the approach that it will be very inconvenient not to get vaccinated, rather than making it truly mandatory. I’m guessing the logic is that Frontier is looking to avoid the possibility of any legal issues with its policy.
Frontier Airlines is becoming the second major airline in the United States to announce plans for a vaccine requirement for employees. The policy will go into place as of October 1, so the airline may be the first in the United States to implement this. However, there is one catch — employees can choose to be frequently tested in lieu of getting vaccinated.
What do you make of Frontier Airlines’ new employee vaccination policy?