United Airlines Requiring Employees To Be Vaccinated (First Among US Airlines)

United Airlines Requiring Employees To Be Vaccinated (First Among US Airlines)

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United Airlines will become the first major airline in the United States to require employees to be vaccinated.

United Airlines mandating vaccines for employees

United Airlines has revealed that all employees in the United States will be required to be vaccinated by this fall. This will be required at the earlier point of five weeks after September 20, 2021, or five weeks after the FDA announces that it has fully approved a COVID-19 vaccine. In other words, by late October all United Airlines employees based in the United States will have to be vaccinated.

If employees choose not to get vaccinated, they’ll no longer have jobs at United Airlines. The only exception is that there will be “a very narrow reasonable accommodation process (as required by law) for religious and medical exemptions.”

The memo states the following, to address those who might be skeptical:

We know some of you will disagree with this decision to require the vaccine for all United employees. But, we have no greater responsibility to you and your colleagues than to ensure your safety when you’re at work, and the facts are crystal clear: everyone is safer when everyone is vaccinated.

Over the last 16 months, Scott has sent dozens of condolences letters to the family members of United employees who have died from COVID-19. We’re determined to do everything we can to try to keep another United family from receiving that letter.

Will other airlines follow United’s lead?

United Airlines will become the first major airline in the United States to require employees to be vaccinated. Both Delta and United had announced earlier this year that they’d require newly hired employees to be vaccinated, but that’s the extent of it — they didn’t add any restrictions for existing employees.

In recent weeks, the CEOs of both American and Delta stated that they wouldn’t mandate vaccination for existing employees. I’m curious to see if they have a change of heart after this development from United.

United really is leading the way here — at the beginning of the year United CEO Scott Kirby hinted that he wanted to eventually require employees to be vaccinated. However, at the time he stated “I don’t think United will get away with and can realistically be the only company that requires vaccines and makes them mandatory, we need some others.”

So it seems that Kirby thinks we’re now at the point where United can “get away” with this.

Bottom line

United Airlines is leading the way among airlines in the United States by requiring employees to be vaccinated by this fall. If employees choose not to get vaccinated, they’ll either need to qualify for a medical or religious exemption, or they’ll no longer have a job at the company.

United is the first major airline in the United States to mandate something like this, and for that matter is even one of the first major travel companies. Kudos to Scott Kirby and the rest of the gang for leading the way here.

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  1. Abzy

    I meant *sus* damn autocorrect

  2. Abzy

    The first airline "among us"? I dunno Ben the title seems rather suspicious, or should I say it's rather being "sis"

  3. MM

    @Jordan

    New cars require breathalyzers some day? Sounds good to me. Probably sounds like "too late" for many families who lost a loved-one to a drunk driver. Are you in favor of the right to drive while intoxicated? Or it is only bad when the drunk is caught?

    iPhones scanning/identifying pedo pics and forwarding on to law enforcement? Actually, this only occurs when your photo is uploaded to iCloud (optional, or as you would say...

    @Jordan

    New cars require breathalyzers some day? Sounds good to me. Probably sounds like "too late" for many families who lost a loved-one to a drunk driver. Are you in favor of the right to drive while intoxicated? Or it is only bad when the drunk is caught?

    iPhones scanning/identifying pedo pics and forwarding on to law enforcement? Actually, this only occurs when your photo is uploaded to iCloud (optional, or as you would say "A freedom..."). While I'd prefer that Apple didn't look at my nudie pix thru a false positive, when viewed by a human at Apple to double check, I might just get a date out of it. I'm OK with that. So, you are in support of having pedo pix on your phone? BTW, I find nothing about illegal language in any article. Is there such a thing?

    We don't need saving from those OK with the the new policies. We need saving from peeps like you.

    Glad you won't be on United. One less nut to delay my flight.

    THANK YOU UNITED AIRLINES. Can't wait till there is a national vax database for passengers.

  4. Tim Dunn

    Frontier just announced that it will either require vaccination from its employees OR undergo regular testing.
    How is it that Frontier can come up with a regular testing option for those employees that do not want to get vaccinated but United cannot?

    1. Ryan

      @Tim Dunn

      Does Frontier do long haul international? *gives straight face*

    2. Tim Dunn

      surely you gest?
      The density of Frontier's aircraft makes the risk of transmission higher if you want to start worrying about specific risk factors.
      Frontier came up with a more respectful strategy of the diversity of its workforce than United, as hard as it is for you to accept.

  5. Never In Doubt

    Not that they’re in United/American/Delta’s peer group, but Frontier announced they’re requiring vaccination of all employees.

  6. Donna

    Hopefully the other major carriers will follow suit. Long overdue.

  7. Ricardo

    Man, United is really starting to sound like a better option than AA. The interiors will match Delta on narrow bodies, and employees will all be vaccinated. Everything else being the same disappointments, United is going to start seeing more of me.

  8. Jordan

    They are not taking your rights away, you are all giving away your rights and freedoms. THEY must be laughing nonstop at humanity right now....and many on here do not get it at all.

    As many of you continue to beg the government to restrict you more, in the name of public health and safety LOL... they see the suckers, and continue to strip away more freedoms.

    In new cars, you must take a...

    They are not taking your rights away, you are all giving away your rights and freedoms. THEY must be laughing nonstop at humanity right now....and many on here do not get it at all.

    As many of you continue to beg the government to restrict you more, in the name of public health and safety LOL... they see the suckers, and continue to strip away more freedoms.

    In new cars, you must take a breathalyzer before it starts - hmm, how many read and are ok with this new law passed this week?. How many of you even know about it??

    Apple announced that their new phones will scan your phone for pedo pics, and illegal language (yes, on the surface it seems good) until you realize that they are scanning and looking at ALL of your pics and docs. ALL phones, not just of suspected or convicts.

    So what's next? I'm sure many of you will argue the above as good things, because its sold to you with the benefit.

    I wish you all well.

    United will be my last choice upon principal, since they are the first in the US.

    Again many are rejoicing at people losing their jobs... since they are not in this basket. Soon you will be in the basket one way or another, and you never spoke up!....and there will be no one to save you.

  9. EC2

    Logistically United has to require it. At least for any flight personnel that have any chance at being scheduled for an international flight. How can they fly from Guam to Japan with an unvaccinated crew? Even if they stay on the plane for the return flight a cleaning and restocking crew based in Japan would have to go on the plane and passengers to Japan would have to be vaccinated.

  10. EC2

    Religious exemption is very easy to get and very hard to challenge.

    1. Nick

      It's easy to challenge if the person has ever voluntarily received vaccines or really any medical treatment in the semi-recent past.

  11. Ole

    About time. I hope other private employers have balls to mandate one, cuz the governments definitely do not.

    The whole argument about past experiments causing minorities to be doubtful about vaccines is ridiculous. The circumstances between two situations are complete opposite. Covid vaccines are not being administered in secret or only to certain group of Americans. It’s just an excuse for not taking the vaccine.

    The argument for full approval is also BS. The Pfizer/Moderna/Astra...

    About time. I hope other private employers have balls to mandate one, cuz the governments definitely do not.

    The whole argument about past experiments causing minorities to be doubtful about vaccines is ridiculous. The circumstances between two situations are complete opposite. Covid vaccines are not being administered in secret or only to certain group of Americans. It’s just an excuse for not taking the vaccine.

    The argument for full approval is also BS. The Pfizer/Moderna/Astra Zeneca vaccines have been administered to millions if not a Billion. Check the stats on adverse reactions and deaths. They are no more than stats for other fully approved vaccines.

    Anti-Vaxxers - Just admit you are morons and selfish sons/daughters of b%#$hes.

  12. Aman

    The others will have to follow suit. After reading this, United will be my first choice even though they are my least carrier in the US.
    Frankly, I fully support this move. Anyone in customer facing roles must be vaccinated- if they cannot avail one for medical reasons, those staff should be repurposed to other departments where they are not as exposed. It is for everyone’s safety.

  13. Justin

    These mandates are not going to work. Que the fake vaccine cards in 3, 2, 1…. People have to decide for themselves or they will find a way around it. Sadly for some it takes somebody close to them becoming severely ill and even dying. It’s a hard and an absolutely cruel lesson. It’s sad but I don’t see another way around it. The costs are high for the division in the US.

    1. Never In Doubt

      If 100% truthful compliance is your standard for “work”, then of course it won’t work, but that’s an unrealistic standard.

      The reasonable objective/standard is to get more people vaccinated. This will get more people vaccinated.

    2. Justin

      I hope I am wrong but I don’t think it will be anywhere close to 100% truthfulness. It will probably be well under 50%. The more authoritative the govt and companies become the more resistant the unvaxed become. It will be counter productive to mandate vaccines. A major concern for the unvaxed is lack of trust in the govt and they think companies are being used as proxies by the govt to mandate vaccines. I...

      I hope I am wrong but I don’t think it will be anywhere close to 100% truthfulness. It will probably be well under 50%. The more authoritative the govt and companies become the more resistant the unvaxed become. It will be counter productive to mandate vaccines. A major concern for the unvaxed is lack of trust in the govt and they think companies are being used as proxies by the govt to mandate vaccines. I am vaccinated, but its helpful to understand folks objections.

    3. Never In Doubt

      If efforts like this get any number of the unvaccinated to act, that’s a win.

      Why must the perfect be the enemy of the good?

    4. Clemson

      Fake vaccine cards might work in some cases or in the short-term, but if mandates become popular, there are third party solutions that use data from pharmacies and other locations providing the vaccine to verify vaccination status. For example, Clear used data provided directly by Walmart to verify my vaccination status. Some states, California being one, also have a way to verify vaccine status through their records if you were vaccinated in the state. You...

      Fake vaccine cards might work in some cases or in the short-term, but if mandates become popular, there are third party solutions that use data from pharmacies and other locations providing the vaccine to verify vaccination status. For example, Clear used data provided directly by Walmart to verify my vaccination status. Some states, California being one, also have a way to verify vaccine status through their records if you were vaccinated in the state. You might see apps like that become a way to verify status. Or, states will pool data together or the CDC could collect data from the states to have a verifiable central source to draw upon.

    5. Tom

      In addition to the card I was given paperwork with each dose. I’m guessing that something other than the card will be required.

  14. Abey

    Private companies mandates is the way to go not Government mandated. Kudos to United (and others) for taking the lead and I hope all the others follow. If you refuse to get vaxxed kindly live under a rock.

    1. Tim Dunn

      Please do read about the Tuskegee Syphilis study and you might understand why people of color continue to have a massive distrust of government health care.
      It is great for companies and the government to want to want conversation about injustices that were perpetuated in the past but the Tuskegee study was AFTER the Civil Rights Act was passed and antibiotics were readily available which could have treated the disease - but were withheld,...

      Please do read about the Tuskegee Syphilis study and you might understand why people of color continue to have a massive distrust of government health care.
      It is great for companies and the government to want to want conversation about injustices that were perpetuated in the past but the Tuskegee study was AFTER the Civil Rights Act was passed and antibiotics were readily available which could have treated the disease - but were withheld, in the name of research.

      I genuinely hurt for those black Americans who now are forced to choose between their jobs and a steamrolled approach to healthcare that is completely counter to embracing diversity that United and the US government says is their goal.

    2. Never In Doubt

      Do you similarly “hurt for those black Americans” who have to vaccinate their children before attending public school?

      Your well of (fake) empathy is deep.

    3. Tim Dunn

      Of course I do
      Like United, You support steamrolled healthcare while feigning concern for what they have faced

      I guarantee you that workplace vaccine mandates will harm POC more than whites

    4. Clemson

      What does Tuskegee have to do with the vaccine? That study was obviously abusive and wrong, but specifically targeted black people. The vaccine is being offered for free to everyone and everyone is being encouraged to take it. If you're linking Tuskegee to this vaccine, you seem to be implying that there's some legitimate basis for people to fear that the vaccine has some nefarious or conspiratorial bent by the government against what, the entire...

      What does Tuskegee have to do with the vaccine? That study was obviously abusive and wrong, but specifically targeted black people. The vaccine is being offered for free to everyone and everyone is being encouraged to take it. If you're linking Tuskegee to this vaccine, you seem to be implying that there's some legitimate basis for people to fear that the vaccine has some nefarious or conspiratorial bent by the government against what, the entire population? Or you're implying that somehow the vaccine is being pushed upon certain groups only, which is not the case as everyone is being encouraged to get it. Most if not all of the people encouraging people to take the vaccine have gotten it themselves.

    5. Never In Doubt

      Given that school vaccine mandates have been around a very long time, your (fake) empathy has been getting quite a workout! I can see why it’s so well developed.

    6. Tim Dunn

      We are talking about United employees, not school students.
      How about you tell us how many medical decisions United employees have had to share with their employer and how many employees have been released because they chose not to comply with any health care directive from the company for ACTIVE employees?
      You do realize that flu is deadly and not only did United and other companies not require vaccination - one has existed...

      We are talking about United employees, not school students.
      How about you tell us how many medical decisions United employees have had to share with their employer and how many employees have been released because they chose not to comply with any health care directive from the company for ACTIVE employees?
      You do realize that flu is deadly and not only did United and other companies not require vaccination - one has existed for years- but so has been the case for other diseases.
      When does United tell you that you can't smoke any more - even on your own time, you can't have sex with whoever you want and however you want, and you must share your personal health decisions with us as your employer?
      btw, there are people protesting in Europe against the notion of having to show proof of vaccination just to enter a restaurant.

    7. Never In Doubt

      I get it!

      You don’t think anyone should have to take the vaccine!

      Lead with that next time instead of going with fake empathy for black Americans.

      You’ll still sound like an idiot, but not an insincere idiot.

    8. Tim Dunn

      I do think people should be free to make their own personal health care choices and not be coerced by their employer or the government.
      The reason why I raise the Tuskegee study is because it is a significant issue for some black Americans - and data shows that the percentage of vaccinated people is lower among black and brown communities than the population as a whole.
      United has probably achieved what is...

      I do think people should be free to make their own personal health care choices and not be coerced by their employer or the government.
      The reason why I raise the Tuskegee study is because it is a significant issue for some black Americans - and data shows that the percentage of vaccinated people is lower among black and brown communities than the population as a whole.
      United has probably achieved what is supposed to be herd immunity in most work groups anyway. Most people will do what makes sense medically so why push the last percentage and create division when it probably won't make a difference medically and certainly won't lead to a United flight being identified as a "superspreader" event or location.
      Those that brush off the genuine concerns that some people have and push mandates will face the wrath of those very same groups that they say they are trying to embrace.

    9. Jim Baround

      No not United, but I believe Alaska Airlines does not hire smokers and tests new job candidates for nicotine use. So yes, there are airlines that have requirements around smoking.

    10. Tim Dunn

      and there is a difference between requirements for new hire employees vs. requiring existing employees to take health action or lose their job and to provide medical information to their employer. There are very few companies that are doing anything like what is proposed and United is crossing a line in the airline industry that will object to what they are doing.
      Vaccines have been readily available in the US, UA provided large incentives...

      and there is a difference between requirements for new hire employees vs. requiring existing employees to take health action or lose their job and to provide medical information to their employer. There are very few companies that are doing anything like what is proposed and United is crossing a line in the airline industry that will object to what they are doing.
      Vaccines have been readily available in the US, UA provided large incentives to get vaccinated, and there are still people that have not done so - a minority but still people whose decision has been thought out.
      It doesn't really matter what company or government crosses the threshold but there will be people that push back - and it is important to know why.
      When data says that blacks and browns are least vaccinated and yet UA has been pushing diversity, seeking diversity and their vaccine mandates will be seen by some employees to be in conflict.

      Others and UA themselves may see it differently - and there employees will make it clear whether they wish to resist, get vaccinated, fake documents, seek exemptions, or fight it legally.

  15. JRG

    Great to see. Same with restaurants, etc. Make it safer for the rest of us, at least.

    Yeah, wait (not too long) until the FDA says the vaccines are approved, then what will be the response by the anti-vaxxers.

  16. Tim Dunn

    10% of United's pilots are unvaccinated according to their union. Does this turn into United's operational disaster?

    1. Never In Doubt

      I’d guess no. This isn’t taking effect until well after the summer, and Fall business demand probably isn’t nearly back to “normal”.

      Also, I’d guess a decent portion of that 10% will choose to get vaccinated instead of walk away.

  17. Roger

    Will Scott be writing letters to people who suffer adverse reactions from the vaccine?

  18. Dan

    You can’t be a global airline and have a huge workforce be unvaccinated when most countries will require proof of vaccination to enter. You think Spirit meltdown was bad? Imagine all the international coming back but only having half your flight crew vaccinated - they’d have to cancel flights left and right because if one crew member calls out sick or there needs to be a redrew they wouldn’t be able to find enough people....

    You can’t be a global airline and have a huge workforce be unvaccinated when most countries will require proof of vaccination to enter. You think Spirit meltdown was bad? Imagine all the international coming back but only having half your flight crew vaccinated - they’d have to cancel flights left and right because if one crew member calls out sick or there needs to be a redrew they wouldn’t be able to find enough people. Kudos, United. AA won’t do it yet because they are already so short staffed that can’t afford to fire anybody at the moment.

  19. Justin

    Good. If the anti-vax crowd won’t do something simple, painless and free for the safety and health of their friends and neighbors, it’s fully appropriate that they not be able to fully participate in society.

    If you refuse vaccination, you’ve made your bed. Now lie in it.

  20. Tim Dunn

    Let's be honest that the largest groups of people that are vaccine hesitant are minorities and esp. blacks who have legitimate reasons to fear government mandated health decisions (and the U.S. government is still paying for all vaccines regardless of whether a company requires them or not). There is good reason why Boston's mayor called mandatory vaccination and documentation akin to slave documentation.
    Unlike big tech companies that will give employees the option to...

    Let's be honest that the largest groups of people that are vaccine hesitant are minorities and esp. blacks who have legitimate reasons to fear government mandated health decisions (and the U.S. government is still paying for all vaccines regardless of whether a company requires them or not). There is good reason why Boston's mayor called mandatory vaccination and documentation akin to slave documentation.
    Unlike big tech companies that will give employees the option to work at home if they are not vaccinated, airlines require that most employees work in-person.
    United will provide a great case study for whether United is really interested in their current and future minority employees or about bending to the federal government that has shoveled tens of billions of dollars into the airline industry and has prevented a widespread collapse of the industry - and protection for airline shareholders and executive interests. It's hard to view this issue solely on the basis of health concerns given the huge amount of money involved.

    1. UA-NYC

      Yeah no, it's really the T****-worshipping far right that is the largest holdout to vaccination, because Tucker C casts doubt on the vaccines nightly (even though everyone knows he got the jab himself).

  21. David

    As a United 1K member, I don't agree with their mandate.

    1. UA-NYC

      As a 14-year and counting 1K, I fully endorse it.

      Spirit is out there as an alternative.

  22. Santastico

    Lucky: maybe you should share why Delta’s CEO said he wouldn’t mandate vaccine for his employees. As we all know, the US is the land of lawsuit and liability and Bastian said the following on his interview to CNBC: “It’s very difficult for us to come in and mandate a vaccine that isn’t even federally approved yet, the authorization hasn’t been final yet, so stay tuned,” It is a very slippery slope to mandate something...

    Lucky: maybe you should share why Delta’s CEO said he wouldn’t mandate vaccine for his employees. As we all know, the US is the land of lawsuit and liability and Bastian said the following on his interview to CNBC: “It’s very difficult for us to come in and mandate a vaccine that isn’t even federally approved yet, the authorization hasn’t been final yet, so stay tuned,” It is a very slippery slope to mandate something your own Government hasn’t approved yet. BTW, I am fully vaccinated but for a large corporation to say to employees you either take a vaccine that is not fully approved or you are terminated is a big deal. There will be tons of lawyers camping outside UA’s HQ in Chicago to assist any employee that was terminated for not taking the vaccine. I am getting my popcorn to watch.

    1. Never In Doubt

      That was 3 days ago. If American makes the same announcement as United, Delta follow on. The big airlines are so predictable.

    2. Never In Doubt

      Delta *will* follow on. Aargh.

    3. Santastico

      It doesn’t matter. The science hasn’t changed. This vaccine is not scientifically approved. Period. You can hear the Neanderthal in DC say he follows science but all he follows is politics. We all know this vaccine hasn’t been scientifically approved and we are all (including me) taking a risk because we don’t know the effects of these in the future. Thus, for a large corporation to mandate their employees to get this vaccine, they better...

      It doesn’t matter. The science hasn’t changed. This vaccine is not scientifically approved. Period. You can hear the Neanderthal in DC say he follows science but all he follows is politics. We all know this vaccine hasn’t been scientifically approved and we are all (including me) taking a risk because we don’t know the effects of these in the future. Thus, for a large corporation to mandate their employees to get this vaccine, they better have a large crew of lawyers lined up.

    4. Jim Baround

      It will be approved by the FDA in the coming weeks. What law is UA breaking that will have "lawyers lined up?"

    5. Santastico

      Great. Then mandate after it is fully approved and they have their ass covered.

    6. Never In Doubt

      “ We all know this vaccine hasn’t been scientifically approved”

      Straw man argument of the anti-vaxxers.

      Full approval is coming.

      Will that change your tune? Something tells me the answer is no.

    7. Santastico

      I am fully vaccinated you idiot. Search the web and see how many calls lawyers are getting everyday. If the vaccine will be fully approved within weeks than wait until there and save shareholder money that will be spent with lawy.

    8. Frank B

      What the WTF is HIPPA? Explain it as you might to a small child or in my case a Supreme Court admitted attorney? Because the law passed by Congress and signed by President Obama was HIPAA, and it doesn't cover anyone except medical professionals and insurance companies. And if you are getting your medical care from United Airlines, you have more problems than a vaccination.

    9. Never In Doubt

      Ah, so your concern is just for the potential United legal expenses?

      I’m sure they appreciate it.

    10. EC2

      Full approval is not coming. They’d have to release all known side effects and that is not exactly what Biden wants is he wants to really push to get more vaccinated. The longer it’s under an Emergency Authorization Use authority the longer they have keep side effects from being published.

    11. Never In Doubt

      EC2, new tinfoil hat today?

      Looking good!

    12. UA-NYC

      Really, piss off to Parler with this OAN/Newsmax/Tucker C nonsense.

      Big slow clap for United here (along with the dozens of other F500/100 companies mandating vaccines as well, with many more to come).

    13. Ole

      Hey Santastico, a free advice to help you in your life - Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubts

  23. Charlie

    @ Carter
    So we should be glad to have the privilege to work or go to a restaurant based on what the government or your employer mandates we do?? What planet are you from?

    1. Never In Doubt

      If you don’t think the privilege to work should be based on what an employer mandates, you’re very confused about the employer/employee relationship.

    2. Carter

      Of course. You don't have a right to work for a specific employer. They have no obligation to keep you there. And what do you call something that you are granted, but which you are not entitled to? A privilege

  24. Ken Kerschbaumer

    As a United 1K member this is great.

  25. Carter

    Great! Hopefully more companies go this route. No one is forced to get a vaccine, but it doesn't mean you get any and all privileges you want if you make that choice

    1. david

      Moot point. According to president potato head this morning, 350 million Americans have already been vaccinated.

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Never In Doubt

EC2, new tinfoil hat today? Looking good!

Frank B

What the WTF is HIPPA? Explain it as you might to a small child or in my case a Supreme Court admitted attorney? Because the law passed by Congress and signed by President Obama was HIPAA, and it doesn't cover anyone except medical professionals and insurance companies. And if you are getting your medical care from United Airlines, you have more problems than a vaccination.

Justin

Good. If the anti-vax crowd won’t do something simple, painless and free for the safety and health of their friends and neighbors, it’s fully appropriate that they not be able to fully participate in society. If you refuse vaccination, you’ve made your bed. Now lie in it.

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