U.S. airlines are increasingly divided over whether to require their flight attendants, pilots and other employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
United Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines this month said their U.S. employees, numbering some 73,000 people, must get vaccinated against the virus. Alaska Airlines said it’s contemplating similar requirements for its some 20,000 employees if the Food and Drug Administration gives one of the vaccines full approval, a step that is expected to take place next month.
Carriers including Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and JetBlue Airways, on the other hand, have repeatedly said they are encouraging, but aren’t mandating that staff are vaccinated. Delta Air Lines does require new hires to be vaccinated, however.
Labor unions for pilots at those airlines say vaccines should remain voluntary for their members. After announcements from United and Hawaiian, unions at airlines that aren’t mandating vaccines said pilots reached out with concern about what would happen if their carriers followed suit.