United will compel all staff in the United States to get immunized, a first for the country’s main airlines.
United Airlines will require its 67,000 U.S. employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19 by Oct. 25 or face termination, a first for big U.S. carriers that will likely increase pressure on competitors.
Airlines such as United had opposed requiring vaccines for all employees, instead offering incentives such as extra money or time off to be vaccinated. Delta Air Lines began asking newly hired employees to provide proof of immunization in May. In June, United followed likewise.
United’s demand is one of the strongest vaccine mandates imposed by a U.S. firm, and it includes staff who interact with customers on a daily basis, such as flight attendants and gate agents.
Employees at United Airlines must upload proof that they had two doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or one dose of Johnson & Johnson’s single dose five weeks after federal officials give them full approval, or by Oct. 25, whichever comes first, according to management. Exceptions will be given for specific health conditions or religious grounds, according to United.
According to business executives, many United personnel have already reported being vaccinated, including more than 90% of pilots and 80% of flight attendants. The company’s overall immunization rate was not disclosed by United.