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Blade becomes first aviation company to require passengers to be fully vaccinated

Aug. 12, 2021
3 min read
BLADE One helicopter
Blade becomes first aviation company to require passengers to be fully vaccinated
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Not vaccinated? Don't expect to fly — at least not on Blade.

Starting Sept. 7, 2021, the company will require passengers to be fully vaccinated on all services, including helicopter, seaplane and jet. It's the first aviation company to implement vaccination requirements for U.S. passengers.

Blade founder and CEO Rob Wiesenthal told TPG that "passengers want the security of knowing their fellow fliers are vaccinated."

While it's a safety measure on the surface, Wiesenthal suggested it's a business play, too. "We believe it will ultimately increase our passenger volume,” he said.

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Airlines have taken a different approach. United and Frontier announced vaccination requirements for employees last week, though there is no such requirement for passengers on any big U.S. carrier.

United led the way, requiring all of its U.S. staff to receive a COVID-19 vaccination five weeks after the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fully approves one of the vaccines, or five weeks after Sept. 20, whichever comes first. Soon after United's announcement, Frontier Airlines also stated that its employees must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 1, 2021.

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

Wiesenthal says he believes he knows why the major commercial carriers aren't taking a stronger stance on vaccines.

“It’s not happening on commercial airlines because it is too difficult to scale on 300 or even 150 passenger jets. With our helicopter, amphibious seaplane, and jet services, we have enough highly trained ground staff to manage this process as we only have 6-16 passengers per flight.”

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In an email to customers, Blade says that any passenger who wishes to fly with Blade must be fully vaccinated at the time of their flight, excluding those under the age of 12 or subject to a medical exemption. In addition, the vaccination must have occurred at least two weeks prior to the flight date.

If you show up to a flight without proof of vaccination, you aren't entitled to a refund.

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

Related: Delta won’t hire you unless you’ve been vaccinated, CEO says

Blade is perhaps best known for its regularly scheduled, by-the-seat helicopter service between Manhattan and New York City-area airports. In June, Blade restarted this service after a year-long hiatus due to the pandemic.

Currently, the company offers Manhattan to New York’s JFK Airport with Newark (EWR) LaGuardia (LGA) airport service resumption starting this fall.

Flights can be booked directly through Blade or Kayak at a cost of $195 per seat each way. However, through Sept. 5, 2021, you can book two seats on the helicopter for the price of one. Just use the coupon code PLUSONE at checkout.

Featured image by (Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
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Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
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  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023