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United Airlines will require all of its employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19

Aug. 06, 2021
3 min read
United Airlines will require all of its employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19
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United Airlines will require all of its U.S. employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, the airline announced Friday Aug. 6, 2021.

In May, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said that the airline would require all new hires to be vaccinated, but stopped short of requiring it for current employees. United followed several weeks later with a similar requirement. American Airlines, meanwhile, has not implemented a similar requirement.

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United's latest policy, which was announced to employees through a memo from airline CEO Scott Kirby and president Brett Hart, goes a step further and requires all current employees to be vaccinated, specified as having received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or one dose of the Johnson and Johnson one.

Employees who do not receive the vaccine and upload their vaccination cards to the employee intranet will be terminated. Exemptions will be available for religious and medical reasons, but documentation will be required.

Are you an airline employee or industry insider? Message this reporter with tips, feedback, or opinions at david.slotnick@thepointsguy.com.

The announcement comes after American Airlines CEO Doug Parker reiterated in recent days that his airline would not mandate vaccinations for employees, and Delta's Bastian suggested that the airline would find it difficult to mandate vaccines that only have Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) rather than full approval.

United's mandate will take effect five weeks after the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fully approves one of the vaccines, or five weeks after September 20, whichever comes first.

"However, according to media reports, the FDA is likely to announce its full approval for the vaccine early next month, so the earlier timeline is more likely," the executives wrote in the memo.

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Employees who upload their vaccine records to the company intranet before September 20 — whether they have already been vaccinated, or are in the coming weeks — will receive an additional paid day off, the memo said. Employees who "have already received union-negotiated compensation for uploading their vaccine records are not eligible."

A senior United executive said the airline had several methods to spot fraudulent vaccine cards.

United leadership will host town halls with employees in the coming weeks to discuss the requirement.

As discussion of compulsory vaccination in public and private workplaces has emerged, employers have noted the potential for lengthy litigation or other resistance, as the Washington Post reported.

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

However, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said in December that employees can legally require that existing and new employees be vaccinated, providing that exceptions are allowed on medical or religious grounds.

United is not currently planning to require passengers to provide proof of vaccination.

Featured image by Wayne Slezak
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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  • 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
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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

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  • 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
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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 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the 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