Air travel remains one of the industries hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. International travel has come to a virtual dead end with countries closing their borders, and many Americans remain extremely concerned about infections on domestic flights despite requirements for masks and other safety measures.
But what if airlines start to lean heavily on vaccines – once they are available – and testing as part of their safety programs? Can airlines legally require COVID-19 tests and vaccines to allow you to fly in the sky? It is looking this way.
A pre-flight test is already taking place
In a desperate attempt to get the international travel buzz back again, airlines have begun trial programs for Pre-flight test on some international routes.
Delta, United and American Airlines are piloting test programs. For example, passengers are on Flights from Atlanta to Rome You will be able to avoid a 14-day quarantine in Italy if they test negative 72 hours before departure, before boarding Atlanta, upon arrival in Rome, and again before departing for America.
On all US flights that test this method, passengers must participate or be assigned to a different flight.
Are mandatory vaccinations coming?
Many began speculating that once vaccines became widely available to the flying public, airlines would order them. Qantas Airlines and South Korean Airlines recently spoke about Requires proof of vaccination For international trips.
In America, Delta Airlines CEO Ed Bastian said last week that while his company had yet to decide, He envisioned vaccination becoming a requirement For international travel, “whether it is the airline that does this or some international authority that does.”
But the International Air Transport Association, a global airline trade group, argues that the broad test is more important. Issuing a global “vaccine passport” would be very difficult.
These moves may not be necessary if governments require newcomers to provide evidence of vaccination before entering the reopened countries.
Are vaccinations mandatory or testing legal?
In a word, yes.
Here in America, and most countries, airlines have a lot of leeway in deciding who can and who cannot board. Airlines cannot violate anti-discrimination laws, such as prohibiting boarding because of a passenger’s race or religion.
However, crews can prohibit almost any passenger from boarding the plane if they feel it is a danger to other passengers. This can include vaccines that are not immunized or untested, just as you cannot bring a lighter or weapon into the cabin.
With the exception of federal regulations requiring airlines to allow boarding for those who refuse to be vaccinated or to take a test, which will definitely lead to litigation, there is not much a passenger can do to circumvent the airline’s vaccination or testing requirements if someone is put in place.
And with the majority of Americans Flight preference vaccine preferenceAirlines may try to match that sentiment. (However, these airlines will likely hope for a government order so that they can avoid being the bad guy when refusing to board a plane.)
A ticket is a contract between the passenger and the airline, with all of the lengthy terms and conditions that come with it. Make sure you understand what you agree with before purchasing!