Alaska Airlines And JetBlue Add Employee Vaccination Mandates


Carriers are increasingly mandating that staff members be vaccinated amid the coronavirus pandemic. Yesterday, we reported that American Airlines announced that its employees would need to be vaccinated to work for the Texan outfit. In addition, Alaska Airlines and JetBlue have the same requirements.

JetBlue is joining a host of other airlines updating their policies. Photo: JetBlue

Federal conditions

The vaccine mandates come on the back of a recent government announcement, requiring federal contractors to ensure that all their employees are vaccinated. Unless exempt, these workers will need to be vaccinated by December 8th. As government contractors, these airlines are subject to the new requirements.

Long-haul travel is continuing to open up. Additionally, overseas markets are starting to ease conditions, a factor that is being matched by recent announcements of the US soon allowing travel for vaccinated passengers from previously restricted regions. Therefore, the official updates are running alongside the natural industry shifts.

Alaska Airbus A321neo
Airlines are subject to several national and international factors. Photo: Getty Images

Wider developments

Notably, following the success of JetBlue’s launch to London Heathrow, the carrier would be keen to maintain safe and smooth operations. The New York-based airline impressively expanded to London Gatwick this week.

“With a 500% increase in JetBlue’s U.K. bookings following news of easing U.S. entry requirements for international travelers, it’s clear there is significant pent up demand for travel between our two countries and that our Gatwick launch is well timed to meet the growing number of customers returning to the skies,” shared Joanna Geraghty, president and chief operating officer, JetBlue in a statement this week.

“JetBlue’s new service at Gatwick – complemented by our recently launched flights at Heathrow – introduces an all-new choice for London travelers who won’t have to choose between an attractive fare and great service as they reunite with family, friends and colleagues on either side of the Atlantic.”

Crew members have to adhere to the numerous new factors across different countries. Overall, the international nature of the aviation industry meant that airlines were naturally encouraging vaccinations. The government announcement has now catalyzed the approach.

JetBlue Airbus A321LR
JetBlue is making progress in the long-haul sector. Photo: Sumit Singh | Simple Flying

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Ever-changing conditions

During the summer, American Airlines shared that it was not planning to mandate vaccinations for its employees. The airline expressed this as its counterparts, United Airlines and Frontier Airlines, announced that they would both make them mandatory. However, after the Biden administration’s executive order to mandate jabs for federal contractor employees, airlines such as this have had to change their stance.

There will undoubtedly be some pushback against the new requirements. While fewer than ten employees had quit United Airlines over its vaccine mandate, nearly 600 employees of the Chicago-based carrier are now at risk of losing their job. These issues are likely to transfer over to the other airlines.

Simple Flying reached out to Alaska Airlines and JetBlue for comments on the new requirements. We will update the article with any further announcements from the carriers.

What are your thoughts about US airlines increasingly mandating vaccinations? What do you make of the changing requirements of the industry? Let us know what you think of the overall situation in the comment section.