Want to take a vacation next year? Prepare to roll up your sleeve.
Yesterday, the top executive at Australia’s largest airline said proof of getting the Covid-19 vaccination will be “a necessity” for boarding international flights in the future.
“I think that’s going to be a common thing talking to my colleagues in other airlines around the globe,” said Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas, in an interview with Australia’s Nine Network.
Joyce said Qantas will change its terms and conditions. “We will ask people to have a vaccination before they can get on the aircraft,” he said. “For international visitors coming out and people leaving the country, we think that’s a necessity.”
The heads of major U.S. airlines will almost certainly reach the same conclusion.
On a call with investors back in April, Ed Bastien, the CEO of Delta Air Lines, said he would “make whatever changes to the business model that will be necessary,” including adopting so-called immunity passports if required by the U.S. government.
At the time, Bastian said that if an immunity passport helps other passengers feel more at ease with their fellow passengers, so be it. “It’s going to be confidence in their safety, their personal safety, not just their physical safety,” he said.
The majority of Americans strongly support a “no proof of immunity, no ticket” policy after Covid-19 vaccinations are widely available to the public.
Two out of three Americans (66%) say that, once vaccinations are rolled out, airline passengers should be required to show proof of vaccination in order to fly, according to the latest Harris Poll Covid-19 tracking survey.
A hefty 62% of respondents say it should be a federal mandate, while the same percentage (62%) say they would support individual airlines making the requirement.
Until there is widespread distribution of a vaccine, a whopping 82% of Americans believe airlines should keep the middle seat open, per the survey.
Among U.S. carriers, only Delta Air Lines will block the middle seat through March 2021. While most airlines adopted this practice earlier in the pandemic, one by one the country’s two other legacy carriers, American and United, as well as low cost carriers like Frontier, JetBlue and Southwest, has relaxed its policy.
Meanwhile, the CDC issued new guidance over the weekend for Americans traveling out of the country. The agency now recommends getting a viral test for Covid-19 at three different times — before, during and after your trip. “Getting tested in combination with staying home significantly reduces travelers’ risk of spreading Covid-19,” according to the guidance.
Still, with multiple vaccines on the way, it’s become increasingly clear that American many would-be travelers are simply playing the waiting game. According to the Harris Poll, just over two thirds of respondents (68%) say a Covid-19 vaccine will determine when they travel again.
“We’re all hoping that a Covid-19 vaccine will be a game-changer for society, but our data certainly shows it may be just that for the air travel industry,” says John Gerzema, CEO of the Harris Poll. “What the traveling public seeks is certainty and nearly seven in 10 say a vaccine will have a major impact on when they travel again.”