Some British Airways cabin crew are refusing to share their vaccination status with the airline over fears they will be sent to Hong Kong where they have to face solitary hotel room confinement and could even be detained in the prison-like Penny’s Bay quarantine camp.
British Airways has not issued an employee vaccination mandate but has requested that pilots and cabin crew share their COVID-19 vaccination status because some destinations place restrictions on unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated aircrew.
The airline has recently implored cabin crew to share their vaccination status because the growing list of countries imposing vaccine entry requirements is starting to cause scheduling problems. With the emergence of the Omicron variant, even more countries are expected to tighten vaccine requirements in the coming days.
Some cabin crew are, however, still refusing to share their vaccination status because it could mean being sent to Hong Kong. Only fully vaccinated aircrew are permitted to operate flights to Hong Kong but must still spend their time in Coronavirus isolation.
On Saturday, yet another group of pilots and cabin crew were imprisoned in a government-run quarantine camp in Hong Kong after one crew member tested positive for COVID-19 during routine post-arrival departure. The crew member was asymptomatic.
The detained crew members were sent to Penny’s Bay just a day after another group of BA cabin crew and pilots were released from the camp.
Airlines including Emirates and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines operate flights to Hong Kong via a crew change in Bangkok to avoid running the risk of crew being put into quarantine. A group of Finnair crew were, however, was sentenced to a 21-day quarantine order after arriving in Hong Kong on Sunday.
British Airways has temporarily axed flights to Hong Kong because of the risk of crew being detained but the airline is planning to restart direct flights as soon as possible.
United Airlines became the first U.S.-based airline to issue an employee vaccination mandate and has achieved a vaccination rate of more than 99 per cent amongst eligible employees.
A slew of other airlines have also issued vaccination mandates or only use fully vaccinated crew on flights. Etihad Airways became the first airline in the world only to roster vaccinated crew members on all flights.
Local laws make a vaccination mandate more difficult for British Airways but the airline has not yet taken a public stance on vaccination and has not offered employees any form of incentive to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.