When Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce announced a ‘no jab, no fly’ policy late last year it seemed like only a matter of time until other airlines introduced similar rules and effectively banned the unvaccinated from air travel.
It’s been more than a year since Joyce’s announcement and surprisingly few airlines have come even close to introducing passenger vaccine mandates.
One of the biggest arguments against vaccine mandates for air travel is vaccine access equity or rather the lack thereof. While more and more countries are forging ahead with vaccine booster programmes, there are still many others struggling to get hold of enough jabs to vaccinate their elderly and vulnerable populations.
Until vaccine supply issues have been well and truly dealt with, many airlines won’t even consider passenger vaccine mandates. Even then, there are plenty of moral issues to consider, let alone the fact that airlines don’t want to limit potential ticket sales just to the vaccinated.
For the time being, at least, only a handful of airlines have made vaccination or similar a requirement for travel…
Passenger vaccination requirements apply across all Canadian airlines including Air Transat, Swoop and Westjet after national laws came into effect at the end of October.
The vaccination rules apply to all passengers aged 12 years and older. A short grace period that allowed the unvaccinated or partially vaccinated to travel if they presented a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of travel is due to end on Nocember 30.
Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand will require all passengers on international services to be fully vaccinated beginning February 1, 2022. Chief executive Greg Foran described passenger vaccine mandates as “the new reality” and downplayed the fact that the policy might restrict travel access because many destinations that Kiwis want to visit already have vaccination entry rules in place.
From December 14, the airline will also require all passengers on domestic services to either be fully vaccinated or have proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72-hours of departure.
The rules will apply to all passengers aged 12 years and 3 months or older.
Qantas was famously the first airline to issue a passenger vaccination mandate and it currently applies to nearly all passengers on international flights to or from Australia.
Some exemptions do apply for people with a medical reason that prevents them from having the vaccine, as well as children aged under 12 years old. Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children aged between 12 and 17 can still travel to Australia if they are with their fully vaccinated parents or a guardian.
Domestically, Qantas doesn’t have its own vaccination mandate in force but individual states may require passengers either to be fully vaccinated or to have had a recent pre-departure test.
Lufthansa doesn’t have a full passenger vaccination mandate in force but it is now a lot harder to travel with any Germany airline if you are not vaccinated. A new law approved by the federal German government were passed last week that require all passengers aged 12 and over to comply with ‘3G’ pandemic rules.
In German, 3G stands for geimpft, genesen, oder getestet which translates as vaccinated, recovered or tested.
Passengers must either prove they are fully vaccinated or have taken a recent negative COVID-19 test or are recently recovered from the virus.
As part of Singapore’s reopening strategy, the country has opened a number of quarantine-free ‘vaccinated travel lanes’ with other countries. In order to skip quarantine, travellers must fly on specially designated VTL flights where all passengers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The same exception for children aged under 12-years old applies on Singapore Air’s VTL flights. The same rules also apply to other airlines operating designated VTL flights to Singapore.
Know of any other airlines with mandatory vaccination requirements. Let us know in the comments below…
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.