United Airlines (UAL) - Get United Airlines Holdings, Inc. Report made headlines last week when it became the first major airline to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for its employees.
The airline told its employees to get vaccinated by October 25 or risk job losses.
“We know some of you will disagree with this decision to require the vaccine for all United employees,” United executives said. But “the facts are crystal clear: everyone is safer when everyone is vaccinated.”
United made this move as the delta variant has caused a spike in COVID-19 infections in the U.S., averaging 100,000 new cases daily, according to CDC data.
Despite the recent surge in COVID infections, major airlines like American Airlines (AAL) - Get American Airlines Group, Inc. Report, Delta Airlines (DAL,) - Get Delta Air Lines, Inc. Report and Southwest Airlines (LUV) - Get Southwest Airlines Co. Report are still reluctant to put up a 'vaccine mandate' for their employees.
CNN reported that Southwest Airlines will “encourage vaccination,” but does not mandate it for its employees.
"Obviously, I am very concerned about the latest Delta variant, and the effect on the health and safety of our employees and our operation, but nothing has changed," Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly said, in an internal memo obtained by CNN.