Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has introduced a bill, The U.S. Travel Public Safety Act, that would require travelers on domestic flights in the U.S. to be vaccinated for COVID-19, test negative, or have had a previous infection.
If passed, it would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to consult with the Federal Aviation Administration to develop national vaccination standards and procedures related to COVID-19 and domestic air travel.
Feinstein said on twitter, “We can’t allow upcoming holiday air travel to contribute to another surge in COVID cases. Today, I introduced legislation requiring passengers on domestic flights to be vaccinated, test negative or be fully recovered from a previous COVID illness.”
The bill would allow air passengers who don’t have proof of vaccination or a negative test to provide “written or electronic documentation of recovery from COVID-10 after previous SARS-CoV-2 infection.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s White House coronavirus adviser said in September he “would support that if you want to get on a plane and travel with other people that you should be vaccinated.”
United Airlines announced it is firing about 600 employees who chose not to comply with the company’s vaccine requirement, while Frontier Airlines has announced similar policy requiring employees to be vaccinated or provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Frontier’s deadline for vaccination was October 1.
Most airlines have expressed opposition to a vaccine mandate, with the issue of the logistics of enforcement required.
American Airlines CEO Doug Parker told the New York Times in August, “Requiring vaccinations to travel and not requiring vaccinations to do anything else around the country isn’t something we’re looking to do.” He also emphasized “It would be physically possible to do without enormous delays in the airline system.”
Talking along the same lines, Delta Airlines CEO Ed Bastian also has argued, “The logistical challenge of getting vaccination paperwork and understanding exemptions, would cause a massive crimp on the operations.”