Fact Check: Are flight crews walking off in America refusing vaccines?

Quick Take

A number of social media posts claim that flight crews including pilots are walking off scheduled flights in order to protest against mandatory vaccinations. This is leading to huge cancellations of flights. We fact-checked and found that the claim is false.

The claim

Multiple social media users are claiming that airlines staff are walking off from their duties in order to protest against the vaccination policies of their employers. This, the users claimed, is leading to mass cancellations of flights.

Such posts can be seen here, here, and here. A snapshot is given below.

Fact Check

Are vaccines mandatory for flight staffs for all American Airlines?

Not all. But many major airlines are framing their vaccine policy for their employees which requires mandatory vaccinations.

So far most major airlines have only encouraged their staff for vaccination but not made it mandatory. Gradually, they are now rolling out vaccination policies. United Airlines released its vaccination policy on August 6 which made it mandatory for all employees to get vaccinated and upload a copy of the vaccination card as proof. Frontier Airlines have asked their employees to get vaccinated or take regular Covid tests. Hawaiian Airlines have mandated that all employees should remain their final shot by Nov 1. Delta Airlines have mandated vaccination for all new hires.

Are American flight staff walking off to protest against mandatory vaccinations?

So far, there is no news of any protest or boycott among any airlines staff against their employer’s vaccination policy. There is no proof of any of the airlines’ staff walking off from their duty refusing vaccination.

The social media posts regarding this matter do not present reference to any particular day of any such event. We also could not find any direct social media posts by any employee.

US news website POLITIFACT has talked to multiple airlines representatives who confirmed there is no walk-off staged by employees in recent days.

Are flights running smoothly in the United States?

No. Flights in the US have been disrupted in the last few weeks. But this has nothing to do with any vaccination policy by any of the airlines.

Spirit Airlines, South West Airlines, American Airlines have reportedly cancelled 1000s of flights over the last few weeks. The reported reasons for the same were multiple operational issues (lack of staff, systems failures), and bad weather.

No airlines or media house has reported of employees walking off to protest against vaccination.

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