Delta Air Lines Increasing Health Insurance Premiums by $200 Monthly For Unvaccinated Staff

Delta Air Lines Airbus A350-900 aircraft as seen on final approach landing at Amsterdam Schiphol AMS EHAM airport in the Netherlands. The Delta Airlines modern and advanced wide-body airplane has the registration N512DN and is powered by 2x RR jet engines. Delta DL DAL is ranked the second-largest airline in the world with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia US and is a member of SkyTeam airline aviation alliance. Delta is connecting with transatlantic flights the United States of America with the Netherlands and Europe during the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic era. July 2, 2020 (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

In a unique and bold move, effective November 1, Delta Air Lines employees who choose to remain unvaccinated against the COVID-19 virus will be assessed an additional $200 monthly for their health insurance premium. Rather than specifically mandating vaccination, the Atlanta-based carrier is telling those who refuse to be innoculated that they will be paying for the increased costs the airline incurs to cover pandemic hospitalizations.

In addition to the higher insurance premium, starting September 12, unvaccinated Delta employees will be required to take a weekly COVID-19 test and wear a mask indoors while at work. Thus far, United Airlines, Hawaiian Air and Air Canada are the only North American airlines to mandate vaccinations for all workers, with an exception allowed for those who may be immuno-compromised and have not been vaccinated at the direction of a physician. Frontier Airlines requires vaccination or a weekly test for the virus, and Alaska Airlines is expected to mandate the vaccine shortly.

With the removal of the “emergency” status for the Pfizer vaccine this week, and the anticipated removal of the status for other vaccines coming very soon, more and more companies are mandating vaccinations not only for their staff, but often for visitors to their offices. Since Delta self-insures their employees, it is estimated that it costs $50,000 per person for a COVID-19 hospital stay.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world’s buiest, and Delta’s largest hub.

Delta’s CEO Ed Bastian said in a statement, “This surcharge will be necessary to address the financial risk the decision to not vaccinate is creating for our company……, In recent weeks…all Delta employees who have been hospitalized with COVID were not fully vaccinated.”

Furthermore, Delta is stipulating that “COVID pay protection will only be provided to fully vaccinated individuals who are experiencing a breakthrough infection.” Other employees who miss work due to COVID will have to use their accrued sick days for time off.

The airline estimates that 75% of its 75,000 employees are already fully vaccinated, but it has asserted its goal is to get as close as possible to 100% vaccination, as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the largest airlines including Delta, United and American, sub-contract hundreds of daily flights to other companies to operate, so those employees are not covered under any mandates that may be issued. Hopefully, companies including Sky West, Republic Airways, Envoy, GoJet and Endeavor will quickly follow suit.

Also to be considered by travelers is the fact that Delta’s 12,000 pilots are exempt from the $200 surcharge as their union-supported health care plan already requires higher premiums. The pilot’s union believes that vaccinations should be a personal decision by each cockpit crew member.

What do you think? How do you feel about flying on an aircraft where some of the employees aren’t vaccinated? Should all passengers be required to submit proof of vaccination in order to travel?

Published by iFlyMSP

After a 35-year travel industry career, the time has come to kick back and relax. Well, not exactly, but it is time to travel without a business schedule dictating where and when. Over the years I've traveled extensively by air for work, both domestically and internationally. I've been to some incredibly exciting and beautiful destinations, and some others, not so much. So now it's my turn (and hopefully yours), to explore the world at a more leisurely pace. Whether you want to discover the U.S. or another continent, the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport is a great starting point. And that's what this blog is all about. I'm not here to assist the rich and famous in figuring out how to best earn and utilize their millions of airline miles and hotel points. Instead, my focus will be on the average Joe and Josephine. Hard-working people (like you!) who have saved up over time for their once or twice a year escape from reality. So if you're contemplating a getaway from MSP or the Upper Midwest via the Twin Cities, you've come to the right place. Happy trails!

One thought on “Delta Air Lines Increasing Health Insurance Premiums by $200 Monthly For Unvaccinated Staff

  1. If I have to be on a plane with unvaccinated airline workers, I think the pilots being unvaccinated is the least worrisome since they’re shut off in the cockpit. Hopefully the unvaccinated ones will forego the usual standing at the front of the plane as passengers disembark to say farewell. I don’t want him/her to breathe on me.

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