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Frontier Not Truly Requiring Vaccines For Workers, Customers

Date: August 11, 2021

By Thomas Pallini, Business Insider

  • Frontier Airlines is requiring employees to be vaccinated and running promos for vaccinated flyers.
  • But workers can opt out through testing, and customers aren't being asked to prove vaccination.  
  • The move comes as more companies are aligning themselves with pro-vaccine policies. 

Frontier Airlines is among the latest companies to incentivize vaccines for both employees and customers. 

In the past week, the ultra-low-cost carrier unveiled two promotions aimed at vaccinated flyers and instituted a vaccine mandate for employees. That would put Frontier on the leading edge of airlines that are taking active measures to get more of the country vaccinated, joining United Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines as the only other US airline with a vaccine mandate. 

The only caveat is that vaccinations aren't technically required for either the promotions or workers.

"A vaccination policy is a clear next step for the airline as it remains committed to the health and safety of all passengers and crew members," Frontier said in a statement on Friday.

Employees, however, can opt out of mandatory vaccinations by submitting to "regular" COVID-19 testing.

Frontier's policy differs from rival United Airlines' that will only allow exemptions for religious or medical reasons, and its timing has the trimmings of a publicity stunt more so than genuine public health policy.

"The majority of our employees have already been vaccinated and our hope is that this step will increase that percentage," spokesperson Zach Kramer said of the more than 5,300 Frontier workers directly employed by Frontier. 

Frontier didn't clarify which tests would be acceptable and how often tests would be allowed when asked by Insider, but did that say receiving the vaccine or undergoing testing would be a "condition of employment."

The half-hearted approach to vaccine mandates can also be found in Frontier's recent promotions. Companies have been using incentives to encourage vaccinations, including offering free products.

But the key requirement is proof of vaccination.

Frontier's "Friends With Vaccines Fly Free" allows vaccinated members of the airline's Discount Den subscription program to buy a ticket and get another free. The terms and conditions require customers to fly on certain days and within a certain time frame but it doesn't actually mandate that purchasers be vaccinated, and Frontier isn't likely asking for proof. 

Another promotion gives flyers 10,000 bonus miles under the Frontier Miles frequent flyer program for every two flights they take. This program also relies on the honor system where flyers "agree" that they are vaccinated by signing up. 

"With respect to the Friends With Vaccines Fly Free and 10K Bonus Miles offers, our goal is to highlight the importance of being vaccinated to protect each other and encourage people to get vaccinated, if they haven't already done so," Kramer added.

Frontier didn't address whether vaccination cards would be checked by airline staff for those that booked tickets under either promotion, when asked by Insider. 

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