Delta, United hail CDC guidance that vaccinated people can safely travel

Delta, United hail CDC guidance that vaccinated people can safely travel
© Greg Nash

Delta Air Lines and United Airlines are welcoming new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that says fully vaccinated people can safely travel.

“More customers than ever during the pandemic are showing us they’re ready to get back out and reconnect with the world—and we’re ready to help them reclaim their lives safely,” a Delta spokeswoman told The Hill on Friday.

Airlines have struggled throughout the pandemic due to the lack of travel. They have required customers to wear masks and will continue to do so based on the CDC's guidance.


Delta is the last airline to end the practice of social distancing on airplanes and open up middle seats, which they plan to do on May 1.

“Today’s updated guidance from the CDC reinforces the importance of vaccinations and is a positive step in the right direction to safely resuming global travel,” a United spokesman told The Hill.

United will soon allow customers to upload and store their vaccination records on a digital travel platform on the United website and the United app. On that platform, customers can view country-specific entry requirements, schedule a COVID-19 test, and upload documentation needed to visit domestic and international destinations.

The CDC said fully vaccinated people do not need to get tested before or after domestic travel unless the destination requires it. It also said people should get tested three to five days after international travel.

Unvaccinated people are still advised not to travel.

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA International President Sara Nelson said they are “thrilled” with the CDC announcement. The union represents 50,000 flight attendants at 17 airlines.

“We need to make sure Flight Attendants and other transportation workers have priority access to the vaccine. We must work to vaccinate the rest of the world too. We know what to do to end the pandemic and CDC’s announcement puts a fine point on that. If we are diligent with masks and vaccinations we can all be safe and gain the freedom of flight. Get vaxxed, wear a mask, and come fly with us!” Nelson said. 

Travel industry groups also were encouraged by the announcement. Airlines for America, which represents major U.S. airlines, said they “welcome” the updated travel guidance and the U.S. Travel Association said the guidance is a “major step in the right direction.”