A UK travel agency has announced it will boycott Australian airline Qantas over its ‘no vaccine, no flight’ policy, saying travelers should have freedom of choice.
Last week, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce announced that the airline would be implementing a policy prohibiting anyone who has not received the COVID-19 vaccine from using its service.
“We are considering changing our terms and conditions to say, for international travelers, that we will require people to get vaccinated before they can get on the plane,” he said.
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The policy has since been backed by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who said passengers who had not taken the vaccine before entering Australia would be subject to a two-week quarantine.
Other airlines such as Korean Air have also signaled that they will require vaccination, while the industry in general appears to be moving towards a digital “ common pass ” that will contain details of vaccination status.
However, the backlash has already started, with a UK travel agent announcing a general boycott of Qantas over its vaccination policy.
Tradewinds Travel published a statement on its website claiming that “bodily autonomy in medical intervention is a personal choice and not something to be imposed on people by companies”.
“We are not anti-vaccination but we are pro-choice. There is a huge difference between coercion and free choice, ”the statement read.
The company also noted how Qantas “codeshare flights with Emirates” to the Far East and Emirates did not announce it would follow the same policy, which raised the question, “We are let’s ask if this was discussed with Emirates prior to the announcement by Qantas? “
“Never before in the history of aviation has there been an injection requirement before boarding an aircraft,” the statement added. “If Australia as a nation makes the decision not to allow entry of people without vaccination, then it is within their rights, and people can make an informed choice about whether they wish to visit the country. But it’s not for an airline to force that on customers. “
The company said it had received “a lot of support” for its position.
On a related note, European airliner Ryanair has signaled that it will not require airmen to be vaccinated against the coronavirus before allowing them to travel.
Chief Executive Eddie Wilson stressed that making a vaccine mandatory would be pointless since people can travel between different European countries by car or train.
“With the short haul and the free movement of people in Europe… I think we’ll see an entirely different landscape in the spring and early summer, not really relevant for short haul and European travel,” said Wilson.
“In Paris, if you don’t choose vaccination… you just take a train instead,” he added.
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