Fact check: Airlines are not banning vaccinated people from flying

The claims: Airlines are banning vaccinated people from flying 

As airports in the United States face a return to pre-pandemic air traffic levels due to lifted travel restrictions and reopened tourist attractions, misinformation surrounding flying and vaccines has surfaced online. 

Following false reports that British Airways was in "crisis talks" about whether to allow vaccinated pilots to fly, social media posts emerged claiming airlines are beginning to ban vaccinated passengers from flying. 

"Airlines begin to ban vaccinated people after pilots die due to vaccine," reads a June 26 Instagram post with more than 1,000 likes. The user captioned the post: "Flying and Clots."

A similar version of the claim, shared to Instagram on June 15, specifically mentions airlines in Spain and Russia, claiming they are "addressing the problem of blood clots and recommending vaccinated people not to travel." The image appears to have been captured from a Sky News Australia segment. 

But airlines in Spain and Russia, and everywhere else, are not banning vaccinated passengers from flying due to blood clot concerns. To the contrary, some airlines are encouraging passengers and staff members to get vaccinated against COVID-19. 

USA TODAY reached out to the Instagram users for comment. 

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No evidence of ban

Multiple airlines and organizations have confirmed there are no reports of airlines banning passengers who are vaccinated against COVID-19.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Americans who are fully vaccinated with a vaccine authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or World Health Organization can travel safely within the U.S. two weeks after their second dose. 

Perry Flint, a spokesperson for the International Air Transport Association, a trade association that represents about 290 airlines, told USA TODAY the organization is not aware of any airlines banning vaccinated passengers due to blood clot risks. 

"IATA's position is that travelers who are vaccinated should be free to travel without restriction," he said via email. 

Similarly, a spokesperson for the International Airlines Group told AFP New Zealand that the organization has not recommended vaccinated passengers refrain from flying. 

COVID-19 safety and vaccine travel information from airlines including AmericanSouthwest, DeltaAlaskaUnited and Spirit all make no mention of banning vaccinated passengers or employees from flying. 

A coronavirus aviation safety protocol from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control says proper certification of vaccination, recovery or pre-departure testing is "essential to ensure health safety of travelers."

Additionally, the policy recommends aircraft and airport operators inform employees of the advantages of getting vaccinated and "encourage them as much as possible" to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to reduce risk for themselves and other travelers who may not be able to receive the vaccine due to health reasons. 

Some airlines, such as Greece's Aegean Airlines and Russian airline Aeroflot, are encouraging passengers to get vaccinated and offering incentives in exchange.

Dubai's Emirates is encouraging employees to get vaccinated, and United said on June 22 that it will soon mandate full vaccination for crew members flying to high-risk countries, including India, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Argentina.

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Our rating: False

The claim that airlines are banning vaccinated passengers from flying is FALSE, based on our research. There are no reports of any airlines banning vaccinated passengers, and organizations representing airlines said the claim is inaccurate. To the contrary, some airlines are encouraging or requiring passengers and crew members to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Our fact-check sources: 

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