2021 Survey: 65% of Flyers Support Vaccine Passports
New Survey: 1 in 10 Frequent Flyers Reject Vaccines Despite Delta Variant
WASHINGTON – As the delta variant surges, nearly 65% of frequent flyers report that vaccine passports would increase their confidence in the safety of air travel, according to a new report. While 90% of frequent flyers either fully or partially vaccinated against the virus, nearly one in 10 frequent flyers refuse to get vaccinated.
“These numbers are encouraging because frequent flyers have high levels of vaccinations,” said David Fuscus, President of Xenophon Strategies, a Washington, DC-based aviation communications consultancy. “However, if the FAA decided to implement a vaccine passport program, nearly one in 10 travelers would be barred from boarding the plane.”
The survey was conducted by Xenophon Analytics using the firm’s Frequent Flyer Database, which includes more than 200,000 opt-in frequent flyers from across the United States. Nearly 65% of survey participants are more than 60-years-old, placing them in an at-risk category for severe illness from COVID-19.
The travel industry was one of the hardest hit during the pandemic, with restrictions forcing travel and tourism to come to a screeching halt, according to the U.S. Travel Association data. Recovery has been slow. In Xenophon Analytics’ 2020 Frequent Flyer Survey, 60% of respondents said they had plans to travel in the next six months. Yet in this year’s report, 36% of respondents said they have not travelled since January 2020.
But the appetite for travel is increasing. Nearly 70% of respondents said they have plans to travel by plane in the next six months, with 72% of those travelers planning personal trips.
“Americans are ready to travel, but they want to do so safely,” said Fuscus. “Our results show that the majority of frequent flyers want to see mandatory face masks, vaccination passports and social distancing on the plane in order to feel confident in air travel again.”
A heated battle over vaccinations and face mask usage raged in the U.S. this year. The politicized debate has entrenched Republicans and Democrats against each other at the federal, state and local levels of government.
The Frequent Flyer survey found a divide between Republican and Democratic respondents:
- 44% of Republicans said they would support a government requirement to provide proof of vaccination in order to fly;
- 48% of Republicans would also support a mandate directly from commercial airlines;
- 95% of Democrats, on the other hand, would support either a government or commercial airline vaccine passport requirement.
“This partisan divide is a problem. It politicizes a public health crisis that we should all be working together to end,” continued Fuscus. “But the overall numbers are encouraging. Nearly two thirds of the core group of travelers support vaccine passports. More importantly, 90% of frequent flyers are already fully or partially vaccinated. This shows people are ready to take the necessary steps to make flying safer.”
Two thousand people responded to Xenophon Analytics’ 2021 Frequent Flyer Survey. The Xenophon database is comprised of self-described members of loyalty programs of major U.S. airlines including: Delta, United, Southwest, American, JetBlue, Alaska and others. The survey was conducted from July 26 through August 12, 2021. Results are on Xenophon’s website here.