Is it right for a client to demand the crew flying them are vaccinated?

Is it right for a client to demand the crew flying them are vaccinated?

Before we delve into the moral and ethical standpoints of this question at hand, this is not a pro or anti-vaxx news item intended for clickbait purposes. Instead this is an almost daily topic of discussion in our office, as it has become a common question upon charter bookings. A question that can cause a great deal of conjecture between operators, their crew, our client and the Volanteus team.

For balance, we have presented the ‘for’ and ‘against’ arguments.


It should be the right of the charterer, who is paying handsomely for the jet, to at ask the question, is the crew vaccinated? This seems fair and at this point the charterer is able to make their own decision on whether or not they make the booking. The challenge occurs when there is a demand that the crew are vaccinated. Does the amount spent on a private jet justify making this demand? Does the operator or broker need the business that much or can they simply decline to comply?

Fact is, if you’re paying several hundred thousand dollars for a flight, and you specifically request a vaccinated crew – you’re fully entitled to it. Chances are you’re not virtue signalling, you’re looking out for the health of you and your family.

Just because someone read on the internet or Twitter that the Vaccine is the evil plan of Bill Gates, this shouldn’t adversely affect your health.

After all, it is commonplace for a charterer to ask for a pilot with a certain number of flying hours, does asking for them to be vaccinated present anything new?

The charterer is paying for the jet and as such they will always make demands; whether that is catering, entertainment or transfers. This is the new post-Covid landscape and unfortunately the new post-Covid demand.


A free society should be able to let its citizens decide whether to accept a vaccination or not. Individuals cannot demand it of another, not matter how much money is involved. Is demanding a fully-vaccinated crew discriminatory? Some would say yes, but we also can’t blame a charterer for looking after their own health.

Health has always been a major priority, that goes without saying, however the fear of Covid has certainly ramped this up. If the charterer has concerns, then getting on board a confined space with potentially unvaccinated crew should be their decision, not necessarily their right.

Just because a charterer has the money and therefore influence to request a vaccinated crew, they won’t be the ones coming at you with a needle. But in effect they are. They’re forcing crew (against their will and personal preference) to be injected with a vaccination that albeit a very small number of the Global population actually understand what it in it.

We liken it to when a parent tells a 5-year-old to do something, with no explanation, because it’s ‘best’ for them… eat your greens, drink your milk, pick up your toys – no arguing, no negotiating… just do it.

The Grey

There’s always a bit of grey isn’t there? The scenario unfolds that a booking is hours away from departure and the previously fully vaccinated crew has a pilot who takes ill (whether with Covid or not) and the only pilot available at such short notice is unvaccinated. Previously the charterer has demanded a fully vaccinated crew. The answer should be full transparency along the communication line, but then who foots the bill if the charterer declines the flight? The charterer? The operator? The broker?

There is a duty of care that operators must offer, if there is a clear feeling from the charterer they would ‘prefer’ a fully vaccinated crew – this could be offered as an option, with the caveat that the crew on the day of the flight may be subject to change when circumstances are out of the operators control.

Whether you are pro or anti-vaxx the moral answer is clear, crew should be allowed to decide whether they have the vaccination or not and it shouldn’t impede their work. However, in an industry where money is a powerful factor, there will never be a rule that works for everyone. Much like society.

Perhaps the answer was in the question all the time. Substitute the word demand with ask and we have a more palatable starting point for an industry standard.

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