Will vaccinated flight crews help airlines sell tickets? – Skift
As most countries scramble to determine if flight crews are essential workers, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates have successfully vaccinated their crews at a time when the new coronavirus vaccine could change the state of travel. .
But how important is it to an airline’s marketing message that its crews are vaccinated, or is it just another demonstration of health?
The value to airlines is twofold from a marketing and branding perspective, said Vanessa Wade, President and CEO of Connect the PR dots. First, they protect their staff and crew and two, show a commitment to customers.
“When an airline is able to say, we’re going to take the time to vaccinate everyone to say we care about you, it’s the same as giving water to someone who does. needs or give him some bonus. ”said Wade.
Singapore Airlines has launched a social media and press campaign announcing its first fully vaccinated crews working on three different flights, with great online reception. All departing on the same day, each flight was operated by Singapore, regional airline SilkAir and low-cost company Scoot, the three airlines of the SIA group.
With 90 percent of pilots and flight attendants signing up for the group’s voluntary vaccination program, the Asia-based airline has touted its partnership with the government in rolling out vaccinations for airline workers and the importance that the Singaporean government is giving the aviation sector priority for vaccines.
“Our primary goal is the health and safety of our passengers, staff and crew,” said James Boyd, spokesperson for Singapore Airlines.
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad also released its announcement to press and social media a day before the SIA, branding itself as the first airline with a 100% vaccinated crew, in addition to requiring that all passengers and crews perform mandatory tests before each flight.
“We have proactively made the vaccine available to all of our employees to not only help combat the effects of Covid-19, but also to make travelers feel confident and reassured the next time they fly with it. us, ”said Tony Douglas, CEO of Etihad Aviation Group.
But with the global roll-out of vaccines in different phases and some countries experiencing shortages, many passengers currently traveling are not vaccinated, relying on mandatory testing for international travel until more vaccines are available for the General public. The United States has yet to classify flight crews as essential workers eligible for vaccines. These decisions are made by states.
Either way, will having a vaccinated crew make a difference to the passengers they choose to fly with?
For Netalis Goodwill, 56, a business analyst from Canton, Georgia, who last flew in 2019, the answer is yes.
“In fact, I will only fly on Delta (personal preference), but in this Covid season, if the crew were not vaccinated, I would definitely book elsewhere. Health rather than preferences, ”said Goodwill.
On the flip side, Leslie Cortese, 36, a mortgage loan officer from Austin, Texas, who last robbed exactly a year ago on a trip to Cabo, would find no solace in a vaccinated crew. “While vaccinating the crew is a step to help prevent the spread of Covid in flight,” she said, “it wouldn’t quite provide the comfort I need to fly again. . My wife is immunocompromised, so the health of the other passengers is of great concern as well. ”
Plus, it probably won’t make a difference for Christina Hildebrand, 35, a cashier for the HEB supermarket chain in Houston, or her family who she says prefers to fly southwest because of the price.
Both airlines and Wade say it’s too early to say if this is impacting flight bookings. Wade doesn’t think it will hurt airlines, especially with mobility crews are traveling to different cities and hotels, but hope we find out more in a month or two.
“I know a lot of people who haven’t been on a plane since last February. And that’s because they’re scared and so yes they hide and wash their hands and social distancing, but I think it gives you that extra layer of protection when the crews have been vaccinated, so you know that they can’t pass anything on, ”public relations specialist Wade said.
While there is still a small possibility that a crew member could be infected with Covid-19 and give it to someone else, information from Israel suggests that even if a vaccinated person contracts the new coronavirus, the vaccine lowers a person’s viral load and by extension the ability to pass the virus to another person, said Dr Richard Dockins, an expert in tropical medicine.
“Having a crew vaccinated means they are largely protected (over 90%) against Covid-19 diseases,” Dockins said. “From a business continuity perspective, that means they can operate with full teams and not have to worry about quarantining crew members who may have close contact with a Covid-19 case – at least for 90 days after receiving the vaccine. “
To date like the coronavirus recovery Continuing, flight crews in Singapore and its affiliates have received two doses, a spokesperson said, and Etihad’s crews have received at least one, with 75 percent of its total workforce already vaccinated.