Delta to drop $200 monthly surcharge for unvaccinated employees

April 13, 2022, 5:14 PM UTC
Delta Airlines employee
A Delta Air Lines employee works on the departures level at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on August 25, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Delta is dropping a $200 monthly surcharge to employees who are not vaccinated.
Mario Tama—Getty Images

Delta Air Lines Inc. will stop assessing a $200 monthly surcharge for employees who have not received a coronavirus vaccination, the latest sign that the travel industry is relaxing its approach to the virus even as the U.S. plans to extend a face-mask requirement.

The assessment to cover the added costs of COVID-19 illnesses will end April 30, a Delta spokesman said Wednesday. Delta declined to say how many employees have been paying the surcharge but that more than 95% of its 75,000 workers had been vaccinated as of January.

Delta’s decision was based on falling case counts and a decline in severe illnesses nationwide. Chief Executive Officer Ed Bastian said on a call to discuss quarterly earnings that the company believes the U.S. is beginning to view Covid as more of “a manageable seasonal virus.”

Still, the Biden administration plans to extend a mask mandate on airplanes and other modes of public transportation by two weeks to monitor a recent uptick in virus cases in certain areas, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.

Delta announced in August—amid a surge in new infections and hospital cases—that it would impose the surcharge as of Nov. 1 to help defray health coverage costs. The Atlanta-based carrier did not mandate employee vaccinations as did other companies, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Alphabet Inc. and United Airlines Holdings Inc. 

The decision to end the surcharge was reported earlier by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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