Whether you're fully vaccinated, have only had your first dose, or haven't had a single dose of a COVID vaccine at all, you might be asking 'do I need a vaccine in order to fly?'.
The answer depends on where you're flying. And, in some cases, there might be other requirements for you to fly.
Do I need a COVID vaccine to fly domestically in the US?
No. You don't need a COVID vaccine to fly domestic flights in the US. Airlines don't require a COVID vaccine to fly.
In terms of other restrictions, most states don't have any travel restrictions in place and don't require you to provide a negative COVID test or quarantine upon arrival within the state. However, there are a few exceptions to this, including states such as Hawaii, Illinois and Massachusetts. In most cases, providing evidence that you're fully vaccinated will allow you to travel to these states without having to quarantine or provide a negative COVID-test.
The travel restrictions for each state are quite specific and change frequently, so it's important to check the rules of the state that you're traveling to. Take a look at this useful guide to help you.
Do I need a COVID vaccine to fly internationally in and out of the US?
No. Airlines don't require you to be vaccinated in order to fly in and out of the US. However, there are travel restrictions in place for international travel to most destinations, such as mandatory quarantines and proof of a negative COVID-test that might prevent you from flying.
In the future, it's expected that countries will start to open their borders to vaccinated travelers without the need to quarantine when they arrive. For example, the European Union has already announced its intention to allow fully vaccinated passengers to visit its countries without the need to quarantine.
Other travel restrictions in and out of the US can be complex. It depends on what restrictions are in place for the destination that you're flying to, as well as the restrictions that are in place for re-entering the US. The restrictions for re-entering the US can also differ depending on which country you're re-entering from.
If you're fully vaccinated, you might already be exempt from quarantine rules when re-entering the US. But, it's always best to check the most up-to-date rules for the country that you're flying to/from.
Flying out of the US
When flying out of the US, you'll need to provide a negative COVID-test, if you haven't been fully vaccinated. If you have been fully vaccinated, you don't need a test unless the destination that you're flying to requires it.
Whether you'll need to quarantine or provide a negative COVID test when you arrive at the destination that you're flying to will depend entirely on that destination.
Arriving in the US
If you're not fully vaccinated, when arriving in the US, you'll need self-quarantine for 7 days IF you get a COVID test 3–5 days after travel. If you don't get a COVID test, you'll need to self-quarantine for 10 days.
If you're fully vaccinated, you'll still need to provide proof of a negative test but you won't have to quarantine or self-quarantine upon arrival.
There are a number of countries that are on the US red list for international travel. This means that you cannot fly to the US from these countries. Please check this CDC red list guide for the most up-to-date information on red list countries.
Other requirements to fly
Aside from a COVID vaccine, there are other requirements in order for you to fly during the pandemic. For example, almost all airlines require you to wear a face mask. But others might also require temperature checks, a negative COVID test, or other requirements.
At Alternative Airlines, you can easily check what is required for your specific flight when you buy flights on our website, as well as extra info on what the airline is doing to make the flight safer, such as blocking middle seats and enhanced cleaning practices.
To find out the safety and cleaning practices for the flight that you want to buy, do the following:
1) Find the flight that you want to buy and click the 'details' drop-down button.
2) We'll then show you a list of different requirements and safety practices for your flight. In the example below, you can see that no COVID test is required and there are no pre-flight temperature checks. But, you must wear a face-covering on your flight.
What does 'fully vaccinated' mean?
in order to be classified as 'fully vaccinated' at least 2 weeks must have passed since you completed the full course for whichever COVID vaccine you have taken.
For the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine, this means that at least 2 weeks must have passed from your 2nd dose of the vaccine.
For the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, this means that at least 2 weeks must have passed from the 1-dose shot of the vaccine.
Will I need a vaccine card or health passport to fly?
There's no official ruling on whether you'll need a vaccine card or health passport to travel long-term. But they aren't a requirement at the moment.
IATA is currently developing a 'travel pass' that will allow you to store digital evidence of a negative COVID test and/or vaccine certificate. This may come in use as countries consider opening their borders to fully vaccinated passengers.