A UK-based travel firm has polarized social media after announcing that it will no longer be doing business with Qantas Airways due to the airline’s decision to require Covid-19 jabs for all international passengers.
Tradewinds Travel, an independent tour operator, posted a statement on its website explaining that customers would have to go elsewhere if they wanted to book a flight with Qantas, citing the Australian airline’s CEO that the company was looking into requiring international travellers to have proof of vaccination against coronavirus.
We feel that bodily autonomy with regard to medical intervention is a personal choice and not something to be forced onto people by businesses. We are not anti-vaccination but we are pro-choice. There is a huge difference between coercion and making a free choice.
The travel agency noted that “never before in the history of aviation” has an airline required passengers to have an injection before boarding a plane. The statement said that Australia as a nation has the right to deny entry to people without a vaccination, but that “it is not up to an airline to enforce this upon customers.”
The move received voracious applause from critics of the proposed compulsory vaccination policy. One commenter hailed the agency for taking a stand against “medical fascism.”
Others expressed similar gratitude, praising the company for standing up to “tyranny” and expressing hope that the small travel firm won’t be crushed by “the Covid dictatorship.”
Numerous Twitter users said they would show their support for the decision by using Tradewinds to book future holidays.
There were also plenty of disapproving comments.
One unimpressed observer mockingly welcomed the news, saying it meant that they wouldn’t have to sit next to “anti-vaxxers” when they flew.
Others accused Tradewinds of undermining global efforts to contain the pandemic.
“Covidiocy as a business plan isn’t going to get you very far,” read one dismissive reply to the announcement.
The travel agency has vowed to boycott any airline that follows Qantas’ lead, a policy that could potentially be hard to enforce. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has claimed that compulsory vaccinations for international travel will become the norm worldwide. The International Air Transport Association (IATA), a lobby group that represents airlines around the world, is already developing a mobile app that will serve as a Covid-19 “passport” for travellers. A pilot program for the app is scheduled to begin next month.