United, Hawaiian, Alaska, and American are offering COVID-19 testing to passengers
ONEAfter United Airlines became the first US airline to offer its passengers a quick COVID-19 test option last week, other US airlines quickly followed suit.
In an announcement made on Sept. 24, United announced that its new COVID-19 testing program will begin on October 15, when customers traveling to Hawaii from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) will have the option of a rapid test at the airport – at the same time as Hawaii lifts its quarantine obligation in exchange for a mandatory COVID-19 test.
The news was followed by a similar announcement by Hawaiian Airlines on September 25, promising rapid tests at Los Angeles International (LAX) and SFO. Then American Airlines joined the COVID-19 testing club on September 29 to schedule tests on flights from Miami to Jamaica starting in October, as well as on other routes. And most recently, Alaska Airlines announced on September 30th that it would offer tests for passengers flying from Seattle to Hawaii.
United said its trial options will eventually become available to more destinations around the world to facilitate quarantine-free travel.
“We will seek to rapidly expand customer testing to other destinations and US airports later this year,” said Toby Enqvist, United’s chief customer officer.
For United’s Hawaii flights, the Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 rapid test is performed by GoHealth Urgent Care and its partner Dignity Health at SFO and results are provided in approximately 15 minutes. The test can be scheduled online and currently costs $ 250. It will be available to United customers on the same day they depart from SFO (the airport has had an employee test program in place since the end of July). GoHealth Urgent Care’s COVID-19 testing area is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
There will also be a cheaper $ 80 mail-in trial option that is managed by Color company. United recommends that passengers initiate the testing process 10 days prior to travel and provide a sample within 72 hours of their flight in order to meet Hawaii’s COVID-19 mandatory testing.
United offers daily services between San Francisco and Honolulu on Oahu, Kahului on Maui and Kona on the Big Island. With the resumption of service between San Francisco and Lihue on Kauai, the airline will also expand service to Hawaii on October 15.
Hawaii’s coronavirus testing requirement
The airlines’ race to adopt COVID-19 testing has been driven in part by the fact that Hawaii will soon transition from mandatory quarantine to a COVID-19 testing requirement. Hawaii has had a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all arrivals to the islands since March 26. However, Hawaii Governor David Ige recently announced that visitors to Hawaii will be able to demonstrate a negative COVID-19 test starting October 15 to avoid quarantine.
Once Hawaii’s testing program goes into effect on October 15, travelers from other states arriving in Hawaii will be required to demonstrate a negative COVID-19 test performed within 72 hours prior to arrival in the islands. Without the negative test result, passengers will be quarantined for 14 days or have to be quarantined until they can prove a negative test result.
Starting September 1st, travelers to Hawaii must complete a mandatory online health application at least 24 hours prior to departure.
Hawaiian and Alaska will also offer tests for Hawaii flights
United’s announcement was quickly followed by an update from Hawaiian Airlines, which, in collaboration with Worksite Labs, promises pass-through tests with nasal swabs in both LAX and SFO. Further locations are expected shortly. The costs? It’s $ 90 if you want results within 36 hours or $ 150 for express delivery on the day of travel. Hawaiian plans to start the service on October 15th.
On September 30, Alaska Airlines announced that it would also jump on the Hawaii Covid 19 test train. Starting October 12, Alaska is offering rapid COVID-19 testing to passengers flying from Seattle to Hawaii for $ 135. Alaskan customers can arrange the test with the provider through Carbon Health‘s downtown Seattle, and results will be in within two hours.
Starting November 1, Alaska will resume nonstop service to Hawaii from Portland, Oregon; San Jose, California; and San Diego, California, and the airline announced that Carbon Health plans to offer rapid COVID-19 testing in these cities in the coming weeks.
American Airlines starts tests for Hawaii and the Caribbean
On September 29, American Airlines announced that it would start offering preflight COVID-19 testing to customers traveling to Jamaica from Miami (MIA) October 15. In addition, the airline has plans for a test program in the Bahamas and other Caribbean destinations (although it did not specify which ones).
On the Miami – Jamaica flights, the first test phase only applies to Jamaican residents traveling home, so that they can avoid the otherwise mandatory 14-day quarantine. If this pilot program is successful, the new trial option will be made available to all passengers traveling to Jamaica, including US citizens – although there is no exact date for it. American plans to launch a testing program for the Bahamas in October, with further details to follow.
Options for pre-flight testing Dallas – Hawaii are a home test kit provided by LetsGetChecked (with results averaging 48 hours) for $ 129 including shipping; in-person testing at a CareNow emergency location in the Dallas area; or a quick test carried out by CareNow at DFW airport. American hasn’t yet said what the personal tests will cost.
United, Hawaiian, Alaskan and American arenas‘t the only airlines in the world to offer passengers the COVID-19 test option. The German airline Lufthansa recently announced that it would also offer its passengers coronavirus rapid tests before intercontinental flights in order to get long-haul passengers flying again.
The tests on some Lufthansa flights to the USA are to begin in October. They’ll cost $ 12.
Emirates pioneered preflight testing in April when it became the first airline in the world to begin testing passengers for COVID-19 before departure.
Back in July, the airlines urged the United States and the European Union to quickly restore transatlantic air traffic by launching a joint COVID-19 testing program. The CEOs of United, American Airlines, IAG and Lufthansa Group wrote in a letter: “Given the undisputed importance of transatlantic air travel for the global economy and for the economic recovery of our business, we believe it is crucial to have a way of increasing air travel between the United States and the United States To reopen Europe. “
They said a test program for the transatlantic market “could safely restore passenger traffic between the US and Europe”.
The same mindset could – and is now – applied to numerous travel destinations around the world.
Associated Press contributed to the coverage. This article was originally published on September 24th and has been updated with updated information.
>> Next: These US airports will receive COVID-19 testing facilities