While coronavirus cases continue to rise in the U.S., more passengers are booking flights for fall travel, including the holidays. At this point, 7 months after Covid-19 was deemed an international pandemic, we have a lot more clarity on the most common ways the infection is passed, and airports and planes are a high risk factor. However, people are getting braver, riskier, and they want to see family. Airlines have already lost billions in revenue, so now they are offering more peace of mind in many ways. In fact, 4 U.S. airlines now offer Covid-19 tests so passengers can avoid 14-day quarantine rules.
While some airlines have done well and served as leaders during Covid-19, like Delta, other airlines had messy situations and faced backlash. In a panic, many misled the public on safety issues to book seats, which isn’t unexpected when airlines are losing up to $252 billion in revenue. Of course, airlines will bend over backwards to get you to fly.
In another opportunity to make passengers feel welcome and safe, some airlines are offering Covid-19 tests so passengers can avoid 14-day quarantine in select destinations. However, it’s expensive. You can expect to pay up to $250 when you do a Covid-19 test with an airline. Don’t forget rapid tests aren’t always reliable, so you should maybe wait this one out.
Also, the routes are limited, and it’s only a handful of airlines that have Covid-19 tests available, but the question will always remain: Should you travel during Covid-19 anyway?
62% of Americans who took vacations since March 2020 (when Covid-19 began) regret their trips. Not only have we been experiencing extraordinary limitations—few places are open, there’s nothing to do, etc—the fact that there is a 14-day quarantine restriction in seemingly every destination in the world truly dissuaded people from traveling.
Now, travelers can skip the the 14-day quarantine rules if they fly with an airline that offers Covid-19 tests — and reveal negative results, of course.
Take a look at the 4 airlines offering Covid-19 tests so passengers can avoid 14-day quarantine.
According to a statement, United worked closely with Hawaii officials to ensure that any United customer – both visitors and Hawaiian residents returning home – who tests negative on either test would not be subjected to the state’s current 14-day quarantine requirement.
2. American Airlines
American Airlines partnered with health providers LetsGetChecked and CareNow for covid-19 tests, starting October 18, for routes to Hawaii, Costa Rica, and the Caribbean.
Passengers can do an at-home test virtually. The at-home tests are checked via video call by a LetsGetChecked medical professional. It costs $129 and takes about 48 hours for results to come back.
In-person testing is available only in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where American is based, within 72 hours of departure. It costs $150 in a designated clinic or $249 in the airport.
3. Hawaiian Airlines
Hawaiian Airlines really wants their tourists back to the destination, so the airline also offers Covid-19 tests so passengers can avoid the 14-day quarantine (which does deter them from visiting Hawaii… why would anyone want to go to the stunning islands for 2 weeks just to be locked up in their hotel room?).
For Hawaiian Airlines passengers, drive-through appointments at the San Francisco and Los Angeles international airports guarantee a result within 36 hours and cost $90, with a $150 “premium day-of-travel” option also available.
At-home mail-in saliva collection kits by Vault Health (also $150) include prepaid shipping and guarantee results within 24 hours of a kit’s arrival at a lab. This option feels more risky (what happens if it gets lost in the mail?), but it is monitored by a health-care professional via Zoom if you do it.
Also partnering with Vault Health, JetBlue offers its at-home tests at $143, which is just a little cheaper than Hawaiian. JetBlue planned on this at-home Covid-19 test option as early as September.
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