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American Airlines Launches Pre-Flight COVID-19 Testing

First international destinations for the program include Jamaica and the Bahamas,

October 1, 2020

American Airlines has announced a collaborative effort with several foreign governments to begin offering pre-flight COVID-19 testing for customers traveling to international destinations, starting with Jamaica and the Bahamas. The carrier plans to expand the program to additional markets in the weeks and months ahead.

In addition, starting Oct. 15, the carrier will begin a pre-flight COVID-19 testing program at its Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) hub for customers traveling to Hawaii.

The initial phase of the testing program for flights to Jamaica will begin at the airline’s Miami International Airport hub in October, and will be for Jamaican residents traveling to their home country.

If a passenger tests negative for COVID-19 ahead of flying with American, the 14-day quarantine currently in place for returning Jamaican residents would be waived, according to the carrier.

Following a successful pilot program, American plans to open the testing protocol to all passengers traveling to Jamaica, including US citizens. Exactly when such a move would be announced is yet to be determined.

American says it also started working with the Bahamas and nations of the Caribbean Community to launch similar testing programs that would allow travel to the region. American’s next international program will be with the Bahamas and is expected to launch this month, but details of the protocols have not been released.

In addition to COVID-19 tests for travelers to international markets, starting Oct. 15, American says it will offer pre-flight testing to customers with flights from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport to Hawaii. Working in partnership with LetsGetChecked, CareNow and the DFW Airport, the airline is offering three options for travelers to Honolulu and Maui:

• At-home test from LetsGetChecked, observed by a medical professional via virtual visit, with results expected in 48 hours on average

• In-person testing at a CareNow urgent care location

• Onsite rapid testing, administered by CareNow, at DFW

Testing must be completed within 72 hours of the final leg of departure. Travelers who test negative will be exempt from the state’s 14-day quarantine.

Rapid pre-flight testing for passengers has become a major strategic urged by the International Air Transport Association in the push to revive an industry that has sustained heavy losses imposed by restrictions and quarantines. American Airlines joins carriers such as United, Hawaiian Airlines, Alitalia and Etihad which already offer tests on select routes.

“The pandemic has changed our business in ways we never could have expected,” said Robert Isom, president of American Airlines. “Our plan for this initial phase of pre-flight testing reflects the ingenuity and care our team is putting into rebuilding confidence in air travel, and we view this as an important step in our work to accelerate an eventual recovery of demand.”