Hawaiian Airlines has announced a program to offer pre-travel COVID-19 tests prior to flights from gateways on the US mainland to Hawaii that will allow guests to bypass the state’s 14-day quarantine requirement.
The airlines says drive-through COVID-19 tests are expected to begin Oct. 15 in select US mainland gateways from dedicated, conveniently located labs. Initially the drive-through locations, operated in partnership with Worksite Labs, will be operational near Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO) international airports, with more testing locations coming soon at Hawaiian Airlines’ other US mainland gateways.
The tests being used are Droplet Digital PCR shallow nasal swab tests – a “gold standard” COVID-19 screening that meets state of Hawaii guidelines – that will cost $90 for results within 36 hours, or $150 for day-of-travel express service. Travelers who test negative within 72 hours of departure will be exempt from Hawaii’s 14-day quarantine upon arrival.
“As Hawaii’s leading airline, it is critical to ensure that access to testing does not impede travel to Hawaii, for visitors or our kama’āina (residents),” said Avi Mannis, senior vice president of marketing at Hawaiian Airlines. “We look forward to expanding the program and bringing additional choices to more of our gateway cities as we welcome guests back with our industry leading Hawaiian hospitality, while keeping our community safe. We’re grateful to the state of Hawaii for its partnership in developing the pre-travel testing program.”
Pre-flight COVID-19 testing for passengers has become a key recommendation of the International Air Transport Association in the effort to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus and restore traveler confidence in air travel. Hawaiian Airlines is joining other carriers globally in launching pre-flight testing on select routes, including United Airlines’ announcement last week of a similar program on some of its San Francisco-Hawaii services.
In addition to offering convenient pre-flight testing, Hawaiian Airlines has implemented a comprehensive health and safety program including mask-wearing requirements and enhanced cleaning protocols.
The carrier, which has been operating a reduced schedule since March due to the pandemic and resulting travel restrictions, will continue to cap cabin capacity at 70 percent through October to allow for onboard distancing.
It should be noted that the State of Hawaii has produced an extensive FAQ associated with the Safe Travels Pre-Testing Program. All travelers arriving in Hawaii or flying between the islands must now also complete the state’s online Safe Travels Hawaii form.