Several U.S. airlines have recently launched COVID-19 testing programs in an effort to get people flying again in an industry devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Passengers at New York airports have been getting tested, and Tampa International Airport this week announced a pilot program that will test arriving and departing passengers daily during the month of October. Logan International Airport has no plans for testing at this time, a spokesperson told Boston.com in an e-mail. However, JetBlue, Logan’s largest carrier, announced a testing program this week.
“We continue to hear from health officials that testing is incredibly important in the fight against the coronavirus, and we want to make sure our customers have options for testing, especially prior to travel,” said Joanna Geraghty, president and chief operating officer for JetBlue, in a statement. “As more and more regions reopen, many are requiring test results to enter. Now with easier testing options, those safety requirements may not be a deterrent for travel, but rather provide greater public health and peace of mind with little inconvenience.”
Here’s which U.S. airlines have COVID-19 testing programs and the details of each one.
JetBlue has partnered with Vault Health to provide a physician-ordered, supervised, at-home saliva test to customers “wanting peace of mind and those who must secure a negative COVID-19 test result before entering certain states and countries or in order to avoid certain mandatory quarantines,” JetBlue officials wrote in a press release.
Travelers with JetBlue reservations can enter their JetBlue confirmation code on a landing page to order the test. Vault Health tests cost $150, according to the company’s website, but JetBlue customers will receive a discount, the airline noted without specifying the discounted cost.
The test is taken under the supervision of a Vault Health supervisor via Zoom and then overnighted to a laboratory, with results provided within 72 hours or less, according to the airline. Vault Health is providing JetBlue customers a support line as well.
“It is important to note that many but not all jurisdictions accept PCR tests administered at home or from saliva,” wrote JetBlue. “All travelers should thoroughly research their destination or reentry travel requirements then make the best decision for testing based on their travel itinerary to avoid any disruptions. Properly timing testing to adhere to travel requirements must also be taken into consideration.”
Chicago-based United Airlines, the first U.S. airline to announce it will offer testing, will test customers traveling from San Francisco International Airport to Hawaii beginning Oct. 15. Airline officials said testing will expand to other U.S. airports later this year, according to a press release. Hawaii will drop its mandatory 14-day quarantine on Oct. 15 for travelers who test negative for the virus within 72 hours of arrival.
United customers will have two options when it comes to testing: a $250 rapid Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 test performed by GoHealth Urgent Care at San Francisco International Airport on the day of travel or an $80 mail-in test administered by Color that travelers must complete 72 hours prior to travel.
When asked if the service will eventually be offered at Logan Airport, an airline spokesperson wrote in an e-mail that the airline cannot currently confirm which airports will offer the program in the future.
Hawaiian Airlines announced it will start offering drive-through PCR testing to customers traveling from California to Hawaii “around Oct. 15.”
The Honolulu-based carrier will offer the testing in partnership with Worksite Labs at a cost of $150 for day-of travel express service and $90 for results within 36 hours. Travelers will get tested at labs located near Los Angeles and San Francisco International airports, with more testing locations to follow at “other U.S. mainland gateways,” according to a press release.
American Airlines will offer pre-flight testing to travelers going to Hawaii at its Dallas Fort Worth International Airport hub on Oct. 15.
The Forth Worth, Texas-based airline will offer three options for testing: a $129 at-home test from LetsGetChecked, observed by a medical professional through a virtual visit and with results expected in 48 hours; in-person testing at a CareNow urgent care location; or a rapid test performed at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport by CareNow, according to a press release. Testing must be done within 72 hours of the final leg of departure. The carrier only provided pricing for the at-home test, and an airline spokesperson wrote in an e-mail that more information about testing will be released in the weeks to come.
American is also launching a testing program at Miami International Airport in October, where residents of Jamaica traveling to their home country can get tested so the 14-day quarantine currently in place for returning Jamaican residents will be waived, according to the airline.
“Following a successful pilot program, the objective is to open this testing protocol for all passengers traveling to Jamaica, including U.S. citizens,” according to the press release.
Furthermore, American is working with the Bahamas and CARICOM, a grouping of 20 Caribbean countries, to launch another testing program in October that would help travelers access the region. More details about that program will be announced on a future date, according to the airline.
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