October 7, 2020

Airlines enter the Covid-19 testing game

Airlines have officially entered the Covid-19 testing game. There have been several announcements as we close the first week of October. DragonSlayer keeps you informed!

Airlines enter the Covid-19 testing game

All the way back in April I penned a Change.org petition in the hopes of getting the airlines to work with various government entities to spur mass testing of passengers in order to help get travel back on its feet. I guess I was about six months too early but the good news is, there are clear signs that Covid-19 testing, a near-standard now for entry into most countries, is getting faster, better, and cheaper with airlines now stepping up to the plate in a big way.

Here are the details of the flurry of announcements made over the past weeks:

American Airlines announced last week a series of testing plans including pre-testing returning residents to Jamaica flying out of Miami (in lieu of 14-day quarantine), plans to test visitors to the Bahamas also out of Miami (in lieu of a rapid test upon arrival), and three testing options for travelers out of DFW to Honolulu and Maui starting October 15.

United Airlines announced that starting October 15 customers flying from SFO to all Hawaii destinations will have the option for either a rapid test delivered at the airport or a mail-in test that can be completed within the 72-hour window requirement.

Hawaiian Airlines also announced that starting on October 15 they will offer drive-through testing in LA and San Francisco for customers flying to Hawaii. They are offering a unique express service that delivers results in 24 hours for an extra fee ($150 vs $90).

And we saw JetBlue announce at-home testing for travelers who may need a negative PCR test for their travels. They correctly note that certain countries *may* not allow at-home tests and require lab-delivered tests. Please know that we work hard to make sure that you, as a DragonSlayer subscriber, have all the correct and up-to-date testing protocols required by each individual country currently open to U.S. travelers.

Finally, and perhaps most exciting, is the Tampa International Airport who announced last week that they will now offer either PCR or Antigen tests to *any* inbound or outbound passenger for $125 or $57 respectively. This service is offered throughout the month of October between the hours of 8am to 2pm.

And there is an interesting development abroad with Lufthansa piloting a program to provide PCR tests for both inbound and outbound travelers at a number of airports in an effort to spur increased international travel.

Testing has become part of our travel regime, just like taking our shoes off and holding our arms in the air. When travelers realize the wisdom of PCR testing prior to departure they will realize that both their flight and their destination could be a far safer place for them to be than a simple visit to the grocery store. We applaud these efforts and look forward to more breaking news on this front.