Hawaiian Airlines to offer coronavirus tests for passengers
By Lori Aratani
Hawaiian Airlines has became the second US carrier to announce it will offer coronavirus testing to customers flying to Hawaii - a move that will allow travellers to avoid having to quarantine once they arrive.
Beginning in mid-October, Hawaiian Airlines customers can be tested at drive-through labs in Los Angeles and San Francisco through a partnership with Worksite Labs. The cost will be $90 (R1548) for results within 36 hours or $150 (R2 580) for express day-of-travel results, the airline said. The tests are Droplet Digital PCR (polymerase chain reaction) shallow nasal swab tests, what the airline called the "gold standard" in coronavirus screening, and meet Hawaii state guidelines, airline officials added.
"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)," Avi Mannis, the airline's senior vice president of marketing, said in a news release announcing the testing program. "Our testing option will offer Los Angeles and Bay Area travellers superior value and we look forward to expanding the program and bringing additional choices to more of our gateway cities."
Friday's announcement makes Hawaiian the second US carrier to offer travellers preflight access to coronavirus tests. On Thursday, United Airlines announced that it would offer passengers flying between San Francisco and Hawaii the option, to avoid the state's mandatory 14-day quarantine requirement by providing evidence of a negative test.
United customers will have the option of taking a rapid test at the airport or a self-collected mail-in test before their departure. Travellers will be responsible for paying the cost of the test. The rapid test, with results available in about 15 minutes, will cost $250 (R4299.50) and the mail-in test $80 (R1376)
If successful, such programs may offer airlines a way to boost confidence in air travel at a time when many people remain leery of flying until a vaccine is widely available. German carrier Lufthansa announced recently that it will begin offering coronavirus tests to its business and first-class passengers. Several international airports, including in Germany, Hong Kong, Japan and Italy, also have testing programs in place.
The International Air Transport Association said passenger survey data indicates the vast majority of travellers would be willing to be tested and support having their fellow passengers tested as well.