Domestic travel from the mainland to Hawaii was largely offline over the summer due to strict COVID-19 lockdown measures put into place in the island state. To get into any of the islands, strict, 14-day quarantines were required for anyone flying in from the mainland. By mid-October, Hawaii put into place an updated policy that allowed visitors to circumvent that quarantine by presenting a negative COVID-19 test received within 72 hours of arrival. Now, to ease that process of testing, Honolulu-based Hawaiian Airlines is offering partnered testing at a handful of mainland departure points to help visitors get the needed certifications.
Initially, Hawaiian’s efforts started with a partnership with local labs in the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay areas. For $90 (or $150 day-of), travelers headed to Hawaii could drive through facilities near those departure points and get quick clearance for departure to the islands.
Early in October, that effort expanded with $143 in-home tests provided by Vault Health. Those tests used express mail to collect samples and return results.
Hawaiian’s latest effort, released on Monday, expands pre-travel testing into Las Vegas, Portland and Seattle..
In Las Vegas, Hawaiian offers up nearly a dozen locations powered by the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada. US BioTek offers up one testing site in Portland as well as an additional three options in the Seattle area.
At the Portland and Seattle locations, costs range from $90-105 for a 36 hour turnaround up to $150-165 for 24-hour results.
All told, Hawaiian will cover well over half of its route network to the mainland United States with its new testing sites. Boston, New York City, Phoenix, Sacramento and San Diego remain destinations relatively uncovered by the direct Hawaiian partnership, but third party labs can still provide COVID-19 testing in those areas.
As testing partnerships come on line, travelers to Hawaii on all major carriers now have access to a wide variety of options for getting tested prior to flying over the Pacific. Late in September, United was the first carrier to build out pre-flight testing to Hawaii out of its hub in San Francisco. American and Delta followed suit in October while Hawaiian continues to expand its programs across the country.
These procedures can’t come too soon for a state that runs heavily on the tourism dollar. And as testing and passenger sentiment continues to improve, Hawaii can now look forward to injecting some stimulus back into its economy.