It seems American Airlines is joining the bandwagon to provide COVID-19 PCR testing, as they attempt to reopen their international markets, with plans for Jamaica, The Bahamas and Hawaii.
The airline is collaborating with several foreign governments to begin offering preflight COVID-19 testing for customers travelling to international destinations, starting with Jamaica and the Bahamas.
The carrier plans to expand the program to additional markets in the weeks and months ahead.
So first up is Jamaica (and not the stop on the Long Island Railroad), where American Airlines has reached an agreement with Jamaica to launch an initial testing program at its Miami International Airport hub next month.
In the initial phase, testing will be for Jamaican residents travelling to their home country. If a passenger tests negative for COVID-19 ahead of flying with American, the 14-day quarantine currently in place for returning Jamaican residents would be waived.
If the pilot is successful, American Airlines would like to expand this to all passengers travelling to Jamaica. Currently, there is no plan for this.
Next up is the Bahamas and the CARICOM region, with American Airlines with the Bahamas and CARICOM to launch similar testing programs akin to Jamaica, that would allow travel to the region.
The programme is expected to launch next month, with further details to follow.
Finally, Hawaii, where pre-flight testing will be offered for departures from Dallas-Fort Worth.
Three options for preflight testing to customers with flights from DFW to Honolulu and Maui
- At-home test from LetsGetChecked, observed by a medical professional via virtual visit, with results expected in 48 hours on average.
- In-person testing at a CareNow urgent care location.
- Onsite rapid testing, administered by CareNow, at DFW.
Testing must be completed within 72 hours of the final leg of departure.
Travellers who test negative will be exempt from the state’s 14-day quarantine.
Robert Isom, President of American Airlines said
“The pandemic has changed our business in ways we never could have expected, but all the while, the entire American Airlines team has eagerly tackled the challenge of reimagining the way we deliver a safe, healthy and enjoyable travel experience for our customers,”
“Our plan for this initial phase of preflight testing reflects the ingenuity and care our team is putting into rebuilding confidence in air travel, and we view this as an important step in our work to accelerate an eventual recovery of demand.”
The growth of pre-flight testing continues – it just needs a coordinated governmental push.
With airlines seeking to unblock the travel log jam and get people flying again -testing remains one of the ways to get people going (of course, testing before the return leg to any of these destinations would be a damn good thing too).
There will be paths to unlock this – either by making it free or low-cost… and that is where governments come in and do need to take responsibility to ensure that testing is available to all passengers – if to protect borders from additional COVID infections.
For now, we have the beginnings of a solution to restart international travel. There are more pieces of this puzzle to be discovered though.
Welcome to Economy Class and Beyond – Your no-nonsense guide to network news, honest reviews, with in-depth coverage, unique research as well as the humour and madness as I only know how to deliver.