American Airlines is growing its preflight testing program to include more cities in the United States. The Dallas-based carrier will be the first in the States to expand preflight COVID-19 testing to all US locations with restrictions. This includes Puerto Rico. The tests will be available for purchase from December 9th for travel that starts from December 12th.
An expansion of preflight testing
American Airlines is partnering with LetsGetChecked to expand testing for all US states and territories with COVID-19 travel restrictions. The initial round of cities, states, and territories with travel restrictions that apply for this preflight testing are the following:
- Washington, D.C.
- New Hampshire
- New York
- Puerto Rico
- Rhode Island
Starting on December 9th, American Airlines customers traveling to any of these destinations with travel restrictions will have access to at-home testing, provided their travel begins on December 12th or later. New bookings for travel December 12th and onwards for travel to COVID-restricted areas will also be able to partake in at-home testing.
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Alison Taylor, Chief Customer Officer at American Airlines, stated the following:
“We’ve made great strides to help open international travel with our testing partners, and we recognize the need for similar domestic travel solutions. As travel requirements continue to quickly evolve, we’re simplifying the research and COVID-19 testing fulfillment process for an overall more seamless travel experience.”
Do make sure that you double-check the requirements for each state. Like New York, some states require testing before arrival, a short quarantine period after arrival, and another test. Others will let you in quarantine-free with a negative test result taken within three days of departure.
The testing program
LetsGetChecked is the official testing partner for American Airlines. For full details on American’s preflight testing, see here. In a nutshell, the LetsGetChecked test consists of an at-home test with an average turnaround time of 48 hours.
The test itself costs $129. Passengers are recommended to order the kit five or more days from departure to ensure it arrives on time. They will then need to schedule a UPS pickup for their sample and take the test. Some passengers may need to be on an observation call with a LetsGetChecked care professional that will ensure you are collecting your sample correctly.
The test itself is a nasal swab. It collects a lower nasal sample using a swab. LetsGetChecked bills the test as gentle and non-invasive.
Will this expand to all domestic passengers?
Right now, a lot of destinations in the United States do not require any testing before departure. So, it does not make a lot of sense for American to grow this right now to all US passengers. Over time, however, American will likely continue its trend of making testing available to more passengers.
American Airlines initially started COVID-19 preflight testing in October, with flights to Jamaica and Hawaii. Shortly thereafter, the airline added it for Costa Rica passengers. Finally, in early November, American added more Latin American and Caribbean destinations. Lastly, in mid-November, the airline partnered with British Airways for a transatlantic testing trial.
So, the pattern thus far is that American sees testing as being one way to help get people back onboard aircraft, reopen borders, and resuming travel. This is yet another expansion of that strategy.
In the future, expect American Airlines to continue to engage with different countries and airlines to expand the number of destinations people can visit or lay a template to help agencies reopen travel. Recently, American started testing digital health passes on routes to Chile. After examining the results of this testing trial, it would not be surprising to see American pull the trigger on offering preflight testing to more passengers.
Are you glad to see American Airlines expand its preflight testing program to more domestic destinations? Let us know in the comments!