Sites to open at select U.S. mainland gateways
By Patti Pietschmann, Travel Diva
After months of Hawaii requiring 14-days quarantines for visitors, the state is now allowing visitors who prove negative for Covid19 72-hours prior to arrival. And to help make it easier for tourists, Hawaiian Airlines says it is offering drive-through labs at some of its mainland gateways.
This is great news as the state has been suffering financial pain since coronavirus restrictions went into effect last April. Of course it is also music to the ears of those of us anxious to vacation in the islands.
How it works
In partnership with Worksite Labs Hawaiian Airline guests get exclusive access to drive-through PCR testing. The tests cost $90 for results within 36 hours, or $150 for day-of-travel express service. Some folks are certain to balk at the price especially families. Hawaiian might gain more customers and Hawaii more tourists if they offer a discount on testing.
Hawai‘i’s hometown carrier expects to start offering the Droplet Digital PCR shallow nasal swab tests – a “gold standard” COVID-19 screening that meets state of Hawai‘i guidelines – around Oct. 15. If travelers test negative within 72 hours of departure they will be exempt from Hawai‘i’s 14-day quarantine upon arrival.
The preliminary labs will be operational near Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO) international airports, with more testing locations coming soon at its other U.S. mainland gateways.
“As Hawai’i’s leading airline, it is critical to ensure that access to testing does not impede travel to Hawai‘i, for visitors or our kama‘āina (residents),” says Avi Mannis, senior vice president of marketing at Hawaiian Airlines.
“Our testing option will offer Los Angeles and Bay Area travelers superior value and we look forward to expanding the program and bringing additional choices to more of our gateway cities.” Additional testing partnerships are in the works. In addition to this new testing system Hawaiian provides a comprehensive health and safety program covering all aspects of travel.
How it works
After proving you are free of COVID-19, you must fill out a health acknowledgment form. Passengers also are required to wear an adequate face mask or covering at the airport and during the flight. Guests 2 years of age and older who are unable to wear a face mask or covering due to a medical condition or disability must undergo a health screening to board.
Keeping us safe
Hawaiian has been enhancing its “Keeping you Safe” protocols. These include frequent disinfecting of lobby areas, kiosks, and ticket counters. It also involves electrostatic aircraft cabin spraying, plexiglass barriers at staffed airport counters, and sanitizer wipe distribution to all guests.
The carrier, which has been operating a reduced schedule since March due to the pandemic and resulting travel restrictions, will continue to leave 70 percent cabin capacity through October to allow for onboard distancing.
All travelers arriving in Hawai‘i or flying between the islands must now also complete the state’s online Safe Travels Hawai‘i form.
At 91-years-old Hawaiian is Hawai‘i’s biggest and longest-serving airline. The carrier offers nonstop flights between Hawai‘i and more U.S. gateway cities (13) than any other airline. It also provides service connecting the islands with Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa and Tahiti.
For this writer Hawaiian has always been a joy to fly. I always felt that Aloha spirit the minute I stepped on the plane. Of course the mood’s a little different now with masks and social distancing.
But then this is the new norm.
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