Yesterday United Airlines became the first US airline to announce a COVID-19 testing program, and today Hawaiian Airlines has announced a similar offering, though arguably it’s even better.
Hawaiian Airlines’ drive-through COVID-19 testing
As of mid-October, Hawaii will be reopening to visitors without a 14-day quarantine. Since mid-March the state has been requiring everyone arriving from out of state to quarantine, while going forward you can get tested no more than 72 hours before arriving in Hawaii to skip that quarantine.
As you might expect, it’s very much in the best interest of airlines to make it easy for passengers to get tested, so that they can take these flights. That’s where Hawaiian Airlines’ new program comes in handy.
Hawaiian Airlines is partnering with Worksite Labs to give customers access to drive-through PCR testing. It’s expected that these droplet digital PCR shallow nasal swab tests will start to be offered around October 15.
As Avi Mannis, Hawaiian Airlines’ SVP of Marketing, describes this offering:
“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). 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 as we welcome guests back with our industry-leading Hawaiian hospitality, while keeping our community safe. We’re grateful to the state of Hawai‘i for its partnership in developing the pre-travel testing program.”
How expensive are these PCR tests?
There are two pricing options for Hawaiian Airlines’ PCR testing, depending on whether you’re getting tested on the day of travel:
- You can pay $90 for a test that gets a result within 36 hours
- You can pay $150 for a test on the same day of travel, with express results
Arguably this pricing compares favorably to United, which charges $250 for testing at the airport, though only over limited hours, and $80 for a self-test kit.
Where will these labs be available?
Initially Hawaiian Airlines’ partner labs will be available near Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO), but the plan is for more testing locations to come soon at other mainland gateways.
Hawaiian Airlines says it’s actively working on developing additional testing partnerships, which should be announced soon.
I suspect we’ll see several more airline partnerships announced over the coming days and weeks to make coronavirus testing with fast results more accessible for travelers.
It’s great to finally see these partnerships from US airlines. Like I said in the case of United, I’m not sure how it took this long for airlines to partner with labs that can offer quick results (at a cost), since it seems like this would have been a win-win all along.
It’s interesting to see the different approaches that Hawaiian and United are taking towards testing — Hawaiian is offering drive-through testing near LAX and SFO ($90-150), while United is offering testing at SFO ($250) or a self-collection test kit you can complete at home ($80).
What do you make of Hawaiian Airlines’ new testing program? Do you prefer the Hawaiian or United system?