comscore Kokua Line: Would-be Hawaii travelers have many questions about preflight tests | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Hawaii News | Kokua Line

Kokua Line: Would-be Hawaii travelers have many questions about preflight tests

Question: I get email promotions from Hawaiian Airlines, and they have good fares for after the quarantine is lifted if you have a negative test result. My question is, What if I buy my ticket now and then, God forbid, my test comes back positive? Will they refund my ticket?

Answer: Yes, Hawaiian Airlines will refund a customer’s fare in that situation, said Ann Botticelli, a spokeswoman for Hawaiian Airlines.

Gov. David Ige announced June 24 that passengers arriving from out of state as of Aug. 1 may skip Hawaii’s 14-day quarantine if they have taken a valid COVID-19 test no more than 72 hours before their flight and show proof of a negative test result upon arrival.

The state’s broad outline of the preflight testing program has prompted many questions from Kokua Line readers out of state, who read the paper at staradvertiser.com, or from their family members in Hawaii, especially as case counts rise. We’ve followed up with Gov. David Ige’s office, Lt. Gov. Josh Green, the state Department of Health and the Hawaii Tourism Authority to glean additional details, but many specifics are still to come.

Q: Do you have to get the pre-arrival COVID-19 test?

A: No, proof of a negative test result upon arrival is an alternative to the 14-day quarantine imposed on passengers arriving from out of state. Passengers who don’t get tested in advance would go into quarantine as usual. This means that yes, to answer other readers’ questions, planes arriving Aug. 1 and later presumably will carry passengers who have tested negative along with those who haven’t been tested at all.

Q: Will the state receive my test result automatically, or will I be the one who gives them the test result?

A: This detail hadn’t been nailed down, but officials are working on it. Other readers have asked what would stop them from boarding a plane to Hawaii if they unexpectedly received a positive test result despite having no symptoms of COVID-19, so it’s an important question. Bruce Anderson, director of the state Department of Health, said at a news briefing Tuesday that the state is working with pharmacies and private providers to determine how to best transfer the testing results to the state.

Q: My family has spent Christmas in Hawaii for years. All of us are healthy and hope to make it this year. But my state (Arizona) has a hard time turning around COVID-19 tests quickly. I am reluctant to buy plane tickets for my whole family if we will be stuck in quarantine the whole time. Will we be, even if the tests come back negative a day or so later?

A: It doesn’t appear so, assuming that your family’s tests come back negative, but this answer is not yet certain. Anderson said at Tuesday’s briefing that arriving passengers who had been tested within the correct pre-arrival window but had not received their test results by the time they arrived in Hawaii would go into quarantine and “perhaps” be released once a negative result arrives. Other media have reported, quoting different state officials, that passengers whose test results were delayed through no fault of their own should have the opportunity to leave quarantine once their negative result is posted.

Q: When will Hawaii release the details on the pre-travel testing regimen. I don’t want to buy a plane ticket until I know for sure, and I am missing out on some great deals every day!

A: We expect more details to be released within a week, although that is not set in stone. The Department of Health said it would post updates as soon as they are available, at 808ne.ws/dohupdate. The Hawaii Tourism Authority also quickly posts travel information at hawaiitourismauthority.org.


Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email kokualine@staradvertiser.com.


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