Question: When will Hawaiian Airlines add COVID-19 testing in departure cities beyond California, especially Las Vegas and Phoenix?
Answer: “We are finalizing our expansion plans and intend to announce more testing locations in October. In the meantime, state partners like CVS, Walgreens and others should provide options for guests traveling from those markets,” said Alex Da Silva, a spokesman for Hawaiian Airlines.
The airline announced Friday that it would make drive-thru COVID-19 testing available to its passengers flying to Hawaii from San Francisco and Los Angeles (see 808ne.ws/ hacov), a day after United Airlines announced that it would make testing available to its passengers flying to Hawaii from San Francisco (see 808ne.ws/uacov).
Gov. David Ige has said that starting Oct. 15, airline passengers who enter the state with a negative result from an acceptable COVID-19 test can skip Hawaii’s mandatory 14-day travel quarantine.
Readers have lots of questions, mostly for the state, from which we’re awaiting more information. But they also have some for the airlines. Spokesmen Da Silva, from Hawaiian, and David Gonzalez, from United Airlines, answered those.
Q: What if the test comes back positive and I can’t get on the plane?
A: You would have to reschedule your flight, and neither Hawaiian nor United would charge a change fee for you to do so, the spokesmen said.
“Guests who test positive and can’t travel as a result can reschedule their Hawaiian Airlines flight for a later date without change fees by calling our reservations team,” Da Silva said.
“If a customer receives a positive result, they will not be allowed to enter the terminal at SFO and United will help rebook their flight,” said Gonzalez, adding that United has permanently eliminated change fees for most economy and premium cabin tickets for flights within the U.S., including Hawaii, a change made earlier this month. SFO stands for San Francisco International Airport.
A prospective passenger who tests positive also should follow the health protocols for a positive test in whatever city the test occurred.
Q: If a passenger gets tested through an airline program, is the test result transmitted to the airline?
“Results will remain confidential and only be sent to the traveler tested (or guardian if a child was tested),” said Da Silva.
“United does not receive any health data from our customers,” Gonzales said.
Q: Do you have to get tested? If we do it this way, will the airline handle the paperwork, in terms of letting the state know?
A: No, passengers do not have to get tested to board a flight; this is an option to avoid quarantine upon arrival. No, the airline will not report the results to the state; that’s up to individual passengers.
“The passenger would present proof of a negative test directly to the state of Hawaii,” Da Silva said.
“Passengers who wish to avoid Hawaii’s 14-day quarantine will be asked to present the proper documentation upon arrival in the state,” Gonzalez said.
Q: Do passengers have to say whether they’ve been tested before they get on the plane?
A: No, unless the test is positive.
Both airlines require passengers to fill out a health form before boarding that requires the passenger to attest that they have not tested positive for COVID-19 within 21 days and that they have no symptoms of the disease.
For more information about the testing regimen from the state of Hawaii, see hawaiicovid19.com/travel/#travel-FAQs.
Kokua Line is receiving many, many questions about the pre-travel testing program’s effects on interisland travel. We await more information.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.