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A brand new American Airlines A321neo parked in Pittsburgh (Photo:AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

American Airlines Offering $129 At-Home COVID-19 Tests for Domestic Travel

On Tuesday, American Airlines announced in a statement it will begin offering at-home COVID-19 tests to help passengers avoid domestic quarantine requirements. The $129 test is provided by New York-based testing provider LetsGetChecked and will be available for purchase via the company’s website on Wednesday for flights beginning on Saturday. The test comes just as people prepare for holiday travel, even though the Center for Disease Control (CDC) advises against such travel due to rising COVID cases across the country.

While travel, in general, is frowned upon this holiday season, people are still going to fly. So the test is aimed at domestic travel to deter the spread of the virus state-to-state and help passengers get out of strict quarantine rules in certain states, cities and districts. According to American’s website, these include Alaska, Connecticut, Chicago, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington D.C. Most of the places listed require passengers to present a negative RT-PCR COVID test taken within 72 hours before arrival to enter or otherwise quarantine for up to two weeks. However, passengers who use LetsGetChecked’s test and receive negative results can avoid that isolation period.

American said that the test will be made available to passengers traveling on domestic flights destined for any of the listed states and territories. Furthermore, the airline explained that it would work with LetsGetChecked to expand testing opportunities as COVID-19 requirements evolve. For further coronavirus-related travel information, passengers can use the carrier’s travel restrictions app, powered by Sherpa, to research entry requirements to these destinations and any other destination worldwide. 

American’s Chief Customer Officer, Alison Taylor, said, “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.” 

 “We are extremely proud of our partnership with American Airlines and the opportunity to support their proactive safety measures. Our at-home COVID-19 test exemplifies our mission to empower people to take an active role in their health whilst also allowing for a safe return to travel during this challenging time,” said Peter Foley, chief executive of LetsGetChecked.

The new initiative is in addition to the pre-flight testing American is already doing at Miami International Airport for flights bound for the Bahamas, Costa Rica and Jamaica.

According to LetsGetChecked, passengers should purchase the test at least five days before their flight and look at other testing options if their flight is within 48 hours of purchase. On average, the time between purchasing the test to receiving results is between three to five days, which is why customers need to be proactive when ordering. 

American is not the first carrier to implement testing on its flights. Last week, easyJet announced it would be offering a discounted COVID-19 test via its partner, Confirm Testing, for £75 ($100). The at-home test supports the United Kingdom’s new “Test to Release” program to reduce the quarantine time for travelers entering the country. Beginning Dec. 15, passengers who test negative after five days of post-travel quarantine will not need to complete the full two-week isolation period. In addition to easyJet, United Airlines has started offering free COVID tests on its flights from Newark Liberty to London Heathrow, and on some flights to Hawaii.

While airlines are finding ways to help minimize the spread of the virus, the CDC is advising all Americans to stay home this holiday season. The United States had nearly 200,000 new coronavirus cases on Monday and recorded 2,249 deaths last week – the highest count over a seven-day period since the start of the pandemic. The CDC said on its website, “As cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to increase across the United States, the safest way to celebrate the winter holidays is to celebrate at home with the people you live with. Gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu.”

Taylor Rains
Taylor Rains
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