Newest airport amenity? Pre-flight COVID-19 testing.

Because so many countries, and some states, require arriving travelers to have proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test, airports and airlines are rushing to make those tests available at the airport.

We listed some of the programs in our recent post about the new normal in air travel.

Those services, many of which are labeled as pilot programs, include COVID-19 sniffing dogs at the Helsinki Airport; XpresSpa’s new XpresCheck program at JFK International and Newark Liberty International airports: and Alitalia’s COVID-tested flights.

In advance of Hawaii reopening its doors to travelers on October 15, United Airlines is offering COVID-19 testing at San Francisco International Airport. And Hawaiian Airlines is setting up drive-through testing at both SFO and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

Elsewhere, COVID-19 testing is available at Vancouver International Airport (YVR), and at airports in Frankfurt, Munich and other German airports.  

In most cases there is charge from $80 to more than $250 for the tests. In some cases, the tests are free.

More COVID-19 tests for air travelers.

A new bundle of airport and airline-hosted COVID-19 testing programs was announced on Tuesday, Sept. 29.

Tampa International Airport (TPA) will run a pilot program in October offering travelers both rapid antigen tests and PRC, Polymerase Chain Rection tests. Fees apply.

Oakland International Airport (OAK) will begin offering free, rapid-result COVID-19 tests to employees and the public beginning Oct. 6. An expansion of the program is planned for October 15, when travel to Hawaii reopens.

JetBlue Airways will begin offering flyers an at-home COVID-19 saliva test via provider Vault Health. Fees apply.

And American Airlines announced it is working with several foreign governments to offer pre-flight COVID-19 tests for customers flying to international destinations.

The program starts in October with flights from Miami International Airport to Jamaica for residents returning home and for flights to the Bahamas.

There are plans to expand to other markets soon.

For American’s domestic flights from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) to both Honolulu (HNL) and Maui (OGG), the airline is working with a vendor offering several testing options, including onsite rapid testing at DFW airport. Fees apply.

No doubt other airlines and airports will be rolling out COVID-19 test programs soon. But already the offerings are confusing and, in many cases, costly. Here’s hoping some sort of consistency evolves in the next few months.

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One thought on “Newest airport amenity? Pre-flight COVID-19 testing.

  1. Rich McClear says:

    Many Alaska airports like Anchorage and Sitka and Juneau offer free Covid testing for Alaska residents arriving and Covid testing for a fee for others on arrival

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