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American Expands COVID-19 Pre-Flight Tests to New Cities and Destinations

American Expands COVID-19 Pre-Flight Tests to New Cities and Destinations
Joe Cortez

American Airlines will soon offer pre-flight COVID-19 testing to a set of new destinations, with the goal of encouraging flyers to board their aircraft once again. Throughout the month of November 2020, the airline will begin offering testing solutions to those traveling to Belize, Grenada, St. Lucia and Hawaii.

After successfully launching pre-flight COVID-19 testing options for travelers, American Airlines is expanding their plan to include four new destinations. The airline announced that starting on Nov. 16, 2020, flyers traveling to four new destinations can get at-home PCR exams prior to travel.

COVID-19 Testing Expanded to Belize, Grenada, St. Lucia and the Hawaiian Islands

The four new routes getting at-home COVID-19 exams include Belize, Grenada, St. Lucia and Hawaii. While Hawaii currently allows those presenting a negative result from an approved exam to bypass the state’s mandatory 14-day quarantine period, the three tourist destinations are new for American Airlines flyers. As of the time of publishing, the test requirements for the international destinations are:

  • Belize: Travelers 6 years old and up must complete PCR testing within 72 hours of departure.
  • Grenada: Testing must be completed within 7 days prior to departure.
  • Lucia: Travelers 5 years and older must complete testing within 7 days of departure. Customers cannot board flights to St. Lucia without presenting a negative test result. Pre-arrival registration is mandatory; flyers should visit stlucia.org for the latest information on travel restrictions and quarantine requirements.

The Fort-Worth based airline is currently offering tests to flyers departing for all three destinations from their hub at Miami International Airport (MIA). However, the carrier plans to restart flights to the tourist locations from three additional hubs: Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), and Philadelphia International Airport (PHL). Testing is expected to be offered to those flyers once service resumes.

For Hawaii-bound flyers, additional cities will get access to the at-home PCR test. The airline will expand testing to those departing from ORD and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX).

The test kits will be provided by American’s health partner, LetsGetChecked. The tests range from $109 to $129 per person, based on the flyer’s destination. FlyerTalk took the LetsGetChecked exam, which includes a nasal swab, and found it to be a reasonable experience.

American Offers More COVID-19 Tests, Trying to Win Back Flyers

According to the airline, once the new testing options are in place, American will offer more COVID-19 testing than any other U.S. based carrier. JetBlue also offers flyers the opportunity to order a COVID-19 test before their flight, but their options are not tied to any particular region – the test is open to everyone with a ticket.

“Our initial preflight testing has performed remarkably well, including terrific customer feedback about the ease and availability of testing options,” Robert Isom, president of American, said in a press release. “This next phase is an invigorating step forward in American’s relentless pursuit of reopening international travel and driving industry recovery while delivering a safe and positive travel experience.”

The move is the latest attempt for American to bring travelers back to the skies. In October 2020, the airline announced they would reduce elite status requirements in their loyalty program, American AAdvantage.

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