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UA Pre-flight COVID Testing for SFO-Hawai'i (and other destinations)

UA Pre-flight COVID Testing for SFO-Hawai'i (and other destinations)

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Old Dec 3, 20, 3:29 am   -   Wikipost
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Last edit by: WineCountryUA
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For general discussion of the Hawai'i test-out program and /or discussion of non-UA partners (CVS, Walgreens, your local provider, ....), please use COVID-19 - 14-Day Trans-Pac Arrivals Quarantine/Oct. 15 [Target] Pre-Arrival Test-Out

United Airlines Becomes First U.S. Carrier to Make COVID-19 Tests Available to Customers
1) Day of Travel Rapid Test option
GoHealth Urgent Care will offer at airport COVID testing for UA passengers traveling to Hawaii starting Oct 15 photos

Appointments ??? Hawaii SFO COVID-19 Testing ??? (unverified)

Originally Posted by bluedemon211 View Post
I watched an interview with a representative from the testing company on Fox News today. The takeaways I got were:

- Test will be administered land side, not airside
- Part of the "agreement" is that a positive test will be shared with the local health authority and you will be unable to get through security, let alone board a plane
- The results are NOT shared with UA (or subsequently any other airline partner).
-A positive test will get you sent home if you are local or into local quarantine if not
- The test and paperwork take less than 20 minutes to process and get a result
- The intent is to expand to other airports and other airlines once the pilot is successfully rolled out
- There was no discussion of cost
- Connecting passengers would need to go landside for the test. If the test is positive UA would be notified to offload bags if necessary. That is the only "involvement" with UA

Those were the salient points that I remember. Others who saw the interview please add anything I missed.
2) Advance of Travel Option (The latest word is Hawai'i will not accept the mail-in option at this time -- change of mind?)
  • 10 days in advance request a physician-ordered Self-Collection Test from Color and return no earlier than 72 hours of travel (arrival to Hawai'i?) via overnight mail or to a dropbox at SFO.
  • Color then processes those tests at their local, CLIA-certified COVID-19 testing laboratory and returns results via text and/or email within 24-48 hours.
  • Present cost is $80 (paid to the tester - Color)
Update
3) Drive thru test at SFO in advance of travel
Color has opened an (qualifying) in-person drive-thru testing site in a United Airlines parking lot right outside of SFO. $105
United Airlines COVID-19 testing program

United Airlines is partnering with Color to enable fast, reliable test results for people traveling directly out of San Francisco International Airport to Hawaii starting October 15, 2020.

If you are traveling to Hawaii on a direct United flight out of SFO, you should expect an email from United seven (7) days before your scheduled flight. Please contact United for more information at 1-800-864-8331 (1-800-UNITED-1).
Customers taking the drive-through test option administered by Color can schedule an appointment in advance online and should make the appointment for 48-72 hours before their flight departs. Walk-in appointments will not be available. Once a customer takes the test, they will receive an electronic copy of their results in 24-48 hours. The testing facility is located at United's San Francisco Maintenance Center parking lot at 800 S Airport Blvd a short drive away from the airport. Customers must take the test within 72 hours of their flight's departure and will receive their results electronically.
appointment link


For more non-airline specific info on Hawaii's test-out and quarantine programs, see
COVID-19 - 14-Day Trans-Pac Arrivals Quarantine/Oct. 15 [Target] Pre-Arrival Test-Out

Other carrier options
Hawaiian to offer drive-through testing at sites near SFO and LAX - $90 for results w/i 36 hours, $150 day of travel.

Oakland Airport will offer free COVID-19 tests for Hawaii-bound travelers (Oct. 15th)

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Old Oct 15, 20, 11:25 am
  #241  
nnn
 
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Would be great if they open up the testing for passengers to other United destinations as well -- e.g., Costa Rica.
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Old Oct 15, 20, 12:37 pm
  #242  
 
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Originally Posted by nnn View Post
Would be great if they open up the testing for passengers to other United destinations as well -- e.g., Costa Rica.
I am sure they will, in time. I think other countries (and possibly states, I suppose) will start to require pre-travel testing. I could see it being a common international travel requirement until vaccines are widely available and used.
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Old Oct 15, 20, 1:26 pm
  #243  
 
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For those flying to Hawaii on United today and in the days ahead, I'd be curious what Hawaii-specific announcements they make in the boarding area and on-board, if any, to prepare you for what's in store upon landing.

Do they remind everyone to complete the Safe Traveler form on their electronic device before boarding?

For people traveling to Kona or Hilo, do they point out you'll be arrested at the airport for not completing mandatory COVID testing upon landing?

Before COVID, I encountered many UA flights to the islands that weren't very compliant with the old agricultural declaration form process. There were many times in the 6 months before COVID where we flew without paperwork on-board, only to be stuck on the plane/ramp upon landing for an agent to deliver the paperwork for people to fill-out before deplaning. With threats of arrest for not having a QR code, getting a second test, and the overall new/unique travel process, I'm curious what UA is doing above/beyond texting/emailing people to get a test before departure.
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Old Oct 15, 20, 1:42 pm
  #244  
 
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When Hawaii announced they would accept a negative antigen test to avoid the 14-day quarantine, I started planning for a 16 Oct departure. For the previous 3 months, I had been moving this SFO-HNL trip forward on the Calendar anticipating when Hawaii might open.

In late Sept, when United announced they would offer testing, I went into planning/action mode. :-) At that point, United (even Global Services) was fairly useless in providing information regarding their arrangement with Color (their testing vendor), appointments, mail-in kits, etc., etc. To circumvent their disorganization and misinformation, I signed up for a free Color test at a local site in San Francisco approximately 10 days before the scheduled flight, but within the 72-hr period. In addition, after much checking United's/Color online information and final receiving an email from United, I secured an appointment (and I took the last appointment that was available within my 72-hr period; though, likely other times became available, but I don't know that for sure) at the drive-in location in the old long-term parking lot location near SFO. The free city Color test swab was taken at 1 PM (yesterday) and the swab at the United/Color drive-in site was done at 3 PM (yesterday). (At the United/Color location, you swab your own nose.) The United/Color result (negative) arrived in my inbox at approximately 9 AM this morning and the free city test result (negative) arrived at 11 AM this morning. I then went to travel.hawaii.gov to fill out the necessary form(s) and was provided information on what I'll need upon arrival (e.g., a QR number, evidence of my hotel, and return flight information).

Through this entire process, it's the timing of the test you'll have to navigate and since the available slots seem to appear and disappear, you have to plan ahead and proactively keep checking. Believe me, I'm not anxious to get to HNL, but a friend isn't doing well health-wise (unrelated to COVID-19) and the isolation hasn't helped. For him, I'm fine jumping through the hoops. But, according to him, nothing is open in Waikiki so unless you need to "get away," the process isn't worth the aggravation. I recognize we're in a pandemic and life is very different, but HNL has never been a destination for me. BUT, Honolulu is driven by tourism and a few casual/distant friends in Honolulu haven't worked in a long time and their jobs may or may not return. Call me anything, but it's important to support economies that depend upon tourism during the pandemic. At least, as much as you can.

Last edited by SFO_UGS; Oct 15, 20 at 1:59 pm
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Old Oct 15, 20, 2:02 pm
  #245  
 
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Originally Posted by SFO_UGS View Post
The free city Color test swab was taken at 1 PM (yesterday) and the swab at the United/Color drive-in site was done at 3 PM (yesterday). (At the United/Color location, you swab your own nose.) The United/Color result (negative) arrived in my inbox at approximately 9 AM this morning and the free city test result (negative) arrived at 11 AM this morning. I then went to travel.hawaii.gov to fill out the necessary form(s) and was provided information on what I'll need upon arrival (e.g., a QR number, evidence of my hotel, and return flight information).

But, according to him, nothing is open in Waikiki so unless you need to "get away," the process isn't worth the aggravation.
Encouraging data points on the turnaround times for the Color test. I'll be at SFO about 48 hours for my flight to HNL and 24 hour turnaround works.

There will be plenty of things open in Waikiki for shopping. All bars and gyms on Oahu closed until at least December - mask required in restaurants unless actually eating/drinking
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Old Oct 15, 20, 2:26 pm
  #246  
 
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Just saw on one of the local SF TV stations an interview with a lady who was flying to HNL today. She claims to have arrived at the airport not knowing she had to get an appointment for a test...was able to get a test without too much problem. She used the downstairs International Terminal site.
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Old Oct 18, 20, 2:55 am
  #247  
 
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Originally Posted by SFO_UGS View Post
When Hawaii announced they would accept a negative antigen test to avoid the 14-day quarantine, I started planning for a 16 Oct departure. For the previous 3 months, I had been moving this SFO-HNL trip forward on the Calendar anticipating when Hawaii might open.

In late Sept, when United announced they would offer testing, I went into planning/action mode. :-) At that point, United (even Global Services) was fairly useless in providing information regarding their arrangement with Color (their testing vendor), appointments, mail-in kits, etc., etc. To circumvent their disorganization and misinformation, I signed up for a free Color test at a local site in San Francisco approximately 10 days before the scheduled flight, but within the 72-hr period. In addition, after much checking United's/Color online information and final receiving an email from United, I secured an appointment (and I took the last appointment that was available within my 72-hr period; though, likely other times became available, but I don't know that for sure) at the drive-in location in the old long-term parking lot location near SFO. The free city Color test swab was taken at 1 PM (yesterday) and the swab at the United/Color drive-in site was done at 3 PM (yesterday). (At the United/Color location, you swab your own nose.) The United/Color result (negative) arrived in my inbox at approximately 9 AM this morning and the free city test result (negative) arrived at 11 AM this morning. I then went to travel.hawaii.gov to fill out the necessary form(s) and was provided information on what I'll need upon arrival (e.g., a QR number, evidence of my hotel, and return flight information).

Through this entire process, it's the timing of the test you'll have to navigate and since the available slots seem to appear and disappear, you have to plan ahead and proactively keep checking. Believe me, I'm not anxious to get to HNL, but a friend isn't doing well health-wise (unrelated to COVID-19) and the isolation hasn't helped. For him, I'm fine jumping through the hoops. But, according to him, nothing is open in Waikiki so unless you need to "get away," the process isn't worth the aggravation. I recognize we're in a pandemic and life is very different, but HNL has never been a destination for me. BUT, Honolulu is driven by tourism and a few casual/distant friends in Honolulu haven't worked in a long time and their jobs may or may not return. Call me anything, but it's important to support economies that depend upon tourism during the pandemic. At least, as much as you can.
Would appreciate this as a useful dp...
AS just cancelled my SFO to Honolulu direct flight and now I am stuck with transiting through Seattle with how much the other flights are.
AS doesn't have any testing partners with the scheduled change. I​​​​​​ am planning to take the free SF city test through Color in DT SF with the reputable <72 hr turn around time.
Can you share whether the reports from both the free city test and the United partnered test look the same? I wanted to make sure that Hawaii will also accept the free city test report (since it's still administered by Color) even though I am not getting it through United. Thanks!
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Old Oct 18, 20, 6:50 am
  #248  
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Im doing a test 3pm today at a CVS in Houston for a morning departure Wednesday ORD-HNL. Will post CVS efficiency, any in-flight UA pre-arrival announcements, and HNL/OGG arrival experiences (HNL on UA and OGG on HA).

Last edited by IAH-OIL-TRASH; Oct 18, 20 at 6:55 am
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Old Oct 18, 20, 9:40 am
  #249  
 
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Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH View Post
Im doing a test 3pm today at a CVS in Houston for a morning departure Wednesday ORD-HNL. Will post CVS efficiency, any in-flight UA pre-arrival announcements, and HNL/OGG arrival experiences (HNL on UA and OGG on HA).
Thank you! Many of us here in Houston appreciate that.
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Old Oct 18, 20, 12:10 pm
  #250  
 
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Originally Posted by SFO_UGS View Post
When Hawaii announced they would accept a negative antigen test to avoid the 14-day quarantine, I started planning for a 16 Oct departure. For the previous 3 months, I had been moving this SFO-HNL trip forward on the Calendar anticipating when Hawaii might open.

In late Sept, ...................
Upon arrival into HNL, I was at the front of the airplane. As we came into the gate area, a man with a large placard of a QR code waved you left if you had a QR code and right if you didn't. I moved left. Another flight had also landed so we all merged toward the waiting, make-shift, long tables. (I counted 9 tables with 2 in-take processors per table.) I was about the 15th person in line - it moved quickly. My process did not go as smoothly as others. It's clear those checking your documentation are in training or recently trained. My processor (male, maybe mid-to late 20's) didn't speak English very well, but that's OK. We were able to get through it. He asked for my QR code (which I displayed on my phone) and then my ID (I used my driver's license). He asked me where I was staying (a hotel, but didn't request the confirmation or documentation) and how long (3 nights). He then asked for my testing documentation. I was going to ask him "Doesn't it show up on your iPad," but I let it go. I handed him my print-out from Color. He looked at the document, then he looked at his list of preferred providers, and then back at the document. He did this several times. He couldn't find the word "Color" on my document (it was in black and white). I pointed it out, he checked his list, and then, he started using his phone. I thought he was calling for assistance, but he called the number I had on my paperwork, which was my back-up cell phone. He looked at his phone and motioned to me. I had no idea what he wanted. Then, he turned around his iPad and asked if the number in the paperwork was mine. I said it's my other phone, reached into my backpack, and he rang that phone. My process was complete. I was waved on through. In total, it took about 3-4 minutes.

At the rental car desk, I was asked if I was under the 14-day quarantine as she handed me my keys. I said "no," accepted the keys, and walked to my rental vehicle. No paperwork was asked or offered.

Upon arrival at the hotel, I had to login into travel.hawaii.gov to show that the paperwork review indicated I had a negative antigen test. Personally, I dislike using my phone upon demand because you never know if the signal will be strong enough to login. It was this time. But, check-in, overall, was a bit maddening. Again, with the original desk attendant, English was not his primary language so communication was challenging. Another person at the desk stepped in and offered assistance.

Most people are wearing their masks; very few are not. Masks are required in stores, shops, etc. They can be removed once seated at a restaurant. It could be my sensitive nature, but the people in the shops are much nicer than on previous visits prior to the pandemic. Though, restaurant service is bad. I've been to 3 restaurants and service has been abysmal. I don't know if they're short-handed (likely) or untrained (the maitre d was our wait-person in one establishment), but it's been fairly slow, missing food items, items we didn't order, overcooked food, and getting a refill on water was next to impossible. Since some tables are blocked and you have less people, I don't understand why service is challenging. But, you just go with it.

On this trip, the weather is miserable. I hate humidity! :-) But I was able to see my friend and his health (unrelated to COVID-19) and spirit are much improved since my last visit. The process was worth it for that reason.

Originally Posted by greenteamuimui View Post
Can you share whether the reports from both the free city test and the United partnered test look the same? I wanted to make sure that Hawaii will also accept the free city test report (since it's still administered by Color) even though I am not getting it through United. Thanks!
The report (the document with your test results) from the free city testing site (managed by Color) and the United partner at the long-term parking lot (also managed by Color) were exactly the same.

The document is agnostic as to whether the test result was obtained through the city of SF or United. In other words, "City of SF" or "United" do not show up on the document/report.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Oct 18, 20 at 1:48 pm Reason: merged consecutive posts by same member
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Old Oct 18, 20, 12:49 pm
  #251  
 
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Originally Posted by SFO_UGS View Post
The report (the document with your test results) from the free city testing site (managed by Color) and the United partner at the long-term parking lot (also managed by Color) were exactly the same.

The document is agnostic as to whether the test result was obtained through the city of SF or United. In other words, "City of SF" or "United" do not show up on the document/report.
Are you saying you need to have a printed document with your test results? As opposed to just the QR? Do you leave that printed document with anybody during the arrival process? I ask because are are likely to use the SFO location the day prior to flight, and will just have the email. Would have to figure out a location to log on and print out an e mail or attached document.
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Old Oct 18, 20, 4:57 pm
  #252  
 
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Originally Posted by BlueZebra View Post
Are you saying you need to have a printed document with your test results? As opposed to just the QR? Do you leave that printed document with anybody during the arrival process? I ask because are are likely to use the SFO location the day prior to flight, and will just have the email. Would have to figure out a location to log on and print out an e mail or attached document.
No, I am not saying you "need" a printed document. I stated what I did. Since finding anything on my phone is a challenge, hard-copies are easier (for me) to present. No, I did not leave the printed document with anyone during the arrival process. I took it with me.
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Old Oct 18, 20, 9:18 pm
  #253  
azj
 
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Does any of this testing data get transmitted to the airlines? I've been curious if there are extra checks and balances between the testing and the carriage of passenger and the arrival procedures in Hawaii. I'd be shocked if there was sharing of personal data, but Covid seems to have upended all kinds of norms.
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Old Oct 18, 20, 9:27 pm
  #254  
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Originally Posted by azj View Post
Does any of this testing data get transmitted to the airlines? ....
From a previous post (and noted on the thread's wiki)
Originally Posted by bluedemon211 View Post
I watched an interview with a representative from the testing company on Fox News today. The takeaways I got were:

-....
- Part of the "agreement" is that a positive test will be shared with the local health authority and you will be unable to get through security, let alone board a plane
- The results are NOT shared with UA (or subsequently any other airline partner).
-A positive test will get you sent home if you are local or into local quarantine if not
- .....
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Old Oct 19, 20, 5:55 am
  #255  
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Originally Posted by SFO_UGS View Post
No, I am not saying you "need" a printed document. I stated what I did. Since finding anything on my phone is a challenge, hard-copies are easier (for me) to present. No, I did not leave the printed document with anyone during the arrival process. I took it with me.
The Hawaii Safe Travels site allows uploading of documents to your account, which one should have already established and populated with the arrival flight info. It looks pretty easy to upload a document (assuming test results come in a compatible format). Once that is done, the arrival processor will have all the info he/she needs by scanning the QR code (aside from ID check). The Safe Travel site also documents your contact information, place of accommodation, and departure date.
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Last edited by IAH-OIL-TRASH; Oct 19, 20 at 6:13 am
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