American Airlines to launch pre-flight COVID-19 testing for international travel markets

Published on : Wednesday, September 30, 2020

American Airlines recently decided to collaborate with several foreign governments to begin offering pre-flight COVID-19 testing for customers travelling to international destinations as a part of its ongoing effort to help protect customer health and safety, inspire confidence in air travel and advance the industry’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The action is likely to begin with flights to Jamaica and the Bahamas.

American has reached agreement with Jamaica to launch an initial testing program at its Miami International Airport (MIA) hub next month. The initial phase of testing will be for Jamaican residents traveling to their home country. If a passenger tests negative for COVID-19 ahead of flying with American, the 14-day quarantine currently in place for returning Jamaican residents would be waived. The objective of the initiative is to open the testing protocol following a successful pilot program for all passengers traveling to Jamaica, including U.S. citizens.

On the other hand, American also has started working with the Bahamas and CARICOM to launch similar testing programs that would allow travel to the region. American’s next international program will be with the Bahamas and is expected to launch next month. The carrier would be providing the details of the action in Bahamas soon. The airline also plans to expand the program to additional markets in the weeks and months ahead. As its initial pre-flight testing programs begin to launch, American is also actively engaged with CARICOM, an integrated grouping of 20 Caribbean countries, about expanding the program to additional Caribbean markets.

Beginning next month, American will offer three options for pre-flight testing to customers with flights from DFW to Honolulu (HNL) and Maui (OGG) that includes at-home test from LetsGetChecked, observed by a medical professional via virtual visit, with results expected in 48 hours on average. In-person testing at a CareNow urgent care location or an Onsite rapid testing, administered by CareNow, at DFW.  Testing must be completed within 72 hours of the final leg of departure. Travelers who test negative will be exempt from the state’s 14-day quarantine.

Robert Isom, President, American Airlines said in a statement that the pandemic has changed the airline business in unexpected ways and the entire American Airlines team has eagerly tackled the challenge of reimagining the way a safe, healthy and enjoyable travel experience could be delivered to customers. He also mentioned that the airline’s plan for this initial phase of pre-flight testing reflects the ingenuity and care the team is putting into rebuilding confidence in air travel, and shared that the company view it as an important step in its work to accelerate an eventual recovery of demand.

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