United Airlines was first out of the gate announcing coronavirus testing at the San Francisco airport for passengers headed to Hawaii. Starting October 15, Hawaii will allow a negative Covid test within 72 hours of arrival to exempt a passenger from 14 day quarantine.
Hawaiian Airlines quickly followed suit with their own testing. American Airlines, getting left behind, announced a Dallas project and gathered up other pilot efforts and discussions to make a release that goes even farther, talking about how airport testing could open up new destinations.
Oakland airport even announced free testing for passengers headed to Hawaii, a competitive differentiator that could encourage passengers to fly from there over San Francisco or San Jose when visiting Hawaii.
Alaska Airlines, with its major West Coast presence, has a substantial Hawaii operation. So they’ve had to announce their own passenger testing option as well. And it’s basically ‘go get a test before your flight’.
- No airport testing
- Instead they’re ‘partnering’ with a Seattle downtown clinic
- So passengers can go to a clinic and get a rapid test for $135
- Tests are by appointment and results still take two hours, not 15 minutes
It’s not clear how this is ‘better’ than what passengers would do on their own.
Meanwhile Alaska says their partner will have “additional pop-up and full-service clinics for rapid COVID-19 testing” in other cities as Alaska resumes Hawaii service from Portland, San Jose, and San Diego November 1.
Alaska needed to announce something, I suppose, and they’ve announce something. But rapid tests that are administered downtown, take two hours for results, and cost $135 isn’t the sort of advance we’re seeing elsewhere. It’s not the convenience or price that holds the potential to really re-open travel, the way other airlines are promoting efforts might. Someone in Seattle missed the memo. Of course Southwest and Delta haven’t announced anything yet. Maybe that’s better and they’ll do it right.