January 31

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COVID-19 Airline Procedures Update

By Jeramie Eginoire

January 31, 2021


There have been many questions following the announcement of mandatory COVID-19 testing prior to boarding a flight entering the United States as well as an Executive Order mandating the adherence to CDC recommended quarantine lengths of time. As a result, many COVID-19 airline procedures have evolved to meet the new requirements. 

Below is a breakdown of the known policies/procedures of some major airlines. Also included are links to each airline's COVID-19 FAQ pages in case you needed more details. While the Federal requirements are the same, each individual airline may have different procedures to meet those requirements. It is strongly advised to check the particular airline's policy that you intend to use. This page will be updated as new procedures are revealed.

Major U.S. Airlines COVID-19 Airline Procedures

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines requires paper or digital proof of a negative COVID-19 test. The test can either be NAAT or antigen and must be obtained within three days of departure. A completed CDC attestation form is also required. 

Alaska Airlines has provided a "Covid testing for Alaska flyers" page that provides resources to obtain tests as well as regional testing requirements.

Allegiant Air

Allegiant does not fly internationally.  At this time, there are no changes or requirements to the domestic routes Allegiant flies. They have information on their "Travel Alerts" page. If this information changes, it will be updated here.

American Airlines

With the exception of children under 2 years old, all passengers (U.S. citizens included) must provide documentation of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of departure. Alternatively, passengers may provide proof of recovery. 

American Airlines has provided a COVID-19 Travel Updates page that highlights requirements and answers most FAQs. 

Delta Airlines

COVID-19 Airline Procedures pic

Delta Air Lines requires all customers entering the U.S. (whether entering or connecting through) who are 2 years old and over to provide proof of a negative COVID test taken within three days of departure. An attestation form confirming negative results must also be signed and submitted.

Delta has a page titled "U.S. COVID-19 Testing Entry Requirements for International Travel". This page is very thorough and provides a great place to answer most of your questions regarding your Delta flight. 

Frontier Airlines

Every traveler 2 years of age or older must provide negative test results that have been taken within three days of departure. Documentation reflecting negative test results must also include the traveler's name and date of birth, as well as the date the specimen was collected. An attestation form must also be printed and brought with you to the airport. More information can be found on Frontier's "Travel Advisory" page.

Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines has implemented a "pre-clearing" program for passengers departing from some U.S. mainland cities to Hawaii. This program will allow passengers with negative COVID-19 test results to bypass the screening process when arriving in Hawaii. You can also find more about entry requirements to Hawaii on the State of Hawaii COVID-19 resource page.

Southwest Airlines

To board a Southwest Airlines flight, passengers must provide evidence of qualifying COVID-19 negative viral test results or recovery from COVID-19. Documentation could include physical or electronic evidence that a negative test result was taken within three calendar days preceding the flight, or, a letter on letterhead stating recovery from COVID and signed by a licensed healthcare provider or pubic health official.

Southwest provides a "Coronavirus (COVID-19) Travel Information" page that provides updated news, requirements, and procedures as well as info regarding cancellations. The page also goes into detail about destinations that are open but have entry requirements as well as destinations that are currently experiencing travel disruptions.

Spirit Airlines

Like the other airlines following the new Federal requirements, Spirit requires every traveler entering the U.S.--who are 2 years or older--to provide negative test results from within three days prior to the flight. More information on Spirit's requirements and mitigation efforts can be found on their "COVID-19 Information Center" page.

United Airlines

United Airlines has provided a Travel-Ready Center to answer most of your questions regarding how they are handling the new requirements, but it is primarily after you have booked a trip. More readily available information prior to be booking can be found on their "what to expect when you fly" page.

The "what to expect when you fly" page is a great resource and will answer many questions that have been asked several times, such as, "if I have been vaccinated, do I need to provide a negative test". (Spoiler alert: the answer is YES, you must provide a negative test even after being vaccinated). 

Foreign Airlines COVID-19 Airline Procedures

Air Tahiti Nui

Testing will be available in Papeete, at the expense of the traveler. Requirements and procedures for leaving Tahiti and entering the U.S. can be found on the Islands of Tahiti tourism page. Additionally, possible options for testing prior to departure can be found HERE.

British Airways

British Airways requires passengers boarding for travel to the United Kingdom as well as passengers boarding for travel to the U.S. to present valid proof of negative test results taken within three days of departure. An online "Passenger Locator Form" will also need to be completed.  More information can be found on the United Kingdom International Travel resource page.

Emirates

Emirates requires passengers boarding for travel to Dubai from any point of origin (GCC included), as well as passengers boarding for travel to the U.S. to present a negative PCR test certificate. The test must have been taken within three days of departure. Emirates provides a "Travel Requirements by Destination" page to help answer any questions. Simply follow the link and scroll down to North America and select the United States option for updated information.

Conclusion to COVID-19 Airline Procedures

Many decisions regarding international and domestic travel are yet to come. We have not seen the end of new, and sometimes confusing, policies and procedures. Any new updates will be provided on this page but be sure to check with each airline to ensure that you are familiar with their respective policies and procedures in real-time. Keep in mind that extra time at the airport may be necessary during check-in, so arrive at a time that won't put you at risk for missing your flight. Also, don't forget to subscribe at the bottom of this page and follow on social media to receive more important updates as they become available.

Stay safe and hang in there! 

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