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Do You Need a COVID-19 Test to Fly in 2022? Many U.S. Airlines Start to Offer Tests for Passengers

Do You Need a COVID-19 Test to Fly in 2022? Many U.S. Airlines Start to Offer Tests for Passengers

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Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

From implementing HEPA filters to blocking middle seats, airlines implemented dozens of measures to enhance the cleanliness and safety of their planes during the coronavirus pandemic. To instill confidence in travelers, several airlines have partnered with testing providers to offer various coronavirus testing methods.

All international travelers returning to the U.S. will need to present a negative test result before flying, regardless of their vaccination status. This test must be taken no more than one day before the date of travel.

Five of the seven major domestic airlines have introduced COVID-19 testing options for their passengers, particularly for flying to Hawaii and many international destinations. While most of these tests will cost you a pretty penny, the added convenience and quick turnaround times could make flying during the pandemic easier for travelers. While you can still book your own test before traveling, scheduling a test through your airline can save you lots of time and effort.

Do I need a COVID-19 test to fly domestic?

The CDC has updated its recommendations, stating that vaccinated travelers flying domestically do not need to get tested prior to travel. It's suggested that unvaccinated travelers flying within the U.S. should get tested one to three days prior to travel.

Savvy traveler tip: If you're traveling domestically, check local government regulations for your destination to see if proof of a negative test is required upon arrival.
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What to know about international travel testing requirements

Nearly every country now requires a negative COVID-19 test and/or proof of vaccination for entry. Each destination has its own testing requirements, and some can be quite complicated, so you'll want to check ahead of time to make sure you have what you need before you go.

As of Dec. 6, 2021, all travelers to the United States from any foreign country are required to show a negative COVID-19 viral test result taken no more than one day before travel in order to board your flight. Alternatively, you can show documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days. These requirements are in place for every traveler, regardless of citizenship or vaccination status.

How to get a COVID-19 test for travel

If you need to take a COVID-19 test before flying, there are more testing options than ever before. Many airlines have made it easier to find a test before travel, as more destinations require proof of a negative result upon arrival — or even before you board.

You can also schedule a test outside of the options offered by your airline. Many drug stores, urgent care facilities and hospitals offer coronavirus testing, and in many cases, it comes free of charge. You could save a lot of money by coordinating your own tests, especially if you're traveling in groups. However, keep these factors in mind when scheduling your COVID-19 test:

  • Check age requirements. If you're traveling with children, they may be exempt from taking a COVID-19 test for travel. You'll want to confirm the minimum age required to take a test.
  • Know when your results arrive. When you're taking a coronavirus test, time is of the essence. There will be a specific timeframe for taking your test and receiving results, so you'll want to make sure your results will come back on time.
  • Make sure that your destination approves the test. There are several types of tests out there, including rapid antigen and PCR. You'll want to make sure your destination approves of the specific test you're taking — otherwise, you may have to take another test or even face a mandatory quarantine. For example, many destinations do not accept antibody testing as an official test.
  • Confirm travel restrictions. Some destinations still don't accept any international travelers without a formal quarantine. Ensure that proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test results are sufficient for entry into the state or country you're visiting.
  • Schedule your appointment as early as possible. While testing options are certainly not as limited as before, slots will still be limited. You'll want to schedule your appointment as soon as you've booked your travel plans.

For the most accurate information, confirm with the tourism board and any official government resources from your destination to get a COVID-19 test for travel.

Does travel insurance cover pandemic-related travel costs?

Use a credit card with trip interruption insurance when paying for flights, hotels or other travel purchases; card travel insurance could reimburse you for unforeseen costs due to coronavirus.

Some credit cards may reimburse some travel expenses if you need to change or cancel a trip due to COVID-19 — especially when you aren't able to cancel through your airline. Your card's insurance policy also may protect you and other travelers on your itinerary from unexpected costs incurred while traveling and falling sick, in case you need hospitalization, air transportation to a hospital or to extend your stay due to quarantine (be sure to read your card's benefits guide to understand what is and isn't covered by your policy.)

The following cards offer robust travel insurance policies.

Card
Trip Interruption/Trip Cancellation Insurance
Annual Fee
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
On Chase's Secure Website
Up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip$550
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
On Chase's Secure Website
Up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip$95
The Platinum Card® from American Express
See Rates & Fees. Terms Apply. On American Express' Secure Website
See terms$695 ( )

Alaska Airlines coronavirus testing

Alaska Airlines has partnered with several testing providers, offering at-home, in-person and drive-through options. Head to their site for the partners approved by the State of Hawaii's pre-travel testing program.

Alaska Airlines offers a number of options for at-home testing:

Azova

Azova offers travelers two at-home testing options, one for pre-travel and one for returning to the U.S.:

  • At-home RT-PCR test kits. These kits meet the Hawaii Safe Travels requirements and can only be mailed to U.S. addresses. Tests cost $115 and you can expect your results within 12 to 36 hours of lab receipt. To ensure availability, you'll need to make your video observation appointment at least one week in advance of your trip.
  • At-home antigen kits kits. These kits are for travelers returning to the U.S. from a foreign country, and can only be mailed to U.S. addresses. This is an at-home antigen test with video observation which gets mailed to your home address before your trip, and costs $50. You'll need to bring the kit with you on your trip and make sure to schedule a video observation three days before returning to the U.S. You'll receive a valid test result and Covid Credential.

Costco

Costco offers saliva-based at-home testing kits for travelers ages five and up. These kits meet the Hawaii Safe Travels requirements.

  • These tests cost $118.99 when you order online and receive through UPS overnight delivery, and $114.99 when you pick up your test at participating Costco pharmacies.
  • Tests are administered with a video observation appointment and must be dropped off at UPS before the overnight shipping cutoff time — with results in 12 to 48 hours.
  • Alaska recommends that you purchase these tests at least one to two weeks before your trip to ensure that you can confirm a video appointment slot.

Alaska Airlines has partnered with Carbon Health and Azova to offer in-person priority testing for Alaska flyers. These tests meet the Hawaii Safe Travels requirements.

Azova

Azova offers in-person testing options in your destination before returning to the U.S.

  • Clinic testing in Mexico and Costa Rica: To ensure availability, be sure to make your appointment at least one week in advance.
    • Rapid antigen tests cost $44 USD plus local VAT and you can expect results in one to two hours.
    • PCR tests cost $125 USD plus local VAT and you can expect results in two to 72 hours.
  • Concierge service in Mexico and Costa Rica: You can receive COVID-19 testing at your hotel or office before reentering the U.S. To ensure availability, make your appointment at least one week in advance.
    • Rapid antigen tests cost $99 USD plus local VAT and you can expect your results in under three hours.
    • PCR tests cost $179 USD plus local VAT and you can expect your results in under 24 hours.

Carbon Health

These tests are only available to Alaska Airlines travelers and require an appointment. While both Rapid NAAT and RT-PCR are valid for travel to Hawaii, **RT-PCR **is recommended for international travel.

  • Carbon Health tests cost anywhere from $135 to $165, and you will need to schedule your appointment in advance.
  • You'll receive same or next-day results at all their testing sites:
    • Seattle
    • Los Angeles
    • Portland
    • San Diego
    • San Jose

American Airlines coronavirus testing

American Airlines was among the first airlines to introduce testing as part of the preflight process, and currently offers at-home and in-person testing for its passengers. You will upload your test results to VeriFLY, a secure mobile app which helps streamline this and other AA preflight travel requirements.

American Airlines does not require COVID-19 testing for domestic flights, although the CDC recommends unvaccinated travelers get tested one to three days before traveling. Check local government regulations before domestic travel to determine if a test is required.

For international flights, testing requirements vary depending on the location. Make sure you check American Airlines' website and your destination's tourism board prior to your trip. Some places require a negative test result within 72 hours of departure, while others have a seven-day window.

{"backgroundColor":"ice","content":"\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003EAmerican Airlines does not require COVID-19 testing for domestic flights, although \u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" rel=\"nofollow noopener\" target=\"_blank\" title=\"Domestic Travel During COVID-19\" href=\"https:\/\/www.cdc.gov\/coronavirus\/2019-ncov\/travelers\/travel-during-covid19.html\"\u003Ethe CDC recommends unvaccinated travelers get tested one to three days before traveling\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E. Check local government regulations before domestic travel to determine if a test is required.\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003EFor international flights, testing requirements vary depending on the location. Make sure you check American Airlines' website and your destination's tourism board prior to your trip. Some places require a negative test result within 72 hours of departure, while others have a seven-day window.\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E","padding":"double"}

LetsGetChecked

American has partnered with LetsGetChecked to administer at-home PCR tests.

  • These tests have a 48-hour turnaround time and will be followed up with a virtual visit by a medical professional.
  • You can purchase an at-home test kit for $119. It's recommended that you purchase your test at least five days before departure.
  • Test kits can only be delivered to a U.S. address.

CareNow

  • Select flights are eligible for testing at any of the 150+ CareNow clinics in the U.S.
  • Both rapid and PCR tests are offered
  • Rapid tests costs $139 and yield results within 15 minutes

GoHealth

  • Passengers can head to any of the 150-plus GoHealth locations for either a PCR or rapid test.
  • Select airports offer onsite GoHealth rapid tests that yield results in 15 minutes.
  • PCR tests yield results in two to three days.

Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) airport

  • Access day-of-travel testing if you're flying out of DFW.
  • Testing is available after security by Gate D7 and D40, and before security at Gate D22.

American Airlines has partnered with several companies offering packable testing kits to take with you on your trip and use one day before you return to the U.S.

eMed

  • eMed offers an Abbott BinaxNOW™ COVID-19 Ag Card Home Test which costs $25 per kit, or $150 for a six-pack.
  • eMed offers rapid antigen tests and suggests packing two tests per person with you for your trip

Optum

  • Optum offers an Abbott BinaxNOW™ COVID-19 Ag Card Home Test in two and three-packs.
  • Tests cost $69.99 per kit.

Qured

  • American Airlines has partnered with Qured to offer a discount on Fit to Fly at-home tests which come in a two-pack. Be sure to use promo code AATRAVEL10 at checkout to receive your discount.
  • Qured offers antigen tests with a video call for $45 with results in two hours.

Hawaiian Airlines coronavirus testing

As Hawaii is one of the only states requiring mandatory negative COVID-19 results to bypass a 14-day quarantine, Hawaiian Airlines has many partners to ensure test availability, all of which are approved by the State of Hawaii's "Safe Travels" program.

For $119 a person, Hawaiian has partnered with Vault Health to provide FDA-authorized saliva-based tests.

  • Vault provides expedited processing exclusively for Hawaiian flyers, with a 72-hour turnaround for results.

Hawaiian Airlines has partnered with Worksite Labs to provide drive-through nasal swab appointments in cities around the country.

  • Testing facilities are all located near the airports.
  • Each test costs $90, with results within 24 hours.
  • Express tests cost $150 for results within 12 hours.

US BioTek laboratories

  • Travelers originating from Seattle and Portland, Ore., can schedule an appointment with US BioTek Laboratories.
  • Tests with results within 36 hours cost $90 to $105 per person
  • Tests with results within 24 hours cost $150 to $165 per person.
  • Both nasal swab and saliva collection tests are available.

University Medical Center of Southern Nevada

For a full list of Hawaiian Airlines' testing partners in various cities, click here.

JetBlue Airways coronavirus testing

JetBlue offers both at-home and at-airport testing options for its travelers.

Vault Health

  • JetBlue has partnered with Vault Health to provide at-home, saliva-based test kits for travelers.
  • Each kit costs $119 and will deliver results within 24 hours.
  • Vault encourages you to order your test no longer than a week before departure to take your test.

XpresCheck

JetBlue offers both rapid and PCR testing at its XpresCheck airport locations in the following cities:

  • Boston
  • Los Angeles
  • Newark
  • New York (JFK and LGA)
  • Orlando

United Airlines coronavirus testing

United Airlines flies to Hawaii and many international destinations requiring a negative COVID-19 test result upon arrival. United offers a number of testing options, including at-home (mail-in) and at-airport options.

ADL Health

  • For travel originating in the U.S., you can receive an RT-PCR test before your trip.
  • You must take the test and mail it back within 72 hours of your trip and will receive your results 24 to 48 hours before travel.
  • Tests cost $119 which includes shipping.
  • ADL Health tests can be used for entry into the following destinations:
    • Hawaii
    • Bogota, Colombia (BOG)
    • Guatemala City, Guatemala (GUA)
    • Lima, Peru (LIM)
    • Nassau, Bahamas (NAS)
    • Panama City, Panama (PTY)
    • Canada
    • U.K.
    • Ireland
  • To visit the following destinations using the ADL Health testing option, flights must originate from or connect through Houston Intercontinental Airport (IAH):
    • Roatan, Honduras (RTB)
    • San Pedro Sula, Honduras (SAP)
    • San Salvador, El Salvador (SAL)
    • Tegucigalpa, Honduras (TGU)

XpresCheck

XpresCheck offers at-airport rapid molecular and PCRCovid testing at a number of airports around the U.S.

  • Passengers must pre-register and will receive their results between 15 and 60 minutes depending on the type of test.
  • Test costs range from $200 to $250.
  • XpresCheck tests can be used for entry into Hawaii.
  • Available airports include the following:
    • New York/Newark
    • San Francisco
    • Washington Dulles
    • Denver
    • Houston

Optum Store

  • Travelers returning to the U.S. from a foreign country can order a two-pack of at-home, virtually guided antigen tests, which you'll need to pack with you on your trip.
  • Tests cost $69.99 per kit and can only be delivered to a U.S. address.

FAQs

Do I need a Covid test to fly domestic ?

No, for most destinations you don't need a COVID-19 test to fly domestic. However, there are some exceptions. Hawaii, for example, has strict entry requirements that may include a negative COVID-19 test for some travelers.

Are you required to get a COVID-19 test to fly back to the U.S.?

Yes, everyone is now required to present a negative COVID-19 test before flying back to the U.S. from a foreign country, regardless of vaccination status or citizenship.

Do fully vaccinated travelers need to be tested for COVID-19 before leaving the United States?

Fully vaccinated travelers will need to be tested for COVID-19 before leaving the United States only if their destination requires it. You will, however, need to show a negative COVID-19 test in order to return to the U.S. regardless of whether or not you're vaccinated.

What do I do if I test positive for COVID-19 before a flight?

If you test positive for COVID-19 before a flight, do not go to the airport. Stay home and self isolate, and see if you can use your trip insurance to reschedule.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

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Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).