Airlines are continually adding and modifying procedures intended to make flying easier in the age of the novel coronavirus. Today, American Airlines became the first U.S. airline to offer access to at-home COVID-19 testing for all U.S. domestic flights to states and territories with COVID-19 travel restrictions. Tests produced by home health testing company LetsGetChecked will be available for purchase Dec. 9, for use for flights starting Dec. 12, 2020.
Current U.S. jurisdictions with COVID-19 domestic travel restrictions are:
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New York
- Puerto Rico
- Rhode Island
This website has a comprehensive list of U.S. domestic travel restrictions that is current as of December 7. American and LetsGetChecked will add or delete cities or states as domestic testing requirements evolve.
The at-home tests cost $129. LetsGetChecked outlines the testing procedure as follows:
1.Order your kit (5+ days before flight departure is recommended).
2.Schedule a UPS pickup for your sample.
3.Activate your test online.
4.Join an observation call (If required).
5.Collect your sample.
6.Return your sample for testing.
7.Receive your results on your secure online account.
Test results should be available within 48 hours. Some destinations (identified on American’s website) require an observation call with a LetsGetChecked representative to confirm identity and observe sample collection. Samples are collected from the lower nasal passage. Full details on the teting process are found on the LetsGetChecked website.
American Airlines is the first U.S. airline to offer access to at-home testing for all flights to U.S. locations that have COVID-19 restrictions. This will make it much easier to comply with pre-flight testing requirements in several states. I would expect others to follow suit. Gary Leff of View From The Wing notes that because change fees and cancellation fees have been largely eliminated on American Airlines, booking an American flight even if you don’t plan to travel may be the easiest way to get an at-home test for COVID-19.