With Hawaii set to scrap its 14-day quarantine policy from August 1st, Alaska Airlines is already planning its restart of services to the island state. For travelers suffering a severe case of wanderlust, this is excellent news. However, there are a few things to know before booking your flight with Alaska Airlines.
Summer vacations are back on
Speaking in an interview with Aviation Week yesterday, CEO of Alaska Airlines Brad Tilden confirmed that summer holidays are a go. Alaska will return to Hawaii from August 1st, as the state moves to scrap its quarantine requirement. Tilden explained,
“Hawaii has a unique situation. They’ve got a very serious quarantine implementation, which has almost choked up all demand and travel to Hawaii. But it’s getting relaxed now to where, if you have a COVID test before you go, you can travel to Hawaii.
“Effective August 1st, we will start bringing back the Hawaii schedule and communicating to customers that you can go to Hawaii. It’s a little more hassle, but if you get a COVID test before you go, you can go to Hawaii.
“Hawaii is starting to open up.”
For several weeks now, Hawaii has required all tourists as well as returning residents to undergo a 14-day quarantine on return to the state. However, from August 1st, the island state will open to travelers, as long as they get a COVID test.
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What to expect if you’re visiting Hawaii this summer
Having Hawaii open up as a vacation destination this summer could see many travel-starved US residents looking to book soon. However, there are some things to know if you’re planning to vacation in Hawaii this summer, whether flying with Alaska or someone else.
First of all, the state is not offering COVID tests on arrival. This means visitors will need to arrange to have their own test completed and must have this in hand before boarding the aircraft. Specifically, that needs to be an “FDA-approved PCR test from a CLIA-certified laboratory,” according to state guidance.
This will need to be completed within 72 hours of travel. That could be tricky if you happen to be in a state experiencing infections, and you’ll have to pay for it too. Some insurance policies cover the cost of the test. Otherwise, it is usually around $100 – $150 when paying for it yourself.
As you might expect, a further health declaration will be required on the day of travel, along with a temperature check at the airport. However, if you can get all of this sorted, you could enjoy a break to the beautiful islands sooner than you thought.
What can you expect from Alaska Airlines?
Alaska has taken the challenge of getting people back into travel to heart. The airline has implemented a number of measures designed to stimulate demand and give passengers confidence that, yes, it is OK to fly. One of those things is called ‘Next Level Care.’
Next Level Care involves almost 100 ways of keeping passengers safe. From pre-flight wellness checks to requiring masks on board, the airline has worked hard to give passengers the confidence to fly again. Turnaround times have increased to an hour, to allow for deep cleaning in between flights, and to encourage mask-wearing on board, Alaska has introduced the ‘yellow card’ system, empowering flight attendants to demand compliance. Tilden said,
“We want our customers to get on the airplanes and say ‘Oh my gosh, this airplane is spotless! I feel that I am safe, and I feel safe on board’.”
It seems Alaska Airlines is achieving this goal. In post-flight surveys carried out over the last month, 95% of passengers said their seat area was clean, and 82% said they felt it was a safe and healthy environment.
Will you be booking a vacation to Hawaii this year? Do Alaska Airlines’ policies encourage you to book? Let us know in the comments.