Alaska Airlines is partnering with the state of Hawaii to launch a preclearance solution for its passengers flying to the Pacific islands. Like the US Immigration preclearance scheme, the program will allow passengers to gain an exemption from quarantine before departure.
Around the world, airlines and governments are looking at ways to re-enable travel without the risk of virus transmission. Many countries differentiate passengers based on their country of origin. Increasingly, testing is being used to determine the risk of a passenger importing a virus into the country. This is the approach taken by the likes of Dubai and Hawaii.
Alaska’s Hawaii Pre-Clear
Passengers to Hawaii have been able to avoid a 14-day quarantine by presenting negative COVID-19 tests taken before departure. However, the system has been creating long wait times upon arrival in Hawaii. This is no longer the case with Alaska Airlines passengers to Maui, and from Monday to Oahu and Kona.
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Guest eligible for Hawaii Pre-Clear will be emailed by Alaska Airlines before their flight. They will need to create a Safe Travels profile. To this, they will need to add flight and accommodation details, a PDF of an accepted negative COVID-19 test, and complete a health questionnaire.
When all of the steps above are complete, a passenger will have been deemed to be pre-cleared. As a result, at the check-in desk or departure gate, the passenger will get one of the rather fetching Hawaii Pre-Clear wristbands that you can see above.
Commenting on the program, Alaska Airlines’ President Ben Minicucci said,
“As guests start planning their 2021 travel to Hawaii, we’re focused on making the journey as safe, easy, and hassle-free as possible. We appreciate Hawaii’s partnership to help ensure our guests are well-informed and visit these beautiful islands responsibly, wearing a mask and following the state’s safety guidelines.”
What approaches are other countries taking?
Countries are taking different approaches to deal with travelers in the age of COVID-19. England and Germany, for example, are allowing passengers from ‘low-risk’ countries to avoid quarantine. Those from high-risk countries must quarantine (with some exceptions), but both countries will soon enable the quarantine to end after five days with a negative test paid for by the traveler.
Dubai, on the other hand, is very clear that it is open to tourism. Regardless of the country of origin, passengers can enter the country with a negative COVID-19 test. Emirates is spending millions on advertising to this effect. Some European countries, such as Italy and The Netherlands, have been partnering with Delta Air Lines to offer quarantine free flights from the United States.
Would you use Alaska Airlines’ Hawaii Pre-Clear scheme? Let us know in the comments.