Oakland’s Airport Now Has A COVID Test Kit Vending Machine

Oakland International Airport shared this week that it is the first airport in the United States to sell coronavirus test kits in vending machines. This news comes as the aviation industry continues to fight against the challenges imposed by the global health crisis.

Oakland International Airport Southwest Airlines
Carriers such as Southwest Airlines and Allegiant Air have a strong presence at Oakland International Airport. Photo: Getty Images

Providing solutions

The airport shares that there are touchless kiosks located at both of its terminals that offer at-home test kits. These RT-PCT tests require customers to return a saliva sample via FedEx. Users then get their results on an app via their mobile devices.

Digital health company Wellness 4 Humanity designed these test kits. Meanwhile, Swyft, a leader in retail automation produced the vending machines.

Bryant L. Francis, Port of Oakland Aviation Director, spoke about this move in a January 27th press release seen by Simple Flying. He highlights that the airport has been at the forefront of testing initiatives, and is looking forward to expanding the process.

“As one of the first airports to offer on-site rapid COVID testing, we are now providing even more testing options for travelers,” Francis said in the release.

“We still urge travelers to make sure they are current on any quarantines and regulations at their destinations.”

Oakland Airport coronavirus test kit vending machine 2021
The price of the test kits in the vending machines range from $130 to $150. Photo: Oakland International Airport

Ongoing measures

Oakland Airport emphasizes that this additional test option is separate from, and not part of, the State of Hawaii Department of Health’s pre-travel testing program. Therefore, passengers flying to Hawaii will have to ensure that they still adhere to the state’s requirements.

Present information about this program can be viewed on the State of Hawaii website. With Hawaii being a popular destination for travelers heading out of Oakland and the Pacific Coast, it’s important that the airport highlights the current measures.

Many nations require some form of testing. Therefore, those flying into an airport could benefit from the opportunity to purchase a test to take home and conduct before heading back to board their return flight. Moreover, US president Joe Biden is considering making testing mandatory on domestic flights. So, any initiative to make this process smoother would be welcome by airlines and passengers.

Oakland International Airport
Over 13 million people passed through Oakland International in 2019 and it is the closest airport to most Bay Area employers, so several travelers may find these test kit vending machines useful in the current climate. Photo: Getty Images

A helping hand

Altogether, the travel conditions amid the pandemic continue to be tough and testing requirements continue to evolve. However, additional initiatives allowing for easy to access tests could eventually go a long way in the mission to open up travel safely.

Testing measures are here to stay for a while. So, it won’t be a surprise to see more airports across the US adopt an approach similar to Oakland’s.

What are your thoughts about Oakland International Airport’s implementation of virus test kit vending machines? Do you think that this is a good move? Let us know what you think of the initiative in the comment section.