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American Airlines Grows Its Preflight Testing Program

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American Airlines is expanding its preflight testing program. In November, this includes growing to three more destinations in the Caribbean and Latin America while also growing preflight testing for flights to Hawaii. Simultaneously, from the end of this month and into December, the airline is also expanding its flight schedules to these areas.

American Airlines getty
American Airlines is expanding preflight testing to more destinations. Photo: Getty Images

Expanding preflight testing

Starting on November 16th, American Airlines is expanding its partnership with LetsGetChecked for at-home testing for passengers. Via a virtual visit, a medical professional helps a passenger conduct an at-home test before departure.

This program is being expanded to customers who are traveling to Belize (BZE), Grenada (GND), and St. Lucia (UVF). It takes, on average, about 48 hours for results for the PCR test to come back.

Belize currently requires travelers six years and older to get a PCR test within 72 hours of departure. For Grenada, passengers have to be tested within seven days prior to departure.

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American Airlines
American’s preflight testing program is concentrated around Hawaii and the Caribbean, and Central America. Photo: Getty Images

St. Lucia requires travelers who are age five and older to be tested within seven days of departure. Passengers will not be allowed to board a flight to St. Lucia without a negative test result. Passengers also need to conduct a pre-arrival registration.

Already, American offers preflight testing for passengers heading to Costa Rica, Hawaii, and other destinations in the Caribbean.

Expansion of preflight testing for Hawaii

American Airlines already has a testing program open to travelers heading to Hawaii. This program started last month as Hawaii opened up for travelers who arrive with a negative test from an approved testing program.

Starting now, customers who are flying American Airlines to Hawaii from Chicago-O’Hare (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX), and Phoenix (PHX) can use LetsGetChecked.

American Airlines 777-200
After the state opened up for tourists again, American has been flying a lot of widebodies to Hawaii. Photo: Getty Images
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Tests for Hawaii must be completed within 72 hours of the final leg of departure. The negative result allows passengers to be exempt from a 14-day quarantine requirement, though certain restrictions may continue to apply.

American Airlines’ flights

American is flying to Hawaii this month from its hubs in ORD, LAX, PHX, and Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW). Some of these flights are onboard widebody aircraft, like the Boeing 777.

Out of Miami (MIA), American Airlines is currently flying to BZE, GND, and UVF. Later in November, American is also launching service to UVF from Chicago. In December, more flights will operate to BZE with more flights to Miami, Charlotte (CLT), and DFW. From GND, American will be flying to MIA and CLT in December. And, from UVF, the O’Hare and Miami flights will be complemented with flights to CLT and Philadelphia (PHL).

American Airlines 737-800 aircraft
A lot of flights to the Caribbean are on narrowbodies like the Boeing 737. Photo: Getty Images

Most flights to the Caribbean are onboard narrowbody aircraft like the Boeing 737 and Airbus A321.

Hoping to expand to more markets

Robert Isom, President of American Airlines, stated the following about the expansion of preflight testing:

“Our initial preflight testing has performed remarkably well, including terrific customer feedback about the ease and availability of testing options. This next phase is an invigorating step forward in American’s relentless pursuit of reopening international travel and driving industry recovery while delivering a safe and positive travel experience.”

While American Airlines has a strong presence in the Caribbean and Central America, it also has an extensive footprint across South America and Europe. Long-haul international travel is an important part of American’s business. However, most of those markets and borders are currently shut.

American and Delta Planes at LAX
There may be a competitive advantage for American with more preflight testing. Photo: Getty Images

The airline, however, is hopeful that there will be an opening for travel corridors. Vasu Raja, Chief Revenue Officer, stated in the airline’s third-quarter earnings call that the airline hopes to build up a travel corridor with services to the United Kingdom. Preflight testing might be one of the keys to jump-starting that.

Even if it does not, at least American can open up more markets in the Caribbean and get a competitive advantage over its peers by offering more preflight testing, eliminating one less hassle for passengers, and might drive additional revenue to the carrier.

Are you glad to see American expand its preflight testing program? Let us know in the comments!

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