The Covid-19 pandemic continues to loom large for airlines, but the ongoing push to get the nation as close to fully vaccinated as possible has offered a glimmer of optimism, in which social and economic normalcy may return sooner than expected. This possibility has prompted many major airlines to resume flights and inaugurate new routes to accommodate the major uptick in air travel, like summer — usually when travel demand surges to its highest peak — is set to arrive soon.
In response to the surge, American recently unveiled an expansion of its existing Covid-19 testing program for passengers who need testing results.
The prominent Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier’s testing program features a new self-administered Abbott BinaxNOW home testing kit, which passengers can self-administer 72 hours before they travel, upon receiving electronic documentation with a negative result. The new testing kit and its procedure are designed specifically for international travelers coming to the U.S.
“We want customers to focus on planning their trip to reconnect with family or unwind after more than a year at home, without the added stress of figuring out where and how they will get the right test,” Julie Rath, Vice President of Customer Experience at American, said. “Our partnerships allow them to choose the testing option that works best and is the most convenient for them when they book their flight.”
During the test, eMed — a digital health company and telehealth provider — plans to partner with the airline to virtually observe the passenger. Additionally, within the Oneworld carrier’s pre-flight testing program, the airline intends to amplify its partnership with CareNow, allowing passengers to complete an in-person test and upload test results onto the VeriFLY app before departure.
While international travel becomes a focus for the summer as travel restrictions ease and borders reopen, American has also reinforced its domestic network through evolving its partnership with jetBlue. The carrier recently announced its frequent flyers would be able to earn miles or points while traveling on JetBlue. The two airlines’ partnership — what they’ve taken to calling the Northeast Alliance — builds upon both carriers’ new routes and increased connectivity within the route networks.
One of the best things about our Northeast Alliance is the additional benefits it brings to customers. This includes more ways to earn miles and eventually more choice in how they use them, creating a truly valuable loyalty program,” said Alison Taylor, American’s Chief Customer Officer. “Our partnership with JetBlue offers travelers more options to get to more places with ease, thanks to better schedules and on a more premium product.”
American’s frequent flyers were able to earn miles or points while flying on codeshare flights with JetBlue before. But with the partnership which is now expanding, the airline will have the opportunity to attract more passengers for the summer and possibly offset losses from Covid-19.
There is no doubt that people want to travel in the upcoming months, as this summer will differ heavily from the previous year. However, both the airlines and passengers alike are moving slowly to adapt to the vast changes, similar to when the whole ordeal began. On the other hand, American’s approach will alleviate its concerns to the remaining amount of uncertainty and accommodate its passengers who are eager to travel this summer.