Southwest Airlines has joined Hawaii’s Safe Travels Program, allowing passengers flying to Honolulu (Oahu) and Kahului (Maui) to skip health screening and quarantine requirements after landing. The airline says it all part of their efforts to offer a simple and streamlined arrival into Hawai‘i.

“This process will expedite their time in the airport, allowing them to begin their Hawaii experience more quickly,” says Southwest’s Tony Roach.

Pre-clear to skip on-arrival health screening and quarantine

The State of Hawai‘i has one of the toughest COVID safe regimes in the United States. While the islands are now open for business, all travelers (including domestic travelers) must procure a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of traveling to Hawai‘i. Anyone without a negative test result before departure must quarantine for 10 days on arrival.

But the State of Hawai‘i also runs the Safe Travels Hawai‘i program. It’s essentially a vaccination passport that verifies your COVID status before traveling. The program is open to both visitors and returning residents. Enrolment in and using the Safe Travels program allows eligible passengers to sail straight through the airport on arrival in Hawai’i and start enjoying their holidays right away. International travelers on certain airlines from certain airports in Canada, Japan, and South Korea have access to the program. Domestic United States travelers on certain airlines from certain mainland US cities also have access to the Safe Travels program.

Southwest Airlines resumes service to Hawaii at San Diego International Airport on November 4, 2020. // Stephen M. Keller, 2020

Southwest Airlines is now joining the Safe Travels program as a trusted travel partner. Southwest aircraft are currently scheduled to take off for Hawaii 14 times a day from five gateway airports in California. Passengers on flights from those five gateway airports heading to Honolulu and Kahului can sign up for the Safe Travels program. Passengers traveling to Kona and unaccompanied minors are not yet eligible.

How the Safe Travels app works

Signing up to the Safe Travels program involves downloading the app and enrolling by entering your personal data. That personal data includes flight details for the initial flight segment into Hawaii, all accommodation details for each traveler. Parents can include children aged under 18 on their profile.

Then each passenger has to have a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departing for Hawai’i. The state of Hawai‘i will ONLY accept an acid amplification test (NAAT) obtained from a State-of-Hawaii-approved trusted travel partner. The passenger must load the negative test result onto their Safe Travels app before departing for Hawai’i.

No more than 24 hours before departure, the passenger logs in to their Safe Travels account and complete the travel health questionnaire. Passengers will receive via email a QR code which is scanned on arrival. That QR code is your ticket out of the airport.

Southwest has teamed up with CityHealth Urgent Care to offer COVID-19 tests in Oakland, San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento, and Long Beach that meet the State of Hawai’i test requirements. The US$20 test will have your result back within 48 hours. You can pay more for a faster result.

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