Airlines’ mail-in tests need to be supervised, state says

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Mainland tourism is set to reopen on Oct. 15 and to make it more convenient for travelers, airlines are offering COVID tests that can be mailed to you. The state had issues with mail-in tests, but is accepting them under one condition.

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Lt. Gov. Josh Green explains these tests have to be done under supervision in order for them to be approved.

“The governor decided, and I think it was very smart, to make sure that any test that are mailed are observed. In other words, someone checks that someone wasn’t messing around and putting it in there without even swabbing,” said Green.

Hawaiian Airlines says guests can order the $150 mail-in saliva test online and have it delivered to their door. They will take the test themselves with assistance from a supervisor in a video call.

“And so these tests, which, as you said, are supervised mail-in tests, will be another option on top of what we announced at the end of last week, which are a set of physical testing labs that are drive-thru locations dedicated to our guests,” said Avi Mannis, Senior Vice President of Marketing of Hawaiian Airlines.

United Airlines is also working to offer non-invasive nasal swab mail-in tests for customers traveling to Hawaii. Green says United is working on setting up the supervision process required by the state.

“I think it’s going to be valuable in many settings because it’s not just travel to Hawaii, a lot of people would want to be tested at home,” said Green.

The state’s pre-travel testing comes at a time when the the airline industry is struggling to stay afloat. Hawaiian is one of several airlines cutting jobs after Congress failed to extend funding for the industry. On top of that, their flights will be capped at 70% capacity through mid-December to promote social distancing.

“We’re hopeful that when people hear that Hawaii is open again, and when there’s opportunity for people to come here, that there will be demand for travel. But we have to expect that it’ll ramp up slowly,” said Mannis.

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