In a savvy move from Hawaiian Airlines, HawaiianMiles loyalty customers can now swap air miles for pre-travel Covid-19 tests. Olivia Palamountain reports
Members of Hawaiian Airlines loyalty programme can now swap air miles for pre-travel Covid-19 tests thanks to a partnership with Vault Health, one of Hawaii’s official Covid-19 testing partners.
The mail-in test kits, which are available to buy for all travellers, usually cost US$119 but are now being offered to HawaiianMiles customers in exchange for 14,000 miles or points.
Test kits are mailed to customers who then self-collect their saliva sample, with guidance through the process by a test supervisor on a Zoom video call, if needs be.
Avi Mannis, senior vice-president of marketing at Hawaiian Airlines, says: “We remain dedicated to making testing for our guests as convenient and accessible as possible, so we’re incredibly pleased to extend our partnership with Vault Health to allow our HawaiianMiles members to purchase their at-home test kit with miles.”
The carrier also promises expedited shipping and processing for passengers booked on the airline, with results provided electronically within 24 hours of arrival at the lab.
“Our at-home supervised saliva Covid test provides a safe, convenient and reliable result delivered pre-travel,” says Jason Feldman, founder and CEO of Vault Health. “We are excited to work with Hawaiian Airlines who continues to innovate on behalf of their customers making travel easier and safer for everyone.”A testing programme between San Francisco International airport and Hawaii that allowed customers to take a same-day pre-flight rapid test for a fee and be exempted from quarantine in Hawaii provided that they received a negative result proved a success when it launched in October.
The airline has since also partnered with Worksite Labs to provide drive-through Covid-19 PCR testing near San Francisco International airport. The lab offers testing for US$90 per person for results available within 36 hours, and same-day express testing for $150 per person.
To enter the state of Hawaii today, travellers must present proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before departure of the final leg of their trip to Hawaii. Arrivals will then be exempt from the 14-day self-quarantine.
Wizz Air is another airline trying to ease the pain (financial or otherwise) of securing a Covid test. A partnership with laboratory Confirm Testing came into affect on November 27, offering passengers a discounted rate on rapid Covid-19 tests and “Fit to Fly” certificates.
An exclusive promotion code allows customers to buy the testing kits for £85 rather than the non-discounted price of £120, complete with a collection bottle containing saline and a swab, a protective packing wallet, a clear specimen bag to seal the sample, a sample lable, request form and a return envelope with prepaid postage. It also contains instructions for taking the sample from the nose and throat.
Customers are able to order kits weeks in advance of a flight and use them as and when needed in order to guarantee a result 72 or 96 hours before departure, as directed.
The airline advises that customers order the tests at least five days before their departure date and return the test via Royal Mail four days before the flight. This will allow the lab to receive the sample three days prior to travel, analyse it to internationally-recognised ISO 17025 standards, and return the results the day before the flight.
Confirm Testing’s “Fit to Fly” package includes a PCR swab test and certificate for negative test results – those who test positive will not be issued with a certificate.
Owain Jones, managing director of Wizz Air UK, says: “At Wizz Air, we are committed to getting the UK flying safely again, so it is with great excitement that we announce our partnership with Confirm Testing, through which our customers can secure the necessary testing services at a specially discounted price to travel internationally safely and confidently.
“We welcome the government’s new testing strategy, which will allow travellers returning to the UK to isolate for a shorter period if they have received a negative test. This is a vital step in stimulating demand for air travel and promoting the recovery of the UK aviation sector.”