JetBlue is the first airline to make COVID-19 testing widely available to customers with pending travel plans.
The airline announced today it is partnering with Vault Health. The at-home test option provides convenience to customers who must secure a negative COVID-19 test result before entering certain states and countries, or in order to avoid certain mandatory quarantines.
United Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, German airline Lufthansa and Italian airline Alitalia announced similar but more limited programs last week.
Starting Oct. 15, customers traveling on United from San Francisco to Hawaii will be able to take a rapid test directly at the airport. Alternatively they can do a self-collected, mail-in test ahead of their trip.
The rapid Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 test will be administered by GoHealth Urgent Care and Dignity Health. United says passengers will get results within 15 minutes, allowing them to see their results on the same day as their flight.
Starting on Oct. 15, Hawaiian Airlines passengers can get drive-through polymerase chain reaction testing, according to the FDA. Testing will take place at the airline’s labs near the Los Angeles and San Francisco international airports.
JetBlue’s partner, Vault Health, will handle all testing and provide JetBlue customers discounts on their tests and a dedicated customer support phone line.
The at-home saliva test is administered via online video connection through Vault Health, with a test supervisor who ensures the customer is providing their sample properly. The sample is then overnighted to a laboratory that processes and analyzes the specimen, and results are provided in 72 hours or less.
Vault Health has created a dedicated landing page where JetBlue customers with current reservations can start the process and receive a discount on testing.
With many states and countries requiring a negative test to enter or avoid quarantine, the test meets the medical standard for many jurisdictions and allows customers another option before travel, says Joanna Geraghty, president and chief operating officer, JetBlue.
“Now with easier testing options, those safety requirements may not be a deterrent for travel, but rather provide greater public health and peace of mind with little inconvenience,” Geraghty says in a release.
JetBlue’s partnership with Vault Health is part of the airline’s broader “Safety from the Ground Up” program, which focuses on healthy crew, clean air and surfaces, more space and fewer touchpoints, as well as travel flexibility.