Dreaming of surf, sand, and fun in the sun?
WestJet announced today that it will offer a pre-flight coronavirus (COVID-19) testing program for guests travelling to the Hawaiian Islands.
The Canadian carrier said it has collaborated with the State of Hawaii to offer the testing program, which will allow Canadians to skip its mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival.
A negative test result, from WestJet laboratory partner DynaLIFE, is required within 72-hours of departure to Hawaii.
Although several travel clinics in the Lower Mainland offer pre-travel COVID-19 testing, these clinics are not approved by the State of Hawaii for the program.
"Safety remains our number one priority and we thank Governor Ige and the State of Hawaii for providing this opportunity for Canadians to enjoy all that the islands have to offer while safely supporting the tourism industry," said Arved von zur Muehlen, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer.
"WestJet's teams are working hard to rebuild confidence in air travel through important partnerships like this one with Hawaii's Trusted Travel Partner program and DynaLIFE. With pre-departure and arrivals testing now available through the collaborative efforts of the Governments of Canada, the Government of Alberta and the YYC Calgary International Airport, our guests have a wonderful opportunity to enjoy safe and enjoyable travel without the rigorous quarantine requirements."
The testing, which costs $150 CAD per person and is payable by the guest, is currently only available in Alberta, the testing is open to all Canadian residents.
And while sipping on a refreshing cocktail in the tropics might sound enticing, the Canadian government advises you to think twice before booking a ticket to paradise. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, governments that have opened their borders to tourists could impose strict travel restrictions suddenly, which could make it difficult for you to return home.
B.C. has also tightened up restrictions on travel, although flights in and out of the province are still permitted. You will have to quarantine for 14 days on your return home, however.
WestJet's Hawaii Testing Program
Guests travelling to Hawaii are responsible for ensuring they receive a test within 72-hours of their flight departing to Hawaii in order to avoid quarantine and will be required to display their negative test result prior to boarding. If test results are not available before boarding the final leg of the trip, the traveller must quarantine for 14 days or the length of the stay, whichever is shorter.
"Many Canadians love to visit Hawaiʻi during the winter months to escape the cold weather, so the timing for this works well. Hawaiʻi has the most rigorous pre-travel testing program in the United States, and we're grateful to WestJet for making it available to their passengers," said Hawaii's Governor David Ige.
Earlier this week, the airline announced its December schedule including twice-weekly, non-stop Dreamliner service between Calgary and Honolulu and Calgary and Maui.
The airline will begin the testing program in partnership with DynaLIFE in Alberta for guests holding a WestJet-ticketed itinerary to Hawaii within 72-hours. Details can be found here.
All visitors intending to visit Hawaii must register prior to travel: Hawaii entrance requirements are found here.
Note: Health Canada does not advise you to get a COVID-19 test if you do not have symptoms of the virus. Since a negative result is required for the Hawaiian pre-testing program, this would go against public health advice.
Under a measure from the Government of British Columbia, all arriving passengers from outside Canada, regardless of their final destination, are required to submit a self-isolation plan. Learn more about the Province's self-isolation plan requirement here. The plan can be submitted online here or at the Self-Assessment Tool, through the BC COVID-19 Support App, or in-person on arrival at YVR. It must show that returning passengers have supports in place to safely self-isolate for 14 days.