American Airlines is expanding its optional at-home COVID-19 test service to 14 domestic destinations, after initially rolling out the program to passengers flying to Hawaii and select Caribbean countries.

The airline began offering the service to domestic passengers flying to Hawaii, and international passengers traveling to Belize, Grenada and St Lucia on November 16. Now its rolling out the at-home COVID-19 testing kit to passengers flying to all US destinations where a negative test result is required to skip or shorten mandatory quarantine. That includes Alaska, Chicago, Connecticut, DC, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Cobblestone street full of trees and colourful buildings in old San Juan

With the service, passengers will be sent a PCR testing kit to their home address via UPS. A medical professional will observe the test through an online video link while talking the person through the steps. Once the test is completed, the passenger can send the sample to be processed at the FDA-approved LetsGetChecked lab, with results delivered to the person's phone within 48 hours of the sample being received. The test costs $129 on top of the flight ticket price. The at-home test gives passengers the convenience of doing the test at home, rather than arriving at the airport early to do a pre-flight test.

Currently all states have mixed requirements for entry. In Alaska and Hawaii (with the exception of Kauai), arrivals must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours before departure. In New York, visitors can 'test out' of mandatory quarantine by taking two tests. It's important to check the state or city's requirements before traveling.

A state-by-state guide to travel restrictions in the US

Hiker standing at lookout towards Gros Piton
The at-home testing kit is also available for passengers traveling internationally to St Lucia, Grenada and Belize ©Justin Foulkes/Lonely Planet

"Our initial preflight testing has performed remarkably well, including terrific customer feedback about the ease and availability of testing options," said Robert Isom, President of American Airlines. "This next phase is an invigorating step forward in American’s relentless pursuit of reopening international travel and driving industry recovery while delivering a safe and positive travel experience."

American isn't the only airline to expand its testing capacities in recent months. Delta and KLM are launching COVID-tested flights to Amsterdam, and United is offering a similar tested flight to Rome. While outside of the US Emirates now offers on-site rapid tests in Dubai Airport, Etihad Airways is including COVID-19 tests in all its tickets from Abu Dhabi, and Lufthansa is developing antigen tests to help restore passengers' confidence in flying.

This article was first published on November 5 and updated on December 9, 2020.

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This article was first published Nov 5, 2020 and updated Dec 9, 2020.

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