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Friday, November 20, 2020

Canadians going to Hawaii will no longer have to quarantine if they have a negative test result within 72 hours of departure


Funny things happen when you ask questions. Not that we forced this but the timing sure was perfectly coincidental! 😉 If you recall from last week we discussed Hawaii travel in one of our daily update posts thanks to our reader Peter K. At that time the rules were that Canadians would need to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival to Hawaii unless they flew through the U.S. where they could get approved testing within 72 hours of departure. Yet Air Canada and WestJet had flights to Hawaii already scheduled despite no news of a similar option for flights that go direct to Hawaii from Canada. We even reached out to Air Canada and WestJet with  the question on how they were planning on conducting Hawaii flights and if they were working on anything behind the scenes. Both airlines told Rewards Canada that they were taking it day by day and that Canadian travellers would have to follow whatever rules Hawaii had in place. And then bam! All of sudden we get this news late yesterday afternoon that the Governor of Hawaii will allow for Canadian pre-testing to count towards their safe travel program. 

 

Here is an excerpt from the Governor of Hawaii's office announcing this yesterday:

Canadian pre-travel testing program

Gov. Ige also announced that beginning in mid-December, travelers flying from Canada to Hawaiʻi may bypass the state’s mandatory 14-day quarantine if they take a COVID-19 test from labs identified by Air Canada and WestJet. The test must be taken within  72 hours of travel to the State of Hawai‘i, and a negative test result must be received prior to departure. Travelers without proof of a negative test result prior to boarding their flight to Hawai‘i will be required to self-quarantine for 14-days or the length of 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 Air Canada and WestJet for making it available to their passengers,” said Gov. David Ige.

But of course hot on the heels of this news comes Justin Trudeau's plea to Canadians this morning to avoid all non-essential travel. There are no rules against it and it comes down to each individual to decide what they feel is ethically and morally right for them. The travel and tourism industry have been dealt a big blow due to the pandemic as it has to so many other industries but the biggest blow is to everyone who has lost their lives to this virus, to those who are now suffering long terms effects from it and the ramifications it has had on families.

And some statements from our two airlines:

"WestJet today announced it has collaborated with the State of Hawaii to begin offering a pre-flight COVID-19 testing program for guests travelling to the islands. A negative test result, from WestJet laboratory partner DynaLIFE, is required within 72-hours of departure to Hawaii and will exempt the guest from the state's required 14-day quarantine upon arrival."

"We applaud Governor Ige's announcement that Hawaii's science-based, pre-travel testing initiative is now available for Canadians to be exempt from mandatory quarantine requirements on arrival in Hawaii, and we are very pleased Air Canada is a preferred airline in Hawaii's Safe Travels Program."

As you can see WestJet has already set up a testing partnership with DynaLIFE. That partnership will only be available in Alberta to start with but it is open to all Canadians so if you are looking to go from Saskatchewan to Hawaii you'll want to come early to get tested in Calgary before you depart to Hawaii. I'm sure we'll see this expand to other provinces (namely B.C.) in short order. 

Here are the steps to take as outlined by WestJet:

To avoid quarantine when travelling to Hawaii, guests must:

  1. Set up a Safe Travels Hawaii account for each travelling adult at travel.hawaii.gov
  2. Take a test at a DynaLIFE participating pharmacy location within 72-hours of their flight departing to Hawaii
  3. Complete the Travel Health Questionnaire on Safe Travels within 24 hours of their flight departure to receive a personalized QR code
  4. Display the Safe Travels QR code and negative test result from DynaLIFE during boarding
  5. Complete the final screening process upon arrival into Hawaii by showing the personalized QR code, negative test results, government ID, and be prepared to demonstrate their method of communication for the daily health check-in (i.e. cell phone)
  6. Enjoy Aloha!

 Air Canada has not announced any testing partnerships at this point but I would expect that we'll here from them within a few days as I'm sure bookings to Hawaii will see a nice jump now - especially for those who will be getting the Buddy Pass from the new Aeroplan credit cards!

Both airlines have their flights to Hawaii starting up in mid-December as follows:

Calgary - Honolulu

  • WestJet starts December 20 (1 flight per week)

Calgary - Kahului (Maui)

  • Air Canada starts December 18 (4 flights per week)
  • WestJet starts December 19 (2 flights per week)

Vancouver - Honolulu

  • Air Canada starts December 17 (3 flights per week)
  • WestJet starts December 18 (3 flights per week)

Vancouver - Kahului (Maui)

  • Air Canada starts December 17 (4 flights per week)
  • WestJet starts December 18 (3 flights per week)


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