Travel Regulations Cover

Unreliable and changing travel regulations regarding Covid-19 testing is stressing out air travelers to Hawaii

Some things change, some things stay the same…

Travelers to Hawaii are reporting that the pre travel regulations are changing too often for them to keep up with in order to comply. Many say the reality of trying to get a test with results back within the 72-hour time frame is also too tight of a time frame and adds more stress to their existing stress levels.

If you are unsure of all that is required of you to enter Hawaii, we suggest you get the SafeTravels Hawaii Text Message Service.

Gov Ige’s new rule or the latest of his travel regulations mandating travelers to have their negative test results before boarding the plane went into effect today. If results are not in by then, travelers will have to quarantine for 14 days even if they get their negative result upon arriving.

Expect to be kind of like cattle going into various lines. If you have your test results ready to go, you should breeze through. But if you don’t have your test results, you’ll end up in quarantine.

Another travel regulation is a voluntary secondary test – the State is screening 10% of all passengers. You can choose to opt-in, so you will know for sure you are negative.

The state is trying to catch basically everybody (with the screening), less than 1% of people entering the state are positive. They may not continue the surveillance program because of how successful the pre-screening has been. This may prove to become a problem in the future.

16 new/changing travel regulations…

The key point of the travel regulations states that you’ll need to get a COVID 19 test within 72 hours before your flight departure, but you have to get it done from a trusted testing partner. Stress comes from the problem that sometimes the trusted partner can’t return the results back to you in time – which is challenging.

One traveler got her test back in time, but others in the her party had to quarantine in the hotel once they arrived. They had to wait for a day until his results came back. That’s the glitch, you have to be sure the state’s trusted partner will be able to deliver their results within 72 hours.

Hawaiian Airlines and San Francisco International airport just announced drive-through testing for travelers heading to Hawaii with guaranteed results within 36 hours, but it will cost you. It’s $90 to get it within 36 hours and $150 for the day-of.

travel regulations
Long lines at the airport during incoming screening.

Gaps in the travel regulations testing program coupled with increasing cases of COVID 19 across the U.S. have raised questions about whether Hawaii is ready to safely open back up to vacationers.

But earlier this year, when local restrictions were eased before summertime holidays, community spread of the disease spiked to alarming levels. This forced a second round of stay-at-home orders for residents and closures for non-essential businesses.

Opponents of the travel regulations and testing program say a single test 72 hours before arrival — especially when coupled with the option to fly without a test and still quarantine — is not enough to keep Hawaii residents safe.

We simply chose to do the 14 day quarantine vs. trying to get a test in time of departure. We have no issues with having food being brought in. It’s like a quarantining haven in terms of having fresh fruits and vegetables at home.”, reported a recent traveler.

The state is saying they are following up with tourists on their whereabouts, but limited resources make it difficult to keep tabs on thousands of new arrivals. “The only thing we’re doing is notifying the hotels, and hotel staff check,” the state adjutant general, Kenneth Hara, told a special legislative committee last week.

We spoke with ten travelers who arrived in Hawaii from four US cities in the last week and none have received a follow-up call. So much for travel regulations. This story is bound to continue as winter on the mainland gears up.

SafeTravels 🙂