U.S. airports roll out Covid tests in bid to reopen travel markets
After lagging behind much of the world for months, U.S. airports and airlines now appear poised to ramp up on-site Covid-19 testing, a step they say is key to reopening travel markets during the pandemic.
Until the final week of September, only Alaska's Anchorage Airport along with Newark and New York JFK offered any on-site Covid-19 testing for passengers, according to industry sources. And even the testing offered at those New York metro-area airports was limited to 500 per day at JFK and approximately 400 per day at Newark.
Meanwhile, airports in London; Istanbul; Hong Kong; Singapore; Bangalore, India; and beyond have Covid-19 testing capabilities. At Frankfurt Airport, for example, a station run by Lufthansais capable of administering 20,000 tests per day.
United, Hawaiian, Alaska, and American to Offer COVID-19 Testing to Passengers
U.S. airlines are racing to introduce rapid-result testing options to help spur travel to Hawaii, the Caribbean, and beyond.
After United Airlines last week became the first U.S. airline to offer a rapid COVID-19 testing option to its passengers, other U.S. carriers have quickly followed suit.
In a September 24 announcement, United said that its new COVID-19 testing program will kick off on October 15, when customers traveling from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Hawaii will have the ability to take a rapid test at the airport—coinciding with when Hawaii drops its quarantine requirement in exchange for a mandatory COVID-19 test.
U.S. ends health screenings for some international arrivals
The United States plans to end enhanced health screening of travelers from certain countries next week, and those visitors will no longer be funneled through 15 large U.S. airports.
Those requirements were imposed in January to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the government will remove those edicts beginning Monday.
The CDC said the current screening, which includes temperature checks and questioning travelers about Covid-19 symptoms, "has limited effectiveness" because some infected people have no symptoms or only minor ones. Travelers go through customs only after the health screening.
Delta extends benefits and adds reward ticket flexibility
Delta Air Lines has extended some loyalty program benefits and is eliminating fees around reward travel rebooking, the carrier announced.
Sky Club memberships active as of March 1 are now extended through June 30, 2021. The carrier also is extending expiration dates for some benefits for American Express SkyMiles cardholders -- including flight credits, companion certificates and Sky Club guest passes -- through the end of 2021. The carrier already extended all Medallion status levels achieved for this year to last through 2021.
We know planning travel for the future can be an intimidating proposition. It’s exciting though that some tour operators and cruise lines are offering increased flexibility should you want or need to change your plans, sometimes up to one or two weeks before you are set to travel!
Secure your ideal dates, destination, and itineraries now with confidence that you can change your plans later should you need to!
Without a doubt, Global Entry has been the best thing to happen to international travelers since, I don’t know … sliced bread? “Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Members enter the United States through automatic kiosks at select airports.” All applicants undergo a rigorous background check and in-person interview before enrollment. It only costs $100 and is valid for five years, allowing members to skip the long customs lines when returning from an international trip. It also gives members access to TSA PreCheck, allowing travelers to use the quicker, and usually much shorter, security lines when they first arrive at a U.S. airport. The icing on the cake? Select credit cards will also pay your application fee and some of them come with large sign-up bonuses up to 100,000 miles like the Capital One Venture.
Changes to Global Entry Would Make it Free for Kidsand increase the application cost to $120. Global Entry is great for clearing immigration quickly after an international flight to the U.S., and includes TSA PreCheck, speeding security prior to flights.
Currently, kids under 18 pay the same $100 application fee that adults do, but both of these are expected to change if the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) proposed Global Entry, SENTRI and NEXUS Fee Changes(which are open for public comment until 11/9/20) go into effect.
Global Entry to Become Free for Kids Under 18 if Parent Applies for Global Entry
While we've been fortunate enough to be able to take advantage of our multiple credit cards that cover the current $100 Global Entry to not have to pay for our son's Global Entry application or renewal fee, the proposed rule change will be good news for those who don't have enough premium credit cards to reimburse their and their children's fees.
In the interest of safety for our staff and customers, Menno Travel will remain working remotely until notified otherwise. I want to stress that we will continue to be here for all the Travel Planners and travelers during this time to assist in whatever we can. We are still just a phone call or email away!
Until further notice our hours of operation will be 8:00-12:00 and 1:00-5:00.
We will continue checking email frequently. However, if you have an urgent issue and need immediate assistance, please call our office at 574-534-1521/800-635-0963 and enter the extension of the person you are trying to reach (listed below). Your call will automatically be forwarded to that individual’s cell phone. Please note there may be a few seconds of dial-tone followed by a few seconds of silence while your call is forwarded.