American Airlines Offers Pre-Flight COVID Tests for Domestic Travel

The program will help travelers comply with state travel restrictions

American Airlines fleet of airplanes with passengers at O'Hare Airport
FangXiaNuo / Getty Images

Ahead of the busy holiday season, American Airlines has announced a new pre-flight COVID-19 testing program that's available to all passengers heading to a U.S. destination with travel restrictions. It's the first U.S. airline to offer such a robust testing program for domestic flights.

“We’ve made great strides to help open international travel with our testing partners, and we recognize the need for similar domestic travel solutions,” Alison Taylor, chief customer officer for American Airlines, said in a statement. “As travel requirements continue to quickly evolve, we’re simplifying the research and COVID-19 testing fulfillment process for an overall more seamless travel experience.”

Starting Dec. 9, all passengers flying to restricted U.S. destinations on or after Dec. 12 will be offered an at-home test through American's testing partner LetsGetChecked—at the traveler's own expense (the test costs $129). Should you opt into the program, a PCR nasal swab kit will be mailed to you before your flight. Administer the test to yourself, send your sample off to the lab, and wait approximately 48 hours for your results.

If you test negative, you might be able to avoid quarantine requirements in some U.S. destinations. For instance, in New York State, all travelers (except those coming in from adjacent states) must either quarantine for 14 days upon arrival or be tested within three days before arrival, which then allows a shorter quarantine followed by another test.

Currently, the following states and territories have travel restrictions in place, which means passengers on flights to any of these destinations are eligible for the at-home COVID test:

  • Alaska
  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Chicago
  • Hawaii
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont

American Airlines will continue to update the program as restrictions change, but you should be sure to check the latest information from local governments before your trip regardless.