With COVID-19 testing restrictions impeding both domestic and international travel, JetBlue is providing its passengers an option that might help them travel more freely. The airline has announced a partnership with Vault Health to provide its passengers with easy access to an at-home COVID-19 test that could be used to enter specific destinations with coronavirus testing policies in place.
Many places worldwide require travelers to show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within a few days of travel. As of right now, it can be a bit tricky to find a testing facility that can turn around results fast enough to fit that particular travel window. But with JetBlue's new program, passengers can take a COVID-19 test from the comfort of their own home and get results within 72 hours—guaranteed.
The test is a PCR test, but it doesn't require a nasal swab—it's collected from your saliva. Travelers who take the at-home test will need to take the test under the supervision of a test administrator via video conference, ensuring that the passenger will adequately collect the sample. The passenger will then overnight the sample to the lab and receive their results within three days. While the test isn't free, JetBlue passengers will receive a discount.
It should also be noted that some destinations might not permit self-administered tests or saliva tests to fulfill their entry requirements, so you'll need to do some research in advance of your trip to make sure the program will work for you.
"We continue to hear from health officials that testing is incredibly important in the fight against the coronavirus, and we want to make sure our customers have options for testing, especially prior to travel," Joanna Geraghty, JetBlue's president and chief operating officer, said in a statement. "As more and more regions reopen, many are requiring test results to enter. Now with easier testing options, those safety requirements may not be a deterrent for travel, but rather provide greater public health and peace of mind with little inconvenience."
JetBlue is the second airline to offer take-home tests: United also announced a pilot program that allows passengers to either take a COVID-19 test right at the airport or at home.