Business Trends

Labs Partner with Airlines to Offer COVID-19 Testing to Travelers

civCOVID-19 has greatly complicated air travel from country to country and even state to state. While entrance rules vary from place to place, a number of jurisdictions are allowing travelers to avoid quarantine and self-isolation if they can prove they tested negative for the virus. As a result, some airlines have teamed with lab companies to offer customers with travel plans the chance to be tested before their flights. And now one airline has taken the model to the next level by providing, at-home saliva-based testing.

The JetBlue Collaboration with Vault Health

On Sept. 30, JetBlue announced that it has teamed with Vault Health, a men’s healthcare technology platform offering in-home and personalized treatments, to provide COVID-19 testing for travelers. While it’s hardly the first such deal, the partnership is something of a game changer to the extent that the Vault Health test is a RT-PCR test run by the Rutgers Clinical Genomics Laboratory at RUCDR Infinite Biologics using technology that has received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA for use on saliva samples collected at home.

The way it works: Customers go to Vault Health’s dedicated landing page and enter their JetBlue confirmation code to start the process and also receive a discount on the test. After receiving test materials by overnight mail, they collect their own saliva samples from home while a Vault Health supervisor looks on by Zoom video to ensure everything is done properly. The sample is then sent overnight to a lab, with results provided in 72 hours or less. There are no swabs or need for in-person interaction. The test, a modified version of a Thermo Fisher Scientific assay that received EUA in April, is highly accurate and capable of detecting fewer than 10 copies of SARS-CoV-2 genes per milliliter of saliva, according to Vault Health.

“We are so happy to be able to provide JetBlue customers peace of mind during their travels,” said Vault Health founder and CEO Jason Feldman in a statement. “This saliva test is one of the most reliable and accurate COVID tests available in the country with fast turnaround time to results.”

Other Airline-Lab COVID-19 Testing Arrangements

Other airlines offering COVID-19 testing to travellers seeking to avoid quarantine and self-isolation include:

United Airlines was the first to offer testing. But while the airline plans to expand the program to other airports, testing is currently limited to customers traveling form San Francisco International Airport to Hawaii. There are two test options:

  • A $250 rapid Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 test performed by GoHealth Urgent Care at San Francisco International Airport on the day of travel; or
  • An $80 mail-in test administered by Color that travelers must complete 72 hours before travel.

American Airlines has partnered with CareNow. The test options:

  • A $150 in-person testing at designated CareNow urgent care locations, which are open every day and after-hours; or
  • A $249 on-site rapid testing on the day of the flight administered by CareNow at DFW (Dallas Fort Worth) International Airport with results expected in 15 minutes on average.

American has also entered a partnership with a second provider, LetsGetChecked, which allow passengers to order tests before flying from five locations, three of which are in Hawaii (cost: $129) and two in Costa Rica (cost $109).

Hawaiian Airlines has tabbed Worksite Labs to offer testing at labs near Los Angeles and San Francisco International airports, with more locations to come. Cost: $150 for day-of travel express service and $90 for results within 36 hours.

Alaska Airlines has partnered with Carbon Health to offer passengers in Seattle who are traveling to Hawaii testing at a downtown pop-up clinic that promises test results within two hours at the cost of $135.


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