JetBlue announced its intention on Tuesday to provide customers with pending flights the option to purchase an at-home COVID-19 saliva test.
The tests are coordinated through a partnership with health care company Vault Health and are intended for JetBlue customers who need to obtain a negative COVID-19 test result before entering various states or countries, or as a requirement to avoid mandatory quarantine.
Tests will be supervised by Vault Health professionals, who will participate in online video calls with customers to ensure they are properly collecting saliva samples. The samples will then be sent to a lab for analysis, and Vault Health promises results within 72 hours.
In an interview with CNBC, Vault Health CEO Jason Feldman said JetBlue passengers can expect to obtain the test for the discounted price of $143, as opposed to the normal $150 price advertised on the company’s website.
“The convenience of this is that you actually get results in the time you need to travel; that’s the key,” Feldman said. “So we’re spending a good chunk of that money on UPS and being able to overnight it really quickly. Remember when testing today comes back something north of 10 days, it’s not very valuable, so we’ve made it very, very, very certain that you’re going to get your results back in the time that you need to be able to get on that airplane and go.”
Joanna Geraghty, president of JetBlue, echoed these words in a company press release, stating that “with easier testing options … safety requirements may not be a deterrent for travel, but rather provide greater public health and peace of mind with little inconvenience.”
JetBlue is not the only airline offering COVID-19 testing for travelers, though other providers thus far have more limited testing. United Airlines, for example, has announced airport and at-home testing options only for flights to Hawaii, and American Airlines has worked on preflight testing for passengers going to Jamaica and the Bahamas as well.
According to Hawaii’s travel policies, from Oct. 15 onward, travelers who have obtained a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours may bypass a mandatory 14-day quarantine after landing.
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