The island originally was part of the program, but opted out, which led to hotels like the Westin, Grand Hyatt, and Sheraton closing their doors. The Westin and Grand Hyatt now plan on reopening on 4/5 and the Sheraton plans on opening on 5/5.
Safe Travel Hawaii requires a negative COVID-19 PCR or other NAAT test from select testing partners within 72 hours before your flight to Hawaii. Also acceptable is a positive COVID test from 11-90 days before your flight along with a Doctor’s letter clearing you for travel.
I flew to Hawaii last month with a couple DDF members who have also recovered from COVID-19 and had to find the best way to get a test.
I knew from experience that PCR tests from CVS would take far too long to get the results. While the Cleveland Clinic could get results back on time, they aren’t a partner in Hawaii’s program.
My flight was from Dallas to Maui on Sunday at 3:30pm CT, so I had to take my test after Thursday at 4:30pm ET.
In the end, I took the ID NOW test from Walgreens, which is a NAAT test. Many places that officially require a PCR test, such as Canada, also accept other NAAT tests like the Abbott ID NOW.
The test was free, and it only required that I stick the swab half an inch up my nose, unlike the brain matter required on my PCR test last March. Best of all, I got the negative results back just 2 hours after taking the test! With the results in hand I was able to upload them to the state of Hawaii and I got back a QR code with my negative status.
Another DDF member that took a PCR test from Walgreens didn’t get his results back on time to travel. They didn’t offer the ID NOW in his state, so he drove an hour to take the ID NOW test in another state and was able to travel to Hawaii the next day.
In the end, our flight to Hawaii was cancelled. But we were told that Hawaii would be extending our Safe Travel window to 6 days as the airline cancelled our flight.
When we arrived in Maui we hustled to the Safe Hawaii line and made it before the masses started lining up behind us. They scanned the QR code, asked us if we were feeling OK, checked our temperature, and sent us on our way. Another couple next to me in line didn’t have their QR code and test results in order, and it appeared they were going to be sent back to the mainland. Ouch.
The QR code was required to rent a car and checkin at the hotel.
Island hopping with Hawaii is a real hassle as all airports besides Honolulu require negative test results from within 72 hours, even on intra-Hawaii flights.
We flew on a day trip form Maui to Molokai, which required another Safe Travel QR code, but as that flight is within Maui County, which encompasses Maui, Lanai, and Molokai, we didn’t need to take another COVID test.
A word of warning to people with connections though, a friend flew to Molokai with a connection in Honolulu last week, which triggered the requirement for a COVID test within the past 72 hours. While the Safe Travels site implies that people connecting can use the test from their Transpacific flight, he was denied entry into Molokai as his test was now more than 72 hours old from the time of departure from Honolulu to Molokai. He was forced to sign a quarantine order and sent right back to Honolulu. Luckily for him, Honolulu doesn’t have Safe Travels requirements for intra-Hawaii flights, so he was able to spend his vacation there.
Have you flown to Hawaii under their Safe Travels program?