Several different airlines across the country have rallied together in an effort to fight against the Covid-19 testing rule that’s currently required to enter the country via air. Despite several countries around the world either considerably easing or removing their Covid-19 related entry requirements, the U.S. has yet to do so. Even though its nearby neighbors Canada and Mexico do not requiring testing, the U.S. has stood firm on the rule and airlines in the country are not happy.
With all signs pointing towards a busy summer of travel – despite the issues the industry is facing – as it stands it will be American travelers returning home who’ll be out of luck and out of pocket regarding the current testing rules. Here’s a look at what the airlines have had to say about the current Covid-19 testing rules, why they feel they have to go and what steps they’ve taken to get them changed.
Airlines Challenge Testing Requirements – Information For Travelers
According to the CDC, travelers who are flying into the United States – regardless of their vaccination status or their citizenship – must take a viral Covid-19 viral test no more than 1 day before their flight. Alternatively, travelers may also show proof of recovery from Covid-19 in the form of a positive test result taken no more than 90 days before the flight’s departure and a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official stating that they are cleared to travel.
Whereas once this was the norm in countries across the world at the height of the pandemic, many countries have now removed such a requirement – leaving the United States in the travel dark ages when it comes to entry requirements. However, major airlines across the country are fighting to get the rule overturned to make entry into the country much easier for travelers.
The United States’ testing rules were described by American Airlines Chief Executive Robert Isom as “nonsensical” – and he has a point. Isom pointed out the fact that the Boston Red Sox baseball team flew to Toronto to play a game, yet rode a bus home to avoid the testing requirements, with those who cross the land border not needing to take a Covid-19 test like those who fly into the US.
Isom, who pleaded his case with politicians during the week, also highlighted the negative impact that the rule was having on US tourism. Currently, international travel figures in the US are down 14% compared to pre-pandemic levels, with Americans worried about testing positive and becoming stranded abroad. He also stated that 75% of the countries currently served by American do not have testing requirements.
Delta were also amongst the airlines criticizing the current policy, with Chief Executive Ed Bastian highlighting the fact that 44 of 50 countries the airline serves do not require testing. Bastian stated that removing the policy would result in a travel boom. He said:
“We know it will help induce and incent travelers to go abroad, bring more commerce in, more business in so hopefully they will get it done soon.”
Airlines for America, a trade association and lobbying group that represents major North American airlines, also met with a deputy White House Covid-19 coordinator Tuesday in a bid to try and get the testing rules reversed. Whilst the government hasn’t yet given any indication that the requirement will be dropped, travelers will be hoping that the constant pressure on all sides will lead to changes sooner rather than later.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories