American Airlines Will Become First Carrier to Offer At-Home COVID Test Kits for Passengers
The test kit, which will be available for travel beginning Saturday, cost $129
Although testing via the kit is not a requirement for American Airlines travel, those who wish to participate will do the nasal swab at home, send it in for lab analysis and receive their results within two days of the sample arriving at the lab.
While passengers of the airline may feel relieved to have the testing option over the holiday season, ABC News' Victor Oquendo notes in a report that aired Tuesday on Good Morning America that a negative result "is not a green light to travel" — in other words, it does not mean this is a time to be lulled into a false sense of blanket safety amid the ongoing pandemic.
"The [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] right now is actually urging Americans not to travel, but if Thanksgiving is any indication, airports across the country could be packed all over again in just a matter of weeks," he said.
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The domestic addition comes after American Airlines has already offered at-home kits for passengers traveling to international locations, like Chile and Belize, that require travelers to test negative for the virus when they arrive.
"We've made great strides to help open international travel with our testing partners, and we recognize the need for similar domestic travel solutions," Alison Taylor, the airline's chief customer officer, said in a Tuesday press release. "As travel requirements continue to quickly evolve, we're simplifying the research and COVID-19 testing fulfillment process for an overall more seamless travel experience."
American Airlines has made headlines since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., with 100 flight attendants from the airline becoming infected as of April and one dying the previous month after contracting the virus.
In July, the company began allowing full capacity on its flights again after previously having it capped at 85 percent since April.
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Meanwhile, a 90-year-old grandmother was the first person to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Tuesday, after the U.K. became the first country in the world to approve a COVID-19 vaccine last Wednesday.
"I feel so privileged to be the first person vaccinated against COVID-19," she said, according to the Associated Press, adding in part, "It means I can finally look forward to spending time with my family and friends in the New Year after being on my own for most of the year."
"I would say go for it," Keenan advised others who are considering getting the vaccine and meet eligibility requirements, according to CNN. "If I can do it, well, so can you."
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