Airline Travel under COVID-19 Restrictions
Last month, the Biden Administration issued a Proclamation, Advancing the Safe Resumption of Global Travel during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Pivoting away from restrictions specific to certain countries, the United States has now adopted an air travel policy that focuses on COVID-19 vaccination to safely advance international air travel to the nation. This change comes just in time for Thanksgiving and the upcoming holiday season.
If you are thinking about travelling for Thanksgiving this year, there is a host of new regulations that must be considered as part of your planning
Covid-19 Requirements for Airline Travel to the U.S. by American Citizens
As of November 8, 2021, travel to the United States is based on citizenship/residence and vaccination status. All U.S. citizens and/or legal permanent residents aged two and older who wish to enter the U.S. must provide a negative COVID-19 test and their contact information within 72 hours prior to departure. Travelers must sign an attestation to confirm that they meet all U.S. entry requirements before they will be permitted to board an airline.
Federal regulations also require that all travelers, regardless of citizenship, wear a face mask at all times while indoors at the airport and while on board your flight, regardless of vaccination status. Refusal to do so will result in penalties under federal law. These rules do not apply to children under 2 years of age or for those with a disability that prevents mask-wearing.
Covid-19 Requirements Airline Travel to the U.S. by Non-Citizens
All non-U.S. citizens must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to traveling to the United States, in order to meet the President’s Proclamation and the CDC orders. These travelers must be able to show proof of vaccination status and are required to show a negative COVID-19 test no more than 72 hours prior to their flight’s departure to the U.S.
Covid-19 Airline Travel Requirements for all Travelers
As per the CDC requirements, all airline passengers aged two and older who are traveling internationally, regardless of vaccination status, must provide a negative COVID-19 test to the airline before boarding the flight. Travelers who are fully vaccinated must provide a negative test no more than 72 hours prior to departure from a foreign country, in additional to showing proof of vaccination. Travelers who are not fully vaccinated, including children over two years of age, must provide a negative COVID-19 test no more than 24 hours prior to departure from a foreign country.
Proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 must be either paper or digital documentation that includes personal identifiers, such as full name and date of birth, that match the personal identifiers on the traveler’s passport or other travel documents.
Any travelers who have recently recovered from COVID-19 may travel with documentation of their recovery as well as a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or public health official, indicating that their patient is cleared for travel.
Always check your individual destination’s COVID-19 vaccination and testing requirements. Some States have different requirements from others and some facilities within those areas also have their own requirements (i.e. some hotels, resorts, arenas, etc. may require full vaccination for entry).
Airline Travel within the U.S.
The most up to date information from the CDC advises against travel within the United States for people who are not fully vaccinated. The agency asks that you delay travel until you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Fully vaccinated travelers within the U.S. do not need to self-quarantine nor do they need to provide a negative COVID-19 test before traveling, unless testing is a requirement from the travel destination.
For travelers who must travel and are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the CDC recommends following these steps:
- Before traveling, get a viral test 24-72 hours before departure;
- Remain masked at all times while traveling indoors, including on the plane and in the airports;
- Maintain physical distancing at all times;
- Wash hands often and use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol;
- After traveling, get a viral test within 3-5 days;
- Stay home and quarantine for 7 full days after traveling. If you do not get tested after travel, stay home and quarantine for 10 days;
- Follow all State and local recommendations and requirements.
The CDC has stated that they will update these travel recommendations as more people are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Get Vaccinated and Tested for Covid-19 before Airline Travel
Make sure that you are fully prepared for traveling this Thanksgiving. Midland Health provides FDA approved 10-minute Covid-19 Rapid Tests by appointment at our Milwaukee, Clinic. No referral is necessary. Covid-19 PCR Testing with CLIA Certified Lab Results in 24hrs is also available. Midland Health can also administer your on-site Covid-19 Vaccine Clinic for as few as 20 or up to as many as 2,000 personnel.
Check Local Covid-19 Restrictions Before all Airline Travel
Regardless of international or domestic travel, remember that State, local and territorial governments may have unique travel restrictions in place. These may include vaccination requirements, testing requirements, stay-at-home orders, and/or quarantine requirements upon arrival. Always check your individual destination prior to travel for the most up to date information. Also, some airlines may have different rules and regulations from others. Check with your airline prior to your flight to ensure you have the most up-to-date information before you travel. Prepare to be flexible while you travel as this situation is constantly evolving.
The best way to prepare for any travel during this holiday season is to get fully vaccinated against Covid-19 before you fly.