Traveling to Hawaii from Outside the U.S.

Old Jun 4th, 2021, 01:43 PM
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Traveling to Hawaii from Outside the U.S.

DH and I are scheduled for a 2-week Safari in Kenya beginning September 2, 2021. We were scheduled for September 2020, but that was rescheduled for obvious reasons. From what I am reading, getting into Kenya with a negative COVID test should not be a problem. We are both fully vaccinated.

We live on Kauai. As it now stands, to circumvent a 10-day quarantine, anyone entering Hawaii is required to produce an approved negative NAAT COVID test result “from a trusted partner.” I have read several articles stating that all you need to do to visit Hawaii is to show up with a QR code that shows your negative test result from a trusted partner. Indeed, DH traveled to the mainland and returned last week with the required test and QR code. No problem.

What these articles fail to mention is that there are NO trusted partners outside the U.S. other than in Canada, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.

The other option is to arrive in Hawaii with a negative test that is not the NAAT COVID test “from a trusted partner,” quarantine for 72 hours in an expensive resort bubble, followed by a negative test. (If you arrive with no test you must do the full 10-day quarantine.)

I do not want to quarantine 10-days when I return home (vaccinated) to Hawaii, nor do I want to incur the costs of an expensive resort bubble (at least $1,000 – possibly more than $1500 -- plus the costs of two COVID tests). But it’s not just the money. When I return after being gone more than two weeks, I will have responsibilities that will need to be dealt with.

We used AAdvantage miles to book first class/business class flights. Those flights are no longer available with FF miles. But if I can change my reservation so that we end at LAX, I’m thinking we could get a test from a trusted partner, stay a day in L.A. while I wait for results, then buy tix back to Kauai (LIH). But I’m concerned that last-minute flights will cost a fortune.

So … I am sadly considering rescheduling – again—until they allow vaccinated people to return to Hawaii, or accept additional tests. Compared to the problems other people are facing this is not exactly a big deal. But it would be disappointing. Any thoughts?

Thank you!
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Old Jun 4th, 2021, 02:59 PM
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Do Hawaii residents have the option to quarantine at home rather than a resort bubble?
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Old Jun 4th, 2021, 04:27 PM
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J62: Yes, but it would be for 10 days.
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Old Jun 4th, 2021, 04:46 PM
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I would probably just fly into LAX or another US airport of entry, and do the test at the airport.

Depending on your exact dates, if you book now, the flights from LAX to LIH are not that expensive, if you can stomach main cabin for 5 hours. Or you might even be able to get a FF Flight. It's such a long flight home (assuming you are coming from London) that breaking the flight at LAX for a night isn't a bad idea.

The primary lab at LAX has a 3 to 5 hour turnaround. Hours 7am to 7pm. There is also a rapid 1-hour test but with shorter testing center hours. There is no required quarantine in California for vaccinated travelers (US Citizens).

You can book a reservation for a test, or drop in after clearing customs.

https://www.flylax.com/travelsafely#CovidTest

Last edited by mlgb; Jun 4th, 2021 at 05:05 PM.
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Old Jun 4th, 2021, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by mlgb View Post
I would probably just fly into LAX or another US airport of entry, and do the test at the airport.

Depending on your exact dates, if you book now, the flights from LAX to LIH are not that expensive, if you can stomach main cabin for 5 hours. Or you might even be able to get a FF Flight. It's such a long flight home (assuming you are coming from London) that breaking the flight at LAX for a night isn't a bad idea.

The primary lab at LAX has a 3 to 5 hour turnaround. Hours 7am to 7pm. There is also a rapid 1-hour test but with shorter testing center hours. There is no required quarantine in California for vaccinated travelers (US Citizens).

You can book a reservation for a test, or drop in after clearing customs.

https://www.flylax.com/travelsafely#CovidTest
Agree.
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Old Jun 4th, 2021, 06:44 PM
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Thanks for your responses.

Actually, we'd be flying from Doha, Qatar nonstop to LAX -- 16 hours. But we have one of those Qatar Airlines suites with a full bed, so it should be tolerable.

We are scheduled to arrive in L.A. 2:00pm Fri. 9/15 so we should be able to get test results and fly out Saturday.

I don't know if the airline will allow me to keep the reservation without the last leg (LAX to LIH). But even if they will, I'm hesitant to change that because, based on today's announcement (see below), I am hoping Hawaii's entry requirements will change--and for the same FF miles, we now have first class tix from LAX to LIH.

Today, the governor announced that effective June 15th, HI residents returning from the mainland will only need to provide of being fully vaccinated WITHIN THE STATE OF HAWAII.

When 60% of Hawaii's population is vaccinated visitors from the U.S. will be able to skip the testing and quarantine if they can provide proof of their vaccination status.

When 70% vaccination is reached there will be no restrictions or requirements.

So, I guess I will wait and see if the current requirements change for those arriving internationally.
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Old Jun 5th, 2021, 02:02 AM
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Your flight to Hawaii is not arriving internationally, it's coming from LA. Does the state clarify what constitutes an international arrival? If it's within a certain time period then you'd need to follow the rules even if noone is enforcing them.
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Old Jun 5th, 2021, 06:37 AM
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Most places that have rules mean if you have been in that other place any time withhin the past two weeks or something like that. I seriously doubt that a layover in LAX now means they would be considered coming from the US. It shouldn't, because that''s kind of silly since they were in the other place before that.

I would have simply scheduled a long enough layover in LAX to take the test, also. Maybe you'll get lucky.

I don't think you are considering the easiest options, other than hoping things will change (you may be right).
Even if you drop that last leg, you can easily book a cheap one-way flight from LAX to Hawaii for less than $200. Wouldn 't that be a lot better than cancelling everything? Someone above suggested this also but you don't seem to be consdering it.


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Old Jun 5th, 2021, 09:44 AM
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I would first call AA Customer Service and ask them about extending your LAX layover by enough to allow for the test. Throughout the pandemic, AA has been fairly reasonable in waiving rules in order to work within the constraints imposed by the health authorities. It looks like your QR flight arrives at 2 PM, and while the 6 PM departure to LIH would be "legal" in terms of connection times, there's also a 9:55 AM departure the next morning to LIH, so it wouldn't take a lot of shifting things for AA to allow the "forced" overnight at LAX. You'd still be under a 24h connection window.

A similar "forced" layover could be achieved by switching your QR flight to Seattle instead of LAX. Not only is the longhaul flight (and indeed the whole route) a couple of hours shorter but the QR DOH-SEA flight arrives at noon in Seattle and a nonstop Alaska flight departs the next day at 11:20 AM, so also under 24h. No idea if there's space on any of these alternates on your dates, but it's certainly worth a phone call.
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Old Jun 5th, 2021, 10:18 AM
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Gardyloo: I LOVE that idea. I will check with AA customer service. Thank you.

Christina: <I would have simply scheduled a long enough layover in LAX to take the test, also. Maybe you'll get lucky.>

When I booked these flights (probably 8 months ago) I never imagined I would need a special test that can only been taken on the mainland.

<I don't think you are considering the easiest options, other than hoping things will change (you may be right).
Even if you drop that last leg, you can easily book a cheap one-way flight from LAX to Hawaii for less than $200. Wouldn 't that be a lot better than cancelling everything? Someone above suggested this also but you don't seem to be consdering it.>

I'm definitely considering it. But I'm waiting to see if the rules will change to allow HI residents who were vaccinated within the state to return w/o the special test or quarantine -- before I forfeit our first class seats from LAX and adding the cost of two more flights.
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Old Jun 5th, 2021, 10:23 AM
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With a travel date in September, I'd be in the "wait and see" camp.

There's a chance you might even be able to get your test result in time if you use the 1-hour facility inside LAX. Depending of course on how long it takes to clear Customs and Immigration, which I think would be needed to get to the 1-hour test location which I believe is landside in TBIT.

https://abc7.com/lax-covid-19-test-c...avel/10534879/
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Old Jun 7th, 2021, 08:20 AM
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Just one more thought for you. Can you book a flight from LAX to LIH that is fully refundable. If so, then book it for later in order to have time to do the test, but at the same time keep your original flights. If things do change then cancel the new flight. If they don't then cancel the old flight .
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Old Jun 9th, 2021, 10:47 PM
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My goodness, those rules on the DOH site made me dizzy.

​​But, as you wrote: "When 70% vaccination is reached there will be no restrictions or requirements."

As of today, June 9, 67.8% in Hawaii have rec'd at least first C19 vaccination dose. Presumably those with only dose #1 will follow with shot #2.

Another 2.2% fully vaxxed by your departure date (let alone your return date) is very, very, likely. Given that, despite not being much of a travel-plan risk taker, I (if--sigh--it were me traveling ) would not change any part of the current return trip itinerary.

I am soooooo happyyyy for you Songdoc that you and DH will at last get to Kenya.. in the First Class Q Suite no less!!
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Old Jun 12th, 2021, 05:23 PM
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Thanks, CaliNurse. Here, (in the newspapers and local news) we are seeing lower numbers for the percentage of vaccinated -- just under 60%. Yesterday, the governor announced that restrictions might not ease up until October.

Less than 1% of Kenya's population is vaccinated. But our biggest concern is not getting sick (because we are vaccinated); it is a new variant or a spike that would close borders while we are gone. For now, we are taking it a day at a time and remaining cautiously semi-optimistic. ;-)
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Old Jun 12th, 2021, 05:31 PM
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From 5 days ago:Vaccinated mainlanders will be able to skip COVID-19 testing and quarantines in Hawaii once the state hits a 60% vaccination rate, according to Hawaii Gov. David Ige. Once 70% of Hawaii residents are fully vaccinated, the state will drop all travel restrictions and sunset its Safe Travels program.

As of June 7, 53% of Hawaii residents were fully vaccinated and 60% had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Hawaii's health department. In theory, travel restrictions could begin to ease within weeks if everyone follows up with a second dose of the vaccine.
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Old Jun 12th, 2021, 10:47 PM
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Oh, those ever-changing rules, and differing stats depending on which site one checks, are maddening! Still, good news if I undersatnd correctly, and unless Gov. Ige changes his mind again) that 60% fully vaxxed in HI will allow vaxxed mainlanders to visit without the testing hassle? Great!

Case in point re: differing numbers: "Our World in Data" today shows Hawaii 68.1% with at least one dose as of June 12.

LOL " cautiously semi-optimistic"--not even "cautiously optimistic"! Well, that's better than downright pessimistic. It's true, a lot can change in the next few months, as it has for the past 16! I'm staying hopeful for all of us, and hoping Kenya gets far more vaccinated as the best way to combat possible "scariants"!
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Old Jun 15th, 2021, 10:04 PM
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The "universe" might have just provided me with a solution. My flight from LAX to LIH has been canceled.
The new flight leaves at 10 AM the following morning. So I will have from 2 PM Weds. until the Thursday morning to get tested at LAX. I tried to get them to put me on the 6 PM flight on Thursday, but that exceeded the permitted layover and would have required an additional ticket.

CaliNurse:

Ha! I'm not sure why, but I have moved back up to "cautiously" optimistic![/color]
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Old Jun 18th, 2021, 02:06 PM
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Ah yes, don't you love those "universe" solutions?
By September, need for a test might be a moot point, if HI state's vax rate % increases...assuming I understand correctly. "Wouldn't it be loverly" to have errands-free time to relax and re-acclimate overnight?
Arriving to LAX on a OneWorld partner in First/Business, you should have access to AA Admirals Club and/or Flagship Lounge at LAX, with showers & rest areas. (This info is from flight I had to cancel last yr; not sure which lounges/hours are open now)
In any case, fingers crossed with cautious optimism for you and E Africa!

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Old Jun 18th, 2021, 02:16 PM
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Update--just saw this (below) and posted aloon the other HI visitor thread.

IF I understand correctly, you will NOT need the test in LA, assuming your vacc was administered in HI)?

(Can you tell I'm eager to get back for a visit ? )

From Governor's office: Also as of June 15, 2021, all travelers vaccinated within Hawaii are now able to travel via trans-Pacific routes without a pre-travel test. As of June 15th, travelers entering the state who have been vaccinated in Hawaii may bypass the quarantine without a pre-travel test

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Old Jun 18th, 2021, 07:13 PM
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CaliNurse: That's VERY exciting news. (We we're both vaccinated in Hawaii.) YEA!

Yes, we will be able to use the lounge at LAX, but not sure we'll use it other than the morning of the flight because we will need a hotel to stay overnight.

Now, time to practice my wildlife photography. These are the rare, elusive Hawaiian miniature wildcats. Very vicious.





















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