Hawaiian Airlines had been offering its Pre-Clear Program, which removes quarantine restrictions for approved travelers, solely to passengers flying from a number of domestic airports to Honolulu. Not anymore. That option has now been extended to international airports for the first time, allowing some passengers from East Asia to take advantage of it.
The Pre-Clear Program has now been adopted for those flying on this airline from Tokyo’s Narita International Airport – that started occurring over the weekend – and it is being further expanded this week to those flying from Kansai International Airport in Osaka, Japan, and Incheon International Airport in Seoul, South Korea.
This program had already been in operation at 15 United States-based airports, including ones located in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Boston. A 16th, Texas’ Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, will be added to that list on April 22.
What the Pre-Clear Program offers is the ability for these passengers to skip the oftentimes long waits to be medically cleared upon arrival in Honolulu and being able to immediately explore the state without needing to quarantine for any time prior to being allowed to.
To participate in this program, passengers need to create a Safe Travels account, submit their flight and accommodations information to it, complete its health questionnaire and upload a PDF of a negative COVID-19 test result that correlates with a test that had been taken within 72 hours of the scheduled departure time for their Hawaii-bound flight. The test must have been taken with an approved provider.
Passengers should be prepared to show that all of the required steps have been completed when checking in at their departure airport and to show officials after arriving in Hawaii. If they cannot, they will be subject to the 10-day quarantine that is required of many who enter that state.
Hawaiian officials hope that the easing of their state’s quarantine restrictions in this way will help further stimulate the economy, which is highly dependent on tourism, while doing so “in a way that is safe for visitors and our community,” according to Theo Panagiotoulias, Hawaiian Airlines’ senior vice president for global sales and alliances.
One of the reasons why tourism should increase as a result of expanding this program to Japan and South Korea and potentially elsewhere at a later time is because the Pre-Clear Program “simplifies the travel experience for our international guests,” Panagiotoulias said.
Japan in particular is of vital importance to the Hawaiian tourism market as 1.6 million Japanese tourists visited Hawaii in 2019 before that number plummeted to 300,000 a year later. Meanwhile, its focus on South Korea is significant as well; a second weekly flight between Seoul and Honolulu was recently added.