Canada’s two largest airlines now offer quarantine exemption programs for travellers looking to visit the Hawaiian Islands–but the Canadian government advises against travel outside the country at this time.
Last week, both Air Canada and WestJet announced that their COVID-19 testing programs had been approved by the State of Hawaii, allowing Canadian travellers to skip the mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival.
However, the Government of Canada warns against travel outside of the country. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, governments that have opened their borders to tourists could impose strict travel restrictions suddenly, which could make it difficult for you to return home.
B.C. has also tightened up restrictions on travel, although flights in and out of the province are still permitted. Also, you’ll have to quarantine for 14 days on your return home.
WestJet’s Hawaii Testing Program
Guests travelling to Hawaii are responsible for ensuring they receive a test within 72-hours of their flight departing to Hawaii in order to avoid quarantine and will be required to display their negative test result prior to boarding. If test results are not available before boarding the final leg of the trip, the traveller must quarantine for 14 days or the length of the stay, whichever is shorter.
“Many Canadians love to visit Hawaiʻi during the winter months to escape the cold weather, so the timing for this works well. Hawaiʻi has the most rigorous pre-travel testing program in the United States, and we’re grateful to WestJet for making it available to their passengers,” said Hawaii’s Governor David Ige.
Last week, the airline announced its December schedule including twice-weekly, non-stop Dreamliner service between Calgary and Honolulu and Calgary and Maui.
The airline will begin the testing program in partnership with DynaLIFE in Alberta for guests holding a WestJet-ticketed itinerary to Hawaii within 72-hours. Details can be found here.
WestJet offers no-charge COVID-19 travel insurance coverage travel to and from the US, Europe, the UK, Mexico and the Caribbean until Aug. 31, 2021.
Air Canada’s Hawaii Testing Program
Air Canada’s services to Hawaii from Vancouver begins on Dec. 17 with four weekly flights to Maui and three weekly flights to Honolulu. From Calgary, flights to Maui begin Dec. 18 and are planned to ramp up to multiple times a week.
“We applaud Governor Ige’s announcement that Hawaii’s science-based, pre-travel testing initiative is now available for Canadians to be exempt from mandatory quarantine requirements on arrival in Hawaii, and we are very pleased Air Canada is a preferred airline in Hawaii’s Safe Travels Program. We have long advocated for safe and science-based strategies over blanket quarantines to enable a safe and secure resumption of air travel. Air Canada’s industry-leading Air Canada CleanCare+ suite of biosafety standards and preventative measures across its operations means customers can always book and travel Air Canada with confidence,” said Timothy Liu, Managing Director, Sales Planning at Air Canada.
Air Canada says that additional details about its “Hawaii’s pre-travel testing requirements for customers will be available shortly” on its website.
Now, new eligible round-trip international bookings originating in Canada booked before Nov. 30, 2020 will automatically include complimentary Manulife COVID-19 medical and quarantine insurance. This insurance covers Canadian residents when travelling to every destination the airline flies to, outside of Canada, on a booking made with Air Canada, for travel completed by until April 12, 2021.
Note: Health Canada does not advise you to get a COVID-19 test if you do not have symptoms of the virus. Since a negative result is required for the Hawaiian pre-testing program, this would go against public health advice.
Under a measure from the Government of British Columbia, all arriving passengers from outside Canada, regardless of their final destination, are required to submit a self-isolation plan. Learn more about the Province’s self-isolation plan requirement here. The plan can be submitted online here or at the Self-Assessment Tool, through the BC COVID-19 Support App, or in-person on arrival at YVR. It must show that returning passengers have supports in place to safely self-isolate for 14 days.