United Airlines' Hawaii Pre-Clearance Program Allows COVID-19 Negative Passengers to Bypass Screening Lines on Arrival in Hawaii. United is the third airline to launch Hawaii Pre-Clearance, after Alaska Airlines (see Alaska Airlines Hawaii Pre-Clearance) and Hawaiian Airlines.
United's Hawaii pre-clearance process will start February 1, 2021, for 110 of United's weekly flights to Hawaii from United's hub airports:
- Chicago ORD
- Denver DEN
- Houston IAH
- Los Angeles LAX
- Newark EWR
- San Francisco SFO
- Washington Dulles IAD
To use United's pre-clearance program, travelers must first enroll in Hawaii's Safe Travels program and complete the COVID-19 questionnaire in the 24 hours prior to departure. Travelers must then upload to the Hawaii Safe Travels Web site their negative test results, from a COVID-19 test taken within the 72 hours prior to the departure of their final flight leg to Hawaii. The COVID-19 test must taken with one of Hawaii's trusted testing partners.
At the airport, travelers will provide their QR code from the Hawaii Safe Travels Web site to a United team member at the gate for their flight to Hawaii. If they qualify to bypass airport screening in Hawaii, they'll receive a blue wristband. Customers who have been pre-cleared will be able to skip test screenings in Hawaii and begin their trip as soon as they land.
Keep in mind that Hawaii requires that a negative COVID-19 result must be received before boarding the flight to Hawaii, to avoid the 10-day quarantine, and that Kauai is NOT participating in the trans-Pacific Hawaii Safe Travels program, only interisland travel (see Kauai: COVID-19 Test to Avoid Interisland Quarantine). Also, Maui Visitors must use the AlohaSafe Alert COVID-19 Tracing App or be traveling with someone who does.
Hawaii's more stringent enforcement of its COVID-19 measures has made it the only U.S. state to currently have an average daily new coronavirus case count per 100,000 people in the single digits: 8 average daily new cases per 100K, compared to 17 for Oregon, the next lowest state.
United Airlines is the Hawaii Pre-Clearance Partner We've Been Waiting For
While Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines also offer Hawaii pre-clearance, United Airlines is the airline we're most happy to see roll out a pre-clearance program. That's because Alaska doesn't offer flat bed seats to Hawaii, and Hawaiian Airlines, which does offer flat bed seats, doesn't offer an attractive award chart for first class. Hawaiian First Class is typically 130,000 miles each way from NYC, and 80,000 miles each way from West Coast gateways such as LAX. It's also not possible to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hawaiian miles.
In comparison, United Polaris is usually 50,000-95,000 miles each way from New York EWR, or 40,000-74,000 miles each way from SFO, and Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer 1:1 to United. Since it's possible to earn 5X points per dollar for all phone, cable, Internet, office supply store (and by extension, Amazon, Whole Foods, and other retailer spend where gift cards are purchased from an office supply store) with the Chase Ink Cash or the old Ink Plus card, $8000-$10,000 of this type of 5X spend could earn enough for a one way United Polaris business class ticket to Hawaii. Much more spending would be required for a Hawaiian First Class award.
Best Hawaii Luxury Hotels and Resorts
Those who prefer more dining and shopping options may opt for the Four Seasons Maui at Wailea.
Keep in mind that TravelSort Clients enjoy exclusive Four Seasons Preferred Partner benefits and top priority for upgrades. The recently enhanced Four Seasons Preferred Partner benefits include $200 resort credit for suites, and there's Private Suite at LAX access for select Four Seasons Hawaii suite guests.
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