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Friday, July 19th 2024

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What I can tell you about bypassing Hawaii's quarantine with a negative test


Do I need to quarantine in Hawaii?

On October 15th, Hawaii started allowing people to bypass their quarantine, if they brought a recent negative test result with them. The problem was, they were only allowing test results from particular U.S. lab partners, making it difficult for Canadians.

On November 19th, Westjet announced that DynaLIFE Medical Labs was approved by Hawaii as a trusted test partner. They are the first one in Canada to be approved.

So how does this work?

Here is the info from the Westjet website:

To avoid quarantine when travelling to Hawaii, guests must:

1. Set up a Safe Travels Hawaii account for each travelling adult at http://travel.hawaii.gov

2. Take a test at a DynaLIFE participating pharmacy location within 72-hours of their flight departing to Hawaii.
The test is $150 CAD.

3. Complete the Travel Health Questionnaire on Safe Travels within 24 hours of their flight departure to receive a personalized QR code.

4. Display the Safe Travels QR code and negative test result from DynaLIFE during boarding.

5. Complete the final screening process upon arrival into Hawaii by showing the personalized QR code, negative test results, government ID, and be prepared to demonstrate their method of communication for the daily health check-in (i.e. cell phone).

What are the DynaLIFE participating pharmacy locations, where I take the test?

Currently, the DynaLIFE website doesn't make it very easy to find the participating locations, particularly in Calgary.

What you need to do is go to their Travel Covid-19 Testing page.

I had to pretend to make a booking, to get to the final step, which lists the locations. Here are the Calgary locations, they are all at Shoppers Drug Mart.

Calgary NW
28 Crowfoot Terrace NW
3625 Shaganappi Trail NW

Calgary NE
5500 Falsbridge Dr NE

Calgary SW
2412 4 Street SW
2067 33 Ave SW

Calgary SE
19489 Seton Cres SE

There are also 9 locations in Edmonton, 2 in Lethbridge, and 1 in Fort McMurray, Medicine Hat, and Red Deer.

And what about when I return, do I still quarantine in Canada?

The steps above are only to bypass quarantine on Hawaii's side.

The only way to bypass the 14-day quarantine on Canada's side when you return is to be involved with the test program going on at Calgary YYC airport, for international arrivals.

It's best to think of them as 2 completely separate programs, with different steps and qualifications for each. Just because you qualify for one, does not mean you qualify for the other.

You will want to make sure to read and understand the full details about the test program for YYC international arrivals. There are quite a few things to be aware of.

The short version is that your flight coming home must have Calgary (YYC) as it's first entry point into Canada, so that you arrive at YYC's international terminal, in order for the flight to qualify.

What this means is that it would need to be either:
- a non-stop flight from Honolulu/Maui to Calgary
- a flight from somewhere in Hawaii, to the U.S. mainland (usually San Francisco, Seattle, or Los Angeles), and then directly from there to Calgary.

A flight from Hawaii to Vancouver to Calgary would not qualify, because in that case Vancouver is your first point of entry into Canada.

Speaking of non-stop flights...

Are there any non-stop flights from Canada to Hawaii?

No. Not yet, anyways. Westjet and Air Canada have been trying to resume their flights from Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto to Honolulu (HNL) and Maui (OGG) since October.

But up until this point, without the ability to bypass quarantine on Hawaii's side (not to mention the quarantine on Canada's side), the demand has been too low, so they keep getting cancelled.

Air Canada and Westjet both have non-stop flights scheduled from Calgary, Vancouver, and Toronto to Honolulu & Maui starting December 19th.

The question is, will this create enough demand for those flights to resume on December 19th? Or will they get pushed back another month?

If you were placing bets on the flights that will actually fly, it would be Westjet's non-stop flights from Calgary to Honolulu (HNL) and Maui (OGG). In second place would be Air Canada's non-stop flights from Calgary to Maui (OGG). These are the only flights that qualify to bypass quarantine on Canada's side when you return, because they fly right into YYC's international terminal. And Alberta is the only province with approved testing to bypass quarantine on Hawaii's side.

Flights from Vancouver/Toronto to Hawaii are not likely to resume until B.C. or Ontario are in a similar situation.

So, can I get the test through DynaLIFE, and fly with someone else besides Westjet?

The Westjet website certainly makes it *sound* like you need to fly with them ('WestJet has partnered with the Government of Hawaii...'). But of course they're going to make it sound that way.

My hunch is that DynaLIFE would gladly take your $150 for the test, and Hawaii would accept the result from DynaLIFE, even if you fly there on Air Canada, United, etc.

But I have no official confirmation of this. I have seen that Air Canada put out a press release 'welcoming the announcement that Canadians are now eligible to be exempt from Hawaii's quarantine'. And that Air Canada is 'pleased to be a preferred airline in Hawaii's Safe Travels Program'.

The Air Canada press release makes no mention of DynaLIFE, or any other testing location, and says that 'additional details about Hawaii's pre-travel testing requirements for customers will be available shortly on aircanada.com'.

Update: I have heard from travellers who contacted airlines other than Westjet and Air Canada, and they confirmed that they were still eligible for the DynaLIFE test and that Hawaii would accept it.

Update Nov 26th: DynaLIFE has updated their website, and it now states that you 'must be on a direct flight with WestJet or Air Canada only (no USA flight connections) or your travel certificate will not be accepted'.

Are there any great deals to Hawaii right now?

There are some pretty great prices from Calgary to Maui on Air Canada right now. $445 CAD roundtrip, for non-stop flights, even over Christmas...

Google Flights: Calgary to Kahului, Maui (OGG)

And Westjet has non-stop flights from Calgary to Honolulu or Maui for $517 CAD roundtrip over Christmas ($575 in January, February, March)...

Google Flights: Calgary to Honolulu (HNL)

Google Flights: Calgary to Honolulu (HNL)

But as I mentioned above, zero flights have yet to actually fly from anywhere in Canada to Hawaii.

Is there anything else I should know about flying to Hawaii?

You may want to be aware of the special requirements that each of the 4 major islands has for incoming tourists.

Kauai and Maui are asking people to volunteer to take a second test 72 hours after arrival. Oahu / Honolulu has no additional requirements.

The Big Island (Kona) is requiring that visitors take another mandatory rapid antigen test when they land.

more info: https://ydeals.com/where-canadians-can-travel#hawaii

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