Alaska Airlines in cooperation with the State of Hawaii has partnered in the Pre-Clearance program for visitors to Hawaii. At the time of this writing, Alaska Airlines is the only air carrier to participate in this program. Visitors flying to Hawaii on Alaska Airlines can save from three to five hours upon arrival in Hawaii with this fast track program. Previously, I wrote a post that was an overview of the program, you can read it here. Yesterday, I walked through my pre-travel steps to qualify for the pre-clearance program, you can read that post here. Today in part 2, I will go through the steps that I went through on the day of my flight to Hawaii.
Kauai Is Back Open
Kauai had opted out of the pre-clearance program during the resurgence of Covid. Kauai has reopened with modified restrictions. Please refer to the official Hawaii information page by clicking here.
Kauai travel advisory: Beginning January 5, 2021, a new pre-and post-travel testing program for out-of-state visitors will be implemented.
Kauai will also resume participation in the State of Hawaii’s pre-travel testing program for inter-island travel only.
Prior To Leaving Home
In review from yesterday, you should have uploaded your negative Covid test PDF file and answered the health questionnaire to the Hawaii Safe Travels website. After completing those tasks, you will receive an email from firstname.lastname@example.org with a QR code. I saved the QR code to my cell phone.
You may need to show this QR code when you check in with Alaska Airlines at the airport. Alaska Airlines does receive a daily manifest from the State of Hawaii with the names of pre-cleared passengers for that day’s flights. I recommend that you have the QR code with you just in case there is a problem with the manifest.
At Your Departure Airport
The customer service agent (CSA) will be your point of contact to receive your pre-clearance wristband.
If you are on a nonstop flight, you will receive your wristband from the CSA when you check your bags or at your boarding gate. If you have a connecting flight, you will receive your wristband from the CSA at the boarding gate for your final flight that is landing in Hawaii.
Wristbands are quantity controlled by the airline. Do not lose your wristband. Make sure that it is fastened tight enough that it will not fall off. If you lose your wristband, you will not be issued a replacement.
Also, be aware that wristbands are color-coded for your flight. If you try to deplane with the wrong color wristband, you will join the general population line to enter Hawaii.
Arriving In Hawaii
Upon deplaning at the gate, you will turn to baggage claim if you have a wristband. If you don’t have a wristband or do not have the required negative Covid test results, you will be put in the general population line. I was told by CSA’s at Alaska Airlines that the general population line can take three to five hours to exit.
We made it from the aircraft to baggage claim in less than 10 minutes with pre-clearance. After another 18 minutes, we had our bags and we headed to the exit.
The Hawaii Pre-clearance program can save you several hours on exiting the airport. We had to make an extra trip to Portland airport to take the Covid test at a cost of $135.00. It was easy to build my safe travels account and upload my test results and health questionnaire.
My arrival in Honolulu was quick and easy just like it was before the pandemic. For me, it was worth the extra time and expense in the front end to sail through on the arrival in Hawaii. I definitely recommend the pre-clearance program.