US airlines, government tighten Covid testing requirements, flights are cancelled
President Biden’s Executive Order did not mandate a quarantine period, but a 7-day stay at home period is recommended and a recent negative COVID-19 is required for boarding
Patrick O’Heffernan, Ajijic. Effective January 26, all airline passengers – either citizens or foreign nationals – must provide a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within three calendar days of boarding a flight to the US. Travelers may also provide documentation from a licensed health care provider documenting recovery from COVID-19 in the 90 days preceding travel if they have been previously infected.
This requirement does not currently apply to travelers entering the United States by land or sea or to children under two years of age. No quarantine is mandated after entry into the US but the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends a 7-day quarantine or stay at home period for travelers arriving by air even if they have tested negative for Covid.
The non-mandatory quarantine recommendation is a result of the Executive Order signed by President Biden last week that tasked U.S. federal agencies to “…identify agencies’ tools and mechanisms to assist travelers in complying with such policy” within two weeks. However, CDC spokeswoman Caitlin Shockey told the Washington Post that current rules are not “a mandatory quarantine” requirement, but rather “just a recommendation.”
In response, several hotel chains and airlines, including Volaris and AeroMexico, are offering Covid tests at reduced prices to visitors returning to the United States from tourist destinations. Aero Mexico has agreements with Lapi Laboratorio Medico and Laboratorio Medico del Chopo to provide discounts for travelers with a valid reservation with Aero Mexico or partner Delta Air Lines.
Despite the availability of discounted testing and the lack of mandatory quarantine regulations in the US, many passengers have cancelled reservations for return travel to the US, causing flights from Mexico City and tourist destinations to take off with few passengers or be cancelled altogether.
Persons who wish to return to the US from Lakeside via Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla Guadalajara International Airport should obtain a test at one of the local laboratories three days before travel and bring it to the airport. Passengers with reservations on Delta or AeroMexico should check the airline’s website (https://www.aeromexico.com/en-us/actions-covid19/laboratory-alliances) for laboratories offering discounted tests.