And we thought the Road to Hana was tough
Air travel to Hawaii during Covid is not for the faint of heart, and definitely not for those who are over 65 and technologically challenged. The State of Hawaii has created a platform called Safe Travels (travel.hawaii.gov), designed to inform and guide visitors for ohana traveling to the Aloha state. The mandatory travel form includes details on where you will be traveling within the islands including addresses, phone numbers of locations, airline and flight info, a health questionnaire, and of course, your Covid test results. It actively screens, tracks and monitors travelers for public health and safety and is an alternative to being quarantined for 10 long days. We found Covid testing to be tricky in that a visitor must use a State of Hawaii approved testing site and it only can be done within 72 hours before the flight. The test can cost as much as $250.00 per traveler to as little as $20.00, depending on where you go and how much time you have to get the results. Once the State of Hawaii approves you, a QR code is issued that will bring up all your information. The QR code is your passport to fun in the sun and is checked upon arrival at the Hawaii airport and at your destination hotel, rental or VRBO.
The QR code has been with us for quite a few years but it has been employed much more frequently since the pandemic for all types of services. As in many restaurants throughout the country, the restaurants in Maui use QR codes instead of paper menus for sanitary reasons and in some cases, the QR code replaces contact with the server. It is also used to rent a car or reserve tee time at your favorite resort.
Once you get on the plane, be prepared for a bit of a change when flying the friendly skies.
Most airlines try to keep a seat open between travelers and require wearing a mask during the entire 5-plus hour flight. On the Southwest flight to Maui, food and drink services were quite limited. The only beverage offered was water and the food was a bag of carbs. Entertainment is up to you, as movies, etc. are accessed by your own device using the airline Wi-Fi. Screens in planes have become passé.
So, is it worth the hassle? Once you find that perfect seat near the pool or beach and witness humpback whales breaching in the distance as you sip on an umbrella clad drink, thoughts of QR codes and technology just magically slip away. It’s definitely worth it! Mahalo!