Travel Alert: COVID-19 Testing Requirements for Passengers Traveling to the US

Wednesday, January 13, 2021, 9:33 AM

Beginning Jan. 26, the U.S. government will require all passengers two years of age and older traveling to the United States from any international location to test negative for COVID-19 within three calendar days of departure.

At American Airlines, we’re committed to protecting the health and safety of our customers and team members, and this testing requirement will provide yet another layer of protection in the travel journey. We support the implementation of a global program to require COVID-19 testing for travelers to the United States.

American is working closely with U.S. authorities as it implements this new order and, at the same time, taking care of any affected customers by assisting them with rebooking options. Our team is proactively reaching out to customers who may be affected by this order to ensure they know what to expect.

Frequently asked questions


For more details on the order, including additional FAQs, visit the CDC’s website.


When does this order go into effect?
Jan. 26, 2021.

What does the order require?
According to the order, all customers traveling to the United States from an international location are required to test negative for COVID-19 within three calendar days of their departure, and present evidence of the negative test result to American Airlines prior to departure.

What can customers expect when flying American?

  1. Test results: Customers will be asked to show evidence of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three calendar days of their departure. The test results may be in digital or paper form and should be shown to an American Airlines agent prior to departure.
  2. CDC attestation form: An American Airlines agent will collect the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) attestation form. Customers can print the form from the CDC’s website or complete one prior to departure.

What happens if a customer hasn’t taken a COVID-19 test within three calendar days of departure or does not have test results?
Customers who have not completed a test and/or do not have test results to present will not be allowed to board their flight bound for the United States.

What types of tests are approved?
A viral detection test for current infection (i.e., a nucleic acid amplification test or a viral antigen test). Learn more about viral detection tests on the CDC’s website.

Are there specific approved testing vendors?
No.

Is the three-day requirement from the initial start of the travel itinerary?
According to the order:

  • If a customer is arriving on a direct flight to U.S., the negative test must occur within three calendar days preceding the flight’s departure.
  • If a customer is arriving via one or more connecting flights, the negative test must occur within three calendar days preceding the departure of the initial flight, but only if:
    • The connecting flights were booked as a single passenger record with a destination in the U.S.
    • Each connection is no longer than 24 hours, and
    • The airline instructs the customer to comply and uses reasonable efforts to facilitate compliance.

What if travel begins in the U.S. and returns to the U.S. from an international location within three business days?
The order doesn’t address this scenario, but American is looking into it.

Does this order apply to customers who have received the COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes.

Does this order apply to customers who have recently recovered from COVID-19?
According to the order, customers who have had lab-confirmed COVID-19 within the past three months can travel to the U.S. if they present the approved positive test result and a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or public health official stating the customer has been cleared for travel. For more details on what’s required, we encourage customers to review the CDC’s order.

Is American providing tests for customers?
No. Customers will be responsible for securing approved COVID-19 tests in accordance with the order.

Can customers change their travel plans to ensure compliance with the order?
Yes. The vast majority of travel booked on American, including short- and long-haul international flights, does not have change fees. You can learn more about American’s elimination of change fees by visiting aa.com. Additionally, American is waiving the fare difference for customers with travel scheduled Jan. 12 through Feb. 9. These customers may rebook in the same cabin of service with no charge for the same origin and destination. New travel must start on or before Jan. 25.

Customers who need to change their travel plans should visit aa.com or call our Reservations team or your travel agent.

About American Airlines Group
American’s purpose is to care for people on life’s journey. Shares of American Airlines Group Inc. trade on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol AAL and the company’s stock is included in the S&P 500. Learn more about what’s happening at American by visiting news.aa.com and connect with American on Twitter @AmericanAir and at Facebook.com/AmericanAirlines.