The idea started getting talked about more seriously this week after transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg said there was conversation going on inside the CDC about it.
Travelers flying in and out of Denver are listening to reports about the potential of a COVID-19 testing requirement for domestic air travel. The White House said as of now, a testing requirement is not in the works.
“I’d be OK with that. It’s a minor inconvenience. The fact is, if you’re positive for COVID you probably shouldn’t be on the plane anyway,” said traveler Dave Donahower, who arrived back in the United States from Spain after getting a test, required for international travelers heading to the U.S. “It doesn’t dissuade us from travelling.”
But others see it as a threat to the return to air travel.
“It’s going to totally kill the industry,” said domestic traveler William Bryant, who had just arrived from Phoenix. “Until they try it we won’t know, because we want to be safe, but I mean at some point it’s just not worth the hassle.”
But Friday, a presidential spokeswoman backed away from it, saying reports of a testing requirement are, “not accurate.”
“I don’t know I think it’s a gimmick more than anything else,” said airline industry analyst Mike Boyd of Boyd Group International.
For testing to be done on site at airports he saw a big logistical problem, “How many third parties are there right now in the Denver metropolitan area that you could put together in a week, to go out there and handle all the people who are going through Denver International Airport. I don’t think they’re there.”
A group of women arriving at DIA from a vacation in Puerto Vallarta said they liked the idea of testing before domestic flights after completing tests before their return to the US.
“I felt a lot more comfortable knowing that everyone tested negative on the way home,” said Jennifer Buckley of Centennial. “But I was wondering why it was not necessary on the way there?”
They bought six testing kits in the U.S. before their trip for $160. The kits required them to connect online with the testing company with a camera and have a company monitor watch them collect their swabs samples, then place them in a reactive envelope and seal them for fifteen minutes.
“They watch every little thing you’re doing They show the results, then get messages from the company that can produce a QR code then can upload t,” said Cheri West of Castle Rock. United Airlines. They found it easy, but it did require a regular laptop.
“I think it would be harder for older people or somebody who doesn’t have a laptop,” said Amy Luna of Lone Tree.
They found it reassuring and not difficult, though an extra cost. But right now, it does not appear to be in the near future for domestic travelers.