Hawaii proposes quarantine-free travel bubble to Australia

Say 'aloha' to your next holiday?

By Brandon Loo, June 26 2020
Hawaii proposes quarantine-free travel bubble to Australia

Hawaii has joined the growing list of destinations proposing a travel bubble to Australia, with travellers allowed to skip a 14-day quarantine and head straight from airport to hotel resort to beach.

The island-state was able to adopt strict measures to bring the pandemic under control, and now has one of the lowest per-capita rates of infection and death in the United States. 

Hawaii Governor David Ige said on Wednesday said from August 1, travellers arriving from the US mainland "who have a valid negative Covid-19 test prior to arriving will not be subject to the 14-day mandatory quarantine."

Ige said Hawaii continues to discuss establishing "travel bubbles" with Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea, given that these countries all share low infection rates.

However, he acknowledged the challenge in communicating that while the virus continues to almost run rampant in other parts of the US, Hawaii should be seen in a more positive light rather than lumped in with the mainland.

"We recognize that there are many concerns that continue," Ige said. "We believe this process of pre-testing does allow us to bring travelers back to Hawaii in a way that maintains a priority on the health and safety of our community."

Ige said that a test taken 72 hours before passengers arrived in Hawaii would be a "reasonable" timeframe, although  inbound passengers would also be screened for high temperatures and virus symptoms.

The decision is driven by a need to restart Hawaii's economy, which is heavily dependent on tourism. The state tourism body says that more than 10.4 million visitors came to the islands last year, supporting some 216,000 jobs in a population of some 1.4 million.

“People do need to get back to work, but it must be done in a manner that protects the health of our community,” Ige said, reasoning that the pre-testing plan will allow the tourism industry to reopen without a significant spike in new Covid-19 cases.

"This multilayered, pre-travel testing and screening process allows travelers an alternative to the 14-day travel quarantine in a way that protects the health and safety of our community and visitors. Now is the time to work together to ensure that our local businesses can safely reopen to incoming travellers."

“We need to return to welcoming visitors to our shores," added Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. "For the state of Hawaii, we have approximately 240,000 unemployed people. We’re not going to see a return to a level of employment that we had before unless we open up to visitors."

Qantas, Jetstar and Hawaiian Airlines have all operated the 11-hour flight between Australia and Hawaii, although of course these now remain suspended.

Brandon Loo

Based in Perth, Brandon enjoys tucking into local delicacies, discovering new cocktails, and making aeroplane food look good on camera.


03 May 2013

Total posts 673

Awesome news.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Mar 2019

Total posts 22

Great that Hawaii is putting out the welcome mat for Aussies. But my PER-SYD-HNL flight in late August was cancelled by Qantas last week and international travel is destined to remain banned. So this is wishful thinking, perhaps a bit like Thailand's overture of a travel bubble with AU/NZ last week.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1199

It is hard to see how the AU Government could agree to this unless Hawaii closed its borders to other US states.

26 Jun 2020

Total posts 1

Not true. There is a 14 day quarantine period to enter.


30 Jun 2015

Total posts 35

Hawaii has indicated Americans who test negative within 72 hours of departure will be exempt from quarantine. US individualism means their airports will be a swamp of infection risks and travelers heading to Hawaii can easily be infected en route. I expect a major increase in outbreaks will result.

I usually transit LAX/SFO at least 8 times a year, but months ago decided these are no go zones for my travel (when permitted) until there is an effective vaccine.

So I doubt Hawaii will get a travel bubble with anywhere in the Pacific.

24 Jun 2020

Total posts 49

Sadly I agree that there will be no travel bubble with Hawaii or anyone else for 12 months or so when limited international flights will resume under strict regulatory conditions. It is nice to dream though....

19 Jan 2017

Total posts 8

Yep, happy to wait for our government to make border decisions. Too many opinions makes too much risk.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Feb 2017

Total posts 10

Given that it takes at least two days to find out the results of the test and given that it would be expected that people who were going to Hawaii, all flyers would have to trust that their fellow flyers have been strict about their hygiene and physical distancing regime. Let alone the less than stringent measures from the US. I think I would be rather reluctant to fly to Hawaii under those conditions.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

12 Apr 2017

Total posts 206

And that is how it should be. You are scared, so stay home and be isolated. I will live my life and travel the world with simple precautions. I don't look down on your personal choice and scared people should not criticise the ones who choose not be restricted.

03 Feb 2018

Total posts 73

@Richard W

You ought to start a campaign - MAFA (Make Australians "Free" Again). You could make hats and everything.

No doubt that Sky News, Andrew Bolt, Pauline Hanson and, even, chunks of AusBT would get behind you.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

12 Apr 2017

Total posts 206

Fantastic idea!!!!

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

05 Nov 2014

Total posts 61

There are clearly going to be two Pacific Travel Bubbles if Victoria get their act together.

The Anzac Bubble will be Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga.

The American Bubble will be French Polynesia, Hawaii, Guam and American Samoa.

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