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American Airlines will offer coronavirus testing kits you can do at home

The test kits from LetsGetChecked will cost $129

An American Airlines aircraft at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Va. (Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg News)

American Airlines is expanding its coronavirus testing program to offer at-home testing kits to customers traveling to any U.S. city that has travel restrictions in place.

Beginning Wednesday, American Airlines customers can order test kits that will enable them to collect their own samples and send them to a lab. The kits will cost $129 and will provide results within 48 hours after the sample is received. The results can be used for flights on or after Dec. 12.

“We’ve made great strides to help open international travel with our testing partners, and we recognize the need for similar domestic travel solutions,” Alison Taylor, the airline’s chief customer officer, said in a statement that accompanied Tuesday’s announcement.

Before the announcement, American offered testing as an option only for customers traveling to a small number of international destinations and Hawaii.

As more cities have begun allowing visitors to reduce or even skip quarantine requirements with proof of a negative coronavirus test, airlines and airports have expanded testing offerings. American’s announcement is more evidence of how the travel industry has embraced testing as a strategy for restarting travel.

Coronavirus testing before flying could soon become the norm

Even so, amid a dramatic spike in infections, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have continued to urge people to avoid travel when possible. The agency recently recommended that those who plan to travel get tested before and after their trips and consider reducing nonessential activities after their trip for seven days, even if they test negative. If they don’t get tested, they should consider reducing nonessential activities for 10 days after travel.

Health officials also warn that a negative test result represents only a single point in time and does not guarantee that people won’t later become infected. People must continue to wear masks, wash their hands frequently and practice social distancing, health officials say.