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Tucson International Airport Tucson Airport Authority Ryan Airfield

COVID Travel Questions Answered

Updated June 10, 2021

If you are flying soon, we have answers to questions regarding the latest changes in travel. We hope this helps on your journey through Tucson International Airport (TUS).

Restrictions have been lifted or relaxed at most destinations. Hawaii is the only destination in the United States that still requires arriving passengers to provide health documentation but that could be changing soon. (More on that in the answers to questions 7-9 below.)

Thank you for choosing Tucson International Airport. (Read a message from our CEO here.)

1. What should I know about booking a flight?

If you find a flight at a fare you feel is reasonable, book it. With passengers returning to travel much faster than was previously anticipated, tickets on some flights are selling quickly. Airlines are recalling crews and putting aircraft back into service but not fast enough to meet all of the demand. Summer airfares have increased and in many cases are now higher than what they were in 2019, according to the federal government’s May consumer price index. (Economists say they expect the sharp increases will moderate after summer travel.) Remember, too, that airlines have eliminated change fees on all but the lowest-priced basic economy fares so in many cases you will be able to change your ticket. (More about that in the answer to question 2.)

2. I'm worried about booking a flight, what if something happens to me?

If there has been a consumer benefit that has come from the current situation it is that Alaska, American, Delta and United airlines have permanently ended change fees on all but basic economy fare tickets. (Southwest Airlines has never charged change fees.) Ultra-low fare airlines Allegiant, Frontier and Sun Country are keeping their regular change-fee policies except that Allegiant has temporarily reduced the fee to $25 per person, per flight segment. In all cases, passengers pay the difference if the fare for the new flight is higher than the original fare.

For specifics click the link for your airline:

Alaska Airlines
Allegiant Air
American Airlines
Delta Air Lines
Frontier Airlines
Southwest Airlines
Sun Country Airlines
United Airlines

3. I have an airline credit from 2020, how do I use it?

You should be able to go online and use the credit to make a new reservation. Review the confirmation you received from your airline for specific information such as your ticket number and the date of the original purchase or the date the credit was issued. Once you have that, click on your airline’s name below for a link to begin making your new reservation. If you did not buy your ticket directly from an airline at TUS, contact the airline or service where you purchased the original ticket.

Alaska Airlines
Allegiant Air
American Airlines
Delta Air Lines
Frontier Airlines – book your new flight and select “Frontier Credit” on the payments page to apply your credit
Southwest Airlines – book a flight as you would normally do (search by dollars, not points) and select Travel Funds on the payment screen to apply your credit
Sun Country Airlines
United Airlines

If you require additional help, phone numbers for the airlines at TUS are here.

4. I have received my COVID-19 vaccination, is it OK to travel?

Yes, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Individuals who have been fully vaccinated – defined as 14 days after receiving the prescribed number of doses for the vaccine you have taken – can resume travel at low risk to themselves, according to a statement the agency issued April 2, 2021. (Read the CDC statement here.)

5. Where do I show my proof of vaccination?

It’s unlikely anyone will ask you to show your vaccination card as part of the normal process departing TUS, but it’s a good idea to bring it with you and keep it in a safe place, just in case. Any requirement for proof of vaccination will be at your destination. If proof is required most destinations will ask you to complete a form where you will provide specific information that can be verified. Your card will have some of this information. For international travel, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information here.

6. Now that the CDC says vaccinated people don't have to wear a face mask, does that mean I don't have to wear one when I fly?

No, the federal order to wear a face mask at airports and on airline flights is still in effect for all persons ages 2 and older. The May 13 guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention specifically notes the order remains in effect for travel. Read the CDC guidance here.

7. Do I need a COVID test to fly out from Tucson?

No, you do not need to take a COVID-19 test to fly out of Tucson International Airport (TUS). If you are going to Hawaii you will need to provide a negative COVID-19 test result for arrival. It is the only destination in the United States that still requires a test result. For international travel, the U.S. Department of State has information here.

8. I've been vaccinated, do COVID test requirements still apply to me?

The only domestic destination that does not exempt vaccinated travelers is Hawaii, but that could be changing soon. State officials say the test requirement will end for arriving domestic passengers who have been vaccinated once Hawaii’s vaccination rate reaches 60%. As of June 9 the Hawaii Department of Health said vaccinations had reached 53% and that 60% of the population had received their first dose. Separately, Hawaii is lifting restrictions on inter-island travel as of Tuesday, June 15. For international travel, the U.S. Department of State has information here. International travelers returning to the United States must continue to follow the requirements described in the answer to question 11 below.

9. Are the COVID-19 tests at TUS good for travel to Hawaii?

No, while the free test administered by Paradigm Labs is a PCR test that meets the standards set by the CLIA (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments), Hawaii officials have declined to include them as a partner. To satisfy Hawaii’s regulations, test providers charge a fee. In the Tucson area, Costco, CVS Health and Walgreens offer COVID-19 tests that are approved by Hawaii. You should also check with your airline as some provide access to other alternatives.

10. Will I have to quarantine if I fly somewhere from Tucson?

No, there no longer are any domestic destinations in the United States that have mandatory quarantine requirements. For international travel, the U.S. Department of State has information here.

11. I'm a U.S. citizen returning home on an international flight, what do I need to do?

As of January 26, 2021, all passengers ages 2 and older on international flights entering the United States must present a negative result from a COVID-19 test taken within three calendar days of the day of departure or have proof of recovery from the virus within the last 90 days. This includes U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents. Airlines are required by U.S. law to deny boarding to any passenger who cannot furnish the documentation at the point of departure for the international flight. Arizona has no additional mandates so nothing more needs to be provided upon arrival at TUS.

The U.S. Department of State has information here.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has answers to questions on the requirement here.

12. What should I do if I have a flight in the next 24 hours?

Generally, do as you always would have done. Check-in for your flight remotely if you can and have your boarding passes either on your mobile device or printed when you arrive at the airport. (It is still possible to check-in at the airport, if necessary.) Bring and wear a cloth face covering in the terminal and on your flights. (As of February 2, 2021, it is a federal mandate.) It’s also a good idea to bring disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer for yourself. When you arrive at TUS please adhere to the signage and floor markers for safe social distancing. You can check current status of today’s flights at TUS here.

13. Is TSA doing anything differently at the security checkpoints?

Yes, there are several changes. Among them, an individual can temporarily carry-on one larger liquid hand sanitizer container up to 12 ounces and food items in clear plastic bags. These items must be removed from your carry-on bag and screened separately. More about TSA changes on the TUS Security page here.

14. Should I arrive at the airport earlier than normal for my flight?

So far that hasn’t been necessary in most cases but with increasing numbers of passengers, lines are returning at the TSA checkpoints. That said, bookings are up, especially around the July 4th holiday so it’s wise to allow some extra time if you are traveling that weekend. Otherwise, barring unforeseen circumstances or special requirements, arriving at TUS 90 minutes ahead of departure time should still be good.

15. I want to go to Tucson, what restrictions should I expect?

Tucson and Arizona are returning to normal. Mandatory restrictions have been lifted by local and state authorities in response to the most recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that says vaccinated individuals do not need to wear a face mask in most settings. Businesses may still ask patrons to take specific precautions such as wearing a face mask. Visit Tucson has information here.

16. Do I need proof of a negative COVID test when I arrive in Tucson?

No, there is no requirement for a person arriving in Tucson to produce a test result. For peace of mind, arriving passengers can voluntarily take a free COVID-19 test immediately after landing at Tucson International Airport. (Learn more here.)

17. Are there health screenings for passengers at the airport?

Not at the present time. Frontier Airlines is conducting temperature screenings of passengers and flight crews before boarding using touchless thermometers. Those with a temperature reading below 100.4° Fahrenheit are allowed to board.

18. I cannot wear a face mask, how do I get an exemption?

Reach out to your airline well in advance of your flight as documentation may need to be submitted several days before flight time and you may be required to take a pre-travel COVID-19 test. The federal mandate that took effect February 2, 2021, has a narrow exception for persons who cannot wear a mask for reasons related to a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act. If approved, proper documentation must be brought to the airport for travel. The requirement to wear a compliant face covering applies to all passengers ages 2 and older at all airports and on all airlines in the United States.

19. What would be a "non-compliant" face mask?

Non-compliant face coverings include scarves, balaclavas, bandannas, neck gaiters, turtlenecks or other collars pulled up over the nose and mouth, masks made of materials with holes large enough to let light shine through such as mesh or lace and any mask with an exhalation valve or that has punctures. Face shields can be worn as an addition to a compliant face mask. Clear masks or cloth masks with a clear plastic panel may be used to facilitate communication with people who need to see a speaker’s mouth to understand speech.

20. How long are face masks going to be required when flying?

The federal mask mandate at airports and on airlines has been extended to September 13, 2021.

21. I've lost my vaccination card, can I get a replacement?

Yes. If you received your vaccination through a pharmacy such as CVS Health, Fry’s or Walgreens, return to the location where you received your most recent dose and they should be able to print a new card from their electronic records. State health agencies also track vaccinations through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Immunization Information Systems. To get a replacement card in Arizona, complete the form here and return it to ASIISHelpDesk@azdhs.gov. More information is at Arizona State Immunization Information System or call (602) 364-3899.

22. What is a vaccine passport and do I need one to travel?

The answer to the last part is no, as of now you do not need a “vaccine passport” to travel. The idea is to develop a digital app for users to show they have been vaccinated against COVID-19. American Airlines is testing one called VeriFly, United is testing a product called Common Pass for travel to some international destinations and carriers that are members of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) are testing a product in the European Union called Travel Pass.

Separate from travel, similar apps have become the subject of debate in the United States. New York is testing one but not for travel. Other states have banned their use. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has issued an executive order prohibiting state and local governments from requiring them to access locations or services. President Biden has gone on record saying there are no plans to develop a national vaccination passport.

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Tucson International Airport
7250 South Tucson Boulevard
Tucson, AZ 85756
(520) 573-8100