Who could have imagined that airline travel today would be vastly different than it was even 6 months ago? Borders are closed, masks are mandatory, check-ins have become contactless, and cleanliness is at the forefront of every operation. While Esplanade works with most airlines, we’d like to present some specific updates from a few of our travel partners. Please note that airline rules may change at any time and it’s always best to check with your travel consultant before booking any flights.

Air New Zealand

New Zealand borders are currently closed to international arrivals. For customers who had previously purchased international tickets for travel this year and agreed to hold credit with the airline, all credits are now valid for reissue until either March 31, 2021 or December 31st, 2021 depending on your original departure month.

Air Tahiti Nui

As of July 15th, 2020, French Polynesia is open to US citizens for travel! Air Tahiti Nui is operating direct flights from LAX to Papeete three times a week during the month of August. Current regulations prior to boarding include:

  • Proof of a negative COVID-19 test (RT-PCR) molecular laboratory or rapid test, such as the Abbott ID Now Molecular test, performed within 3 days (72 hours) of your flight departure to be presented at check-in. Antigen and antibody tests are not accepted. To facilitate a faster check-in process, the airline encourages passengers to send the airline the results of the medical test via their online COVID-19 form.
  • Complete a Sanitary Entry Form via the Electronic Travel Information System (ETIS). A printed copy of the approval must be shown to the airline at check-in. More information can be located on the Tahiti Tourism website.
  • Travel insurance for anyone who does not possess French nationality. Esplanade is a proud partner of Travel Insured and we will gladly assist you with this process.
  • A temperature check will be taken at check-in for the flight to ensure the passenger temperature is below 100° F.
  • A traceability form distributed during the flight must be completed.
Photo courtesy of Air Tahiti Nui

Air Tahiti Nui’s sanitary measures are in place for the health and safety of their customers. These include: physical distancing while in the airport, contact-less check-ins, mandatory face covering, sanitary kits provided to all customers on board and routine airplane cleaning.

American Airlines

American Airlines has developed new technology so that customers can now enjoy touchless check-ins, even if checking a bag. Like most airlines, American is requiring all customers to wear face coverings while on board as part of its Clean Commitment Program. Every aircraft is disinfected and airport areas under American’s control (such as gate areas, ticket counters, passenger service counters, etc.) are consistently cleaned. Additionally, customers on select flights may receive sanitizing wipes or gel, and food/beverage delivery has been reduced to limit interactions between the flight attendants and customers.

Photo courtesy of American Airlines

Delta Airlines

Delta will continue to block middle seats through September, along with capping seating in cabins through September 30th. Seating is capped at: 50% in First Class and Delta One cabins with one aisle; 60% in Main Cabin, Delta Comfort+, and Delta Premium Select; and 75% in Delta One cabins with two aisles. CareStandard is Delta’s commitment to clean and safe traveling for all of their customers. Like most airlines Delta requires everyone to wear a face covering, however if you are medically exempt they require customers to go through a “Clearance to Fly” procedure.


While many customers fly Emirates to get to a variety of destinations, Dubai is open for US citizens! Face coverings are required. The check-in desks have been fitted with protective antimicrobial screens, in addition to the spacing stickers on the floor to help everyone maintain a safe social distance in line. Emirates puts their customers health and safety first through social distancing, thermal scanning and routine cleaning. Additionally, complimentary travel hygiene kits are provided to customers.

Qantas Airways

At this time, Australia’s borders are closed to international arrivals. Qantas notes: “Our regular pre-COVID-19 international network is unlikely to return until at least July 2021. Because the situation is constantly evolving and may change rapidly, we haven’t, at this stage, made a decision to cancel international flights after October 2020.” Please note if your original booking was made before April 30th, 2020 for travel on a Qantas flight between January 31st and October 31st, 2020, you’re eligible to use your flight credit for multiple bookings. Just book your new Qantas flights and ensure all travel is completed before December 31st, 2022. If you don’t use the full value of your flight credit in one transaction, you’ll be issued a new flight credit for the remaining funds with the same expiry date.

South African Airways

While South Africa is currently closed to US citizens, SAA hopes to reinstate domestic and regional flights within South Africa by the end of August – however this is dependent on the national COVID-19 alert level. SAA takes CDC, WHO, IATA and national health authorities’ procedures into account when it comes to safety and cleanliness for their customers. They are using this time to prepare for when international flights will resume and look forward to welcoming their international customers back soon.

United Airlines

United is committed to the health and safety of their customers and will be partnering with Clorox to be able to achieve their CleanPlus Program. Clorox products will be available soon on select flights and in United airport areas. In addition to requiring all customers to wear a face covering, they also will be rolling out touchless check-in kiosks in select airports soon. United is also the only airline with a full-time medical director, who is providing guidance throughout the pandemic. They even recently launched a Covid-19 text hotline for customers to ask questions and properly prepare for upcoming trips: text “Clean” to FLYUA (35982) to reach the United Automated Assistant.

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Our travels started back in March of 2020. Our trip started and included a great week in Tahiti then New Zealand. Although that’s when Covid exploded while we were there in Tahiti. That’s when we found out they had closed the border into NZ. Thankfully we had Esplanade to get us back home. We finally got back on track to New Zealand this March. We had a full itinerary planned. When we arrived, we had a driver waiting for us to take us to our Glamorous hotel with a great view of Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu and the Mountains in the background. We traveled to Milford Sound by bus then traveled thru out the scenic Milford Sound. Then they flew us back to our hotel. Another trip was on a Steamboat that took us to Farm. We had a great dinner there and tour of the farm that included the sheep dogs working the sheep. We could go on and on about this trip. The people from NZ our super nice. This trip was great from start to finish. Truly a bucket list trip. Esplanade will definitely be our choice for international travel, without a doubt. <br />

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