My experience with the COVID testing process on arrival back home to Alaska was quick and painless! I was done with the testing process less than 15 minutes after leaving the plane and I had my negative test results back in two days.
Bottom line: If you are traveling to Alaska for a short period of time then I definitely, positively recommend testing with a provider before you leave home. A negative test result in hand when you land allows you to avoid quarantine and to immediately enjoy all Alaska has to offer!!
An overview of the process for all travelers:
- Complete the State of Alaska Travel Declaration Form
- Check in with the state team as you exit the passenger terminal
- If you didn’t take a COVID test within 72 hours of your trip then the state team will tell you how to register for your airport test. (free for Alaska residents, there is a fee for non-residents)
- Proceed down to the baggage claim area to pick up your test kit
- A medical practitioner administers the COVID test
- You’ll receive a text message when your results are available
- Click through on the link to obtain the test results
Complete the State of Alaska Travel Declaration Form
Navigate to the Alaska Travel Portal to complete your travel declaration form. (the web page also lists the most up to date costs, if applicable, and testing requirement) You’ll need to complete a basic registration page if this is your first trip under the current COVID testing protocol. Once you’re registered you can click through to start your travel declaration:
Completing the travel declaration is a self-explanatory process. They with request information such as arrival date and location, status of pre-departure COVID testing, and your planned location in Alaska. As an Alaska resident already registered in the portal and without a pre-departure COVID test the process took me less than five minutes.
You will see a green box with a check mark when your declaration is complete and saved. This is also where you are able to upload documentation of a pre-departure negative COVID test:
When you land in Alaska the state team will review your travel declaration and testing documentation (if you have it) as you exit the passenger terminal.
Check in with the state team as you exit the passenger terminal
Signs and greeters direct you to the column of check in tables for the state team, you can’t miss them!
There were plenty of folks there when I arrived so I didn’t have to wait more than a minute to check in. They asked for identification, reviewed my travel portal declaration, confirmed my answers, then showed me how to register for the in-airport COVID test. As an Alaska resident there was no cost for me to test.
If you didn’t take a COVID test within 72 hours of your trip then the state team will tell you how to register for your airport test (free for Alaska residents, there is a fee for non-residents)
If you already have a negative COVID test result or if you are waiting for the test result then the state team will make sure all of the documentation is complete and then you should be all set. Make sure you know how to upload your negative COVID test documentation to the travel portal.
If you need a COVID test then the state team will get you set up to register for your in-airport COVID test. I used their QR code on my phone, entered my information, then received an email with a link to register for my test. Click through to register for the test and then you are all set.
Proceed down to the baggage claim area to pick up your test kit
Leave the screening area and look for the sign directing you down and to the left for the screening area:
Take the escalator or stairs down to the baggage claim level and turn left. You’ll see more signs directing you to the testing check-in area. It’s a short walk, the check-in area is behind the pictured columns:
There were a few people in front of me waiting to check in but the wait was short enough that I didn’t have enough time to read even one news article on my phone. You’ll provide your name, verify your information, then receive a sealed plastic bag with your test kit. Shuffle to the left and you’ll be ready to test.
A medical practitioner administers the COVID test
With another short wait I was directed to a partitioned test area. There I took a seat, and removed my masks (yes, plural masks, that’s for a different blog post). They nurse then instructed me to tilt my head back. I had a moment of dread when I was told the swab would take about five seconds in each nostril but the dread was for naught! This is not a “find your brain through your nose” test, they simply swabbed the lower portion of each nasal. Literally a painless process.
They cleared me to mask up and head home for my quarantine until I received my negative test result.
Total time from aircraft departure to standing at the curb was less than 15 minutes for me on a Sunday afternoon, and that included a bathroom stop plus time to take pictures.
You’ll receive a text message when your results are available
I’ve seen mixed reports of how long it takes folks to receive their COVID test results so I was pleasantly surprised when I received a text message on Tuesday evening with a link to my test results!
Click through on the link to obtain the test results
When you click on the link you will be asked to verify some of your personal information. Then your test results appear on the screen:
Regardless of your test results, be sure to comply with the instructions received from medical providers. You should also refer to the guidance posted on the Alaska Travel Portal page.
Enjoy the serenity of Alaska!