United Airlines has become the first United States-based airline to launch a Covid-19 pilot testing program for travellers.
It is hoped the move could make it easier for passengers to manage quarantine requirements and entry conditions of popular destinations around the world.
Starting on October 15th, customers traveling on United from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Hawaii will have the option to take a rapid test at the airport or a self-collected, mail-in test ahead of their trip.
The rapid Abbott ID Now Covid-19 test – administered by GoHealth Urgent Care and their partner Dignity Health – provides results in approximately 15 minutes and will be available to United customers on the same day as their departing flight.
The mail-in test option will be administered by Colour and it is recommended that customers initiate testing at least ten days prior to their trip and provide their sample within 72 hours of their trip.
The airline worked closely with Hawaii officials to ensure that any United customer – both visitors and Hawaiian residents returning home – who tests negative on either test would not be subjected to the state’s current 14-day quarantine requirement.
“Our new Covid-19 testing program is another way we are helping customers meet their destinations’ entry requirements, safely and conveniently,” said Toby Enqvist, chief customer officer at United.
“We’ll look to quickly expand customer testing to other destinations and United States airports later this year to complement our state-of-the-art cleaning and safety measures that include a mandatory mask policy, antimicrobial and electrostatic spraying and our hospital-grade HEPA air filtration systems.”
United currently offers more flights to Hawaii than any other major network carrier including daily service between San Francisco and Honolulu (HNL), Maui (OGG) and Kona (KOA).
The carrier plans to increase service to Hawaii on October 15th, including the resumption of service between San Francisco and Lihue (LIH) and additional flights between San Francisco and Maui and Kona.