It seems United Airlines is trying to seize the initiative, with the airline being the first U.S. carrier to make COVID-19 tests available to customers.
The move is a pilot testing program for travellers that could make it easier for them to manage quarantine requirements and entry conditions of popular destinations around the world.
The trail will start from the 15th October, with customers travelling on United from San Francisco International Airport 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 test in person test isa rapid Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 test – administered byGoHealth 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 flight departing from SFO.
The mail-in test option will be administered by Color and it is recommended that customers initiate testing at least 10 days before their trip and provide their sample within 72 hours of their trip.
GoHealth Urgent Care’s dedicated COVID-19 testing area will be available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT daily, providing results in 15 minutes. Customers can schedule their visits online in advance for the on-site testing facility that is located at the international terminal.
If you prefer to mail in your sample, United will email customers travelling from San Francisco to Hawaii an invitation to purchase their physician-ordered Color self-collection kit at least 10 days ahead of their departure, collect their own samples at home 72 hours before their departure and return their test via overnight mail or to a dropbox at SFO.
Color then processes those tests at their local, CLIA-certified COVID-19 testing laboratory and returns results via text and/or email within 24-48 hours. Color’s self-collection kit includes a plastic collection tube, a non-invasive nasal swab and instructions on how to properly collect a specimen.
United Airlines have worked 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.
Currently, United serves Honolulu, Maui, Kona and will be added Lihue back from the 15th October from San Francisco International
Toby Enqvist, Chief Customer Officer at United Airlines said
“Our new COVID testing program is another way we are helping customers meet their destinations’ entry requirements, safely and conveniently,”
“We’ll look to quickly expand customer testing to other destinations and U.S. 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.”
Todd Latz, CEO of GoHealth Urgent Care said
“We are excited about expanding our partnership with United and continuing to support their proactive safety measures,”
“Our on-site, real-time testing for passengers is yet another example of GoHealth’s nationwide efforts to fight the spread of COVID-19 and ensure a safer return to normal activities and business operations.”
Caroline Savello, Chief Commercial Officer at Colosaid
“Convenient, widespread COVID-19 testing with fast and reliable results is critical to a return to normalcy and to accelerate the economic recovery,”
“We are proud to partner with United to support the safe and responsible return of travelers to the skies.”
Knowledge is power – and maybe the key to unlocking travel
We all know that the market is in a state of paralysis – with people scared to travel, with the threat of quarantine on arrival, and not knowing if your if a passenger is a COVID-19 carrier or not.
United Airlines seems to see testing a way to ensure that the flow of people can move again.
Whilst testing provides a snapshot in time of health, it can provide some reassurance to both passengers and countries – something that seems to be missing at the moment in some territories as they work out their evolving responses to COVID-19.
Suffice to say that testing could be one of the ways forward – but it needs a push not just at airline or airport levels, but at governmental levels too.
Welcome to Economy Class and Beyond – Your no-nonsense guide to network news, honest reviews, with in-depth coverage, unique research as well as the humour and madness as I only know how to deliver.