United Airlines trying to push forward with reopening precious air bridges, with the announcement it is trial COVID-19 tests from Newark to London Heathrow on limited flights.
From 16th November through 11th December, the airline will offer rapid tests to every passenger over 2 years old and crew members onboard select flights from Newark Liberty International Airport to London Heathrow, free of charge.
Anyone who does not wish to be tested will be placed on another flight, guaranteeing everyone on board other than children under two will have tested negative before departure.
The details are:
- Premise Health will administer the rapid testing pilot program for the Newark-Heathrow flight
- The test will be given to passengers travelling on United Flight 14, departing at 7:15 p.m., Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
- Appointments for the test are required, and customers are advised to schedule their tests at least three hours before their flight. United will reach out to eligible customers before their trip with detailed information including how to schedule their tests.
- An on-site testing facility will be located at the Newark United Club near Gate C93
- Results are provided in approximately 30 minutes
- Testing is free to travellers booked on the select flights and is mandatory for boarding
Note, that entry into the United Kingdom from the United States will still require passengers to quarantine
United Airlines will have further details about its COVID-19 testing initiatives at https://united.com/covid-testing (including its San Francisco – Hawaii services). The airline says that In the first 10 days this was offered, the San Francisco to Hawaii flights have seen a nearly 95% increase in passengers compared to the prior two-week period.
The airline plans to share customer feedback of this pilot with governments on both sides of the Atlantic to further demonstrate the effectiveness of these programs as an alternative to mandatory quarantines or duplicative travel restrictions.
Toby Enqvist, Chief Customer Officer for United Airlines said:
“We believe the ability to provide fast, same-day COVID-19 testing will play a vital role in safely reopening travel around the world and navigating quarantines and travel restrictions, particularly to key international destinations like London,”
“Through this pilot program, we’ll guarantee that everyone on board has tested negative for COVID-19, adding another element to our layered approach to safety. United will continue to lead on testing, while at the same time exploring new solutions that contribute to the safest travel experience possible.”
Lots of initiatives, but government action will be needed
It is great to see airlines and hotels come up with initiatives that add testing into the pre-departure mixes. However, the downside is how the authorities on arrival handle those results – from acknowledging them through to the full-on “go into isolation for 14 days”.
As time goes on, more multinational agreements will be needed to accept these results to enable travellers to move along, whilst keeping their borders secure.
But hopefully, more initiatives like this should provide governments evidence they need to consider reopening borders and corridors.
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.