United Airlines has announced it will start providing COVID-19 tests to customers, an effort that could make it easier for travelers to meet (or even avoid) quarantine requirements and entry conditions at top destinations around the world. Initially rolling out as a trial project between San Francisco and Hawaii. Customers 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 test will be provided by GoHealth Urgent Care and their partner Dignity Health. Offered on the same day as the flight the test will provide results in approximately 15 minutes. The mail-in test will be provided by Color and must be completed at least 10 days prior to the trip.
United reportedly worked closely with state officials from Hawaii officials to ensure that travelers to the island and Hawaiian residents returning home can avoid the state's current two-week quarantine requirement, as long they test negative.
United offers more flights to Hawaii than any other major carrier including daily service from San Francisco to Honolulu (HNL), Maui (OGG), and Kona (KOA). In mid-October the airline plans to resume or add additional flights to the islands.
"Our new COVID testing program is another way we are helping customers meet their destinations' entry requirements, safely and conveniently," Toby Enqvist, Chief Customer Officer at United said in a written statement. "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."