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United Airlines is first to offer rapid COVID-19 tests to passengers

SAN FRANCISCO (NewsNation Now) — United Airlines announced Thursday it will offer passengers on certain flights a rapid COVID-19 test prior to their flight.

Beginning Oct. 15 customers traveling on United from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Hawaii will have the option to take a rapid test at the airport. Passengers will also have the option to do a self-collected, mail-in test ahead of their trip.

The COVID-19 pilot testing program was designed to make it easier for travelers to “manage quarantine requirements and entry conditions of popular destinations around the world.”

“Our new COVID 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 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.”

The rapid Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 test is administered by GoHealth Urgent Care and their partner Dignity Health to provide results in 15 minutes. GoHealth Urgent Care’s dedicated COVID-19 testing area will be available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT daily.

The mail-in test option will be administered by Color and it is recommended that customers begin testing at least 10 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.

The carrier plans to increase service to Hawaii on Oct. 15, including the resumption of service between San Francisco and Lihue (LIH) and additional flights between San Francisco and Maui and Kona.


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