United Airlines to offer free coronavirus tests for passengers on certain routes

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“We strongly believe that testing is a key part of a multi-layered approach to safely open travel around the world,” United Director General of Operational Policy and Support Aaron McMillan said during an information call. “The pilot program will ensure that virtually everyone on board has just tested negative for Covid-19. ”

The four-week trial period begins November 16 on United Flight 14, which departs for London Heathrow from Newark Liberty International Airport three times a week. Uni (UAL) says passengers must arrive at least three hours before the 7:15 p.m. flight to receive a required rapid molecular Abbott ID Now test which United says produces results within 20 minutes. United says those who test negative for the coronavirus will be allowed to board the flight. Those who test positive will be isolated by clinicians and reimbursed or re-booked later.

“Everyone on board is required to have this negative test result before the flight,” said McMillan.

Although the move will not allow travelers arriving in the UK to bypass its mandatory 14-day quarantine, United are hoping the lawsuit will serve as a proof of concept.

“United will share customer feedback on this pilot project with governments on both sides of the Atlantic to further demonstrate the effectiveness of these programs as an alternative to mandatory quarantines or duplicate travel restrictions,” said one. company press release.

Last week, airline industry groups sent a letter to the Trump administration asking the federal government to standardize pre-departure virus testing and contact tracing to ease restrictions that are “decimating our industry.”

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