United Airlines latest to demand negative coronavirus test for flights between London and United States


(CNN) – United Airlines on Thursday became the fourth major airline with routes between London and the New York metro area to require passengers to show proof that they have recently tested negative for the novel coronavirus.

From December 28, passengers traveling on United from London Heathrow Airport to the United States must provide proof of a negative coronavirus test or antigen test performed within three days of departure company officials said in a statement.

United’s policy applies to its flights from Heathrow to Newark, New Jersey as well as the company’s flights to Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, DC.

British Airways, Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic on Monday announced similar requirements for flights from the UK to New York.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said on Thursday his state would require United passengers to test negative for the virus within 72 hours of their flights from London to Newark.

“As we continue to experience a second wave of COVID-19 cases, it is essential that we take all precautions to mitigate the potential for further transmission,” the statement said in part, “the governor said.

United has said the health and safety of its workers and passengers is its “top priority”.

The policy applies to people over the age of 5 who start their journey at Heathrow – which has a test site at one of its terminals. Travelers must make an appointment to be tested, according to the Heathrow website.

Passengers connecting at London Heathrow on a United flight from another country would be exempt from the policy, the airline said.

Non-U.S. Citizens or legal residents – with a few exceptions – are not permitted to travel to the United States if they have been in the United Kingdom within the past 14 days, according to the State Department.

United said it had previously asked passengers to admit that they had not been diagnosed with Covid-19 in the past 14 days and that they were not showing any symptoms.

When checking in for the flight, the passenger admitted on the airline’s Ready-to-Fly checklist that he had not been diagnosed with Covid-19 and had no symptoms related to Covid, said an airline spokeswoman.

After receiving more information on the state of health of this passenger, “it is obvious that he misunderstood this requirement,” said the spokesperson.

CNN’s Chris Boyette and Sheena Jones contributed to this report.


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