Would you be more likely to fly if you could be close to certain everyone on board the flight did not have COVID-19? One airline is hoping so.
United Airlines' flight from Newark to London will now offer a transatlantic COVID testing program free of charge to all crew and passengers over the age of 2. The airline said that the Abbott rapid tests, administered by Premise Health at the airport, guarantees everyone eligible will have tested negative immediately prior to taking off.
"These flights are a good proof-of-concept for governments around the world that are considering making testing part of the travel experience," said Toby Enqvist, chief customer officer for United. "Expanding our testing efforts with pilot programs like this one not only helps guarantee passengers* onboard test negative for COVID-19, it also adds another element to our layered approach to safety and demonstrates a way to work within quarantines to key international destinations."
Passengers going from Newark to London on the thrice-weekly flight can schedule a testing appointment at least three hours before their flight departs.
While the testing may help provide travelers with some more peace of mind, it doesn't act as a workaround for those looking to avoid the UK's entry requirements, which includes a 14-day quarantine upon arriving. United is hoping the pilot program can serve as a test for alternatives to the mandatory quarantines and travel restrictions.