United Airlines announced what it says it the world's first free transatlantic COVID-19 testing pilot program for customers. From November 16 through December 11, the airline will offer rapid tests to every passenger over two years of age and crew members onboard select flights from Newark Liberty International Airport to London Heathrow, free of charge. Anyone who does not wish to be tested will be placed on another flight, guaranteeing everyone on board other than children under two will have tested negative before departure.
United will share customer feedback of this pilot with governments on both sides of the Atlantic to demonstrate the effectiveness of these programs as an alternative to mandatory quarantines or duplicative travel restrictions. The airline says it has seen a positive impact on travel demand and significant increases in customer load factors and revenue when testing options are available.
To operate the testing pilot, United will collaborate with Premise Health, who will administer the rapid testing program. The test will be given to passengers traveling on United Flight 14, departing at 7:15 p.m., Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Appointments for the test are required and customers are advised to schedule their tests at least three hours before their flight. An on-site testing facility will be located at the Newark United Club near Gate C93.
Earlier this month, the airline started offering customers traveling from San Francisco International Airport to Hawaii the option to take a same-day, pre-flight rapid test at the airport or a conveniently located drive-through test, for a fee. The program allows customers with a negative result to bypass Hawaii's mandatory quarantine requirements and enjoy their time on the islands sooner. And, last week, United participated in a test program between Newark and London of CommonPass, a digital health pass, aimed at enabling safer travel and the reopening of international borders. Customers who chose to participate in the program were able to seamlessly provide their COVID-19 test results to relevant governments.
For more information on the testing program, visit united.com/covid-testing.