United Airlines on Thursday launched a COVID-19 pilot testing program for travelers that could make it easier for them to manage quarantine requirements and entry conditions of popular destinations around the world. Starting on October 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 or a self-collected, mail-in test ahead of their trip. United says it’s the first U.S. airline to offer such a program.
The rapid Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 test—administered by GoHealth Urgent Care and its partner, Dignity Health—provides results in approximately 15 minutes and will be available to United customers on the same day as their flight departing from SFO. The mail-in test option will be administered by Color and it is recommended that customers initiate 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. United says it currently offers more flights to Hawaii than any other major network carrier, including daily service between San Francisco and Honolulu, Maui and Kona. The carrier plans to increase service to Hawaii on October 15, including the resumption of service between San Francisco and Lihue and additional flights between San Francisco and Maui and Kona.
GoHealth Urgent Care Rapid Test
United first partnered with GoHealth Urgent Care in July to test its international flight crews at SFO. United now plans to expand that testing infrastructure to include customers who wish to be tested for COVID-19 pre-flight. Customers can schedule their visits online in advance for the on-site testing facility that is located at the international terminal and will receive their results in approximately 15 minutes. GoHealth Urgent Care’s dedicated COVID-19 testing area will be available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT daily.
Color Physician-Ordered Self-Collection Test
United is working with Color to offer self-collected, mail-in tests for customers traveling to Hawaii. United will email customers traveling from San Francisco to Hawaii an invitation to purchase their physician-ordered Color self-collection kit at least 10 days ahead of their departure, collect their own samples at home 72 hours prior to their departure and return their test via overnight mail or to a drop box at SFO.
Color then processes those tests at its local, CLIA-certified COVID-19 testing laboratory and returns results via text and/or email within 24 to 48 hours. Color’s self-collection kit includes a plastic collection tube, a non-invasive nasal swab and instructions on how to properly collect a specimen.
For more details, visit united.com/cleanplus.