Airline offers free rapid tests in attempt at COVID-free flights

Grant Boone
November 19, 2020

The test will continue to be used with passengers traveling on United Flight 14, which will depart at 19:15 von Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for the next four weeks.

A first-of-its-kind test program kicked off at Newark Liberty International Airport Monday night, as passengers on a United Airlines flight to London were offered free COVID-19 testing before boarding.

Americans are required to quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival to the United Kingdom, and for the most part, unable to travel to European Union countries.

American Airlines is also taking part in the trial, which follows a similar effort by United Airlines.

While any testing-based reopenings will likely look different from this trial and may come at a cost to consumers, having the option to travel may outweigh that cost for many travelers.

The first test, to be taken 72 hours before departure from the U.S., is described as "a convenient at-home RT-PCR test provided by LetsGetChecked". For more information on the testing scheme, visit HERE.

He said that recent positive vaccine news was encouraging but it was unclear when a vaccine would start to have a material effect on travel.

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U.S. carrier United Airlines has begun pre-departure coronavirus testing on passengers and crew of select global flights on a trial basis.

"Through this pilot program, we'll guarantee that everyone on board has tested negative for COVID-19, adding another element to our layered approach to safety".

A negative result for SARS-CoV-2 is required.

"We need the UK Government to introduce a system that allows travellers to take reliable, affordable tests before departure, so they are confident that fellow passengers are COVID-free".

Sean Doyle, who was appointed chief executive of British Airways last month, said there have been "very minimal reports" of transmission of coronavirus on commercial flights, and insisted that air travel is "safe". "For people arriving from countries with high infection rates, a further test on arrival should then release them from quarantine".

A task force comprising oneworld member airline representatives and independent medical experts are overseeing the implementation of the trial and results will be shared with the USA and United Kingdom governments.

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