In an attempt to move testing forwarding as a means to eventually loosen travel restrictions, United Airlines will trial a free COVID-19 testing program for select passengers traveling from Newark to London Heathrow starting next month.
Free, Mandatory COVID-19 Testing On United Airlines For UA14 Passengers
Passengers traveling on United Flight 14 (7:15pm departure) on Mondays, Wednesdays, or Fridays between November 16 – December 11 will not only be subject, but compelled to take the test prior to the flight. All passengers three and older will be tested.
United’s motive is to help establish a travel bubble between Newark and London and eventually to more destinations. Chief Customer Officer Toby Enqvist explained:
“We believe the ability to provide fast, same-day COVID-19 testing will play a vital role in safely reopening travel around the world and navigating quarantines and travel restrictions, particularly to key international destinations like London. 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. United will continue to lead on testing, while at the same time exploring new solutions that contribute to the safest travel experience possible.”
(* everyone over two years old that is)
Customers will be asked to schedule (though not necessarily take) their COVID-19 test at least three hours prior to their flight. The test will be offered at the United Club near gate C93. Passengers who do not want to take part in the test will not be able to travel on the flight.
As elected leaders dither on a national testing program which could strongly impact the economy and re-open borders currently closed to U.S. citizens, I am glad to see United Airlines stepping up to offer its own program. Even as Europe enters another phase of lockdown, I maintain that adequate testing is the best way forward to re-open closed borders on both sides of the Atlantic.
image: United Airlines