Long a relic of the pandemic era that made little sense in a nation in which all known variants have permeated, the USA will end its controversial testing requirement for inbound U.S. flights effective Sunday.
USA Drops COVID-19 International Travel Testing Requirement Effective June 12, 2022
The travel industry has aggressively lobbied the Biden Administration to drop pre-flight testing requirements for many months, with those requests falling upon deaf ears. This requirement has been in place since January 2021 and requires all passengers traveling to the USA by air to submit a negative COVID-19 or proof of recovery prior to departure. During the omicron surge, the testing window was shrunk to one calendar day.
Despite testing centers popping up all over the world and the relative ease of testing, the requirement proved to be a deterrent to many travelers to the USA, who saw the requirements as too burdensome.
Ahead of the busy summer travel months, the COVID-19 testing requirement will be lifted Sunday, June 12th, 2022 at 12:01AM.
According to a Biden Administration official, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “has determined based on the science and data that this requirement is no longer necessary at this time.” In reality, the tests became far less useful with the virus, and its many variants, already present on U.S. shores. Furthermore, I’m not convinced many of the tests were even effective. I am sure I am not the only one who has been swabbed very lightly and non-invasively for a “test” while abroad.
Celebrating the news, United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said:
“Thank you to the administration for the announcement. This is another important step, not just for air travel, but also for all the tourism jobs that international travel supports. United Airlines has planned for this moment and will be the largest airline flying customers across the Atlantic Ocean this summer with approximately 25% more seats than we flew across the Atlantic pre-pandemic.”
At long last, the COVID-19 testing requirement for inbound flights to the USA will expire. Starting on Sunday, a pre-flight test will no longer be required.
You have to feel bad, somewhat, for the hundreds of testing centers that have sprung up around the world, catering toward inbound U.S. travelers. Many of those are small businesses started by well-meaning entrepreneurs. But really, the fact that the testing lasted this long should be seen as good fortune.
image: United Airlines