Passenger transport has been one of the sectors of the economy that has suffered the most due to the pandemic coronavirus and the fear of contagion. What is United Airlines doing to incentivize its customers?
United Airlines will begin offering on-the-spot coronavirus testing to passengers flying between San Francisco International Airport and Hawaii, as of October 15. The company chose to premiere the testing between the destinations because of the high volume of flights.
According to the press release, travelers can choose to get tested on the day of the flight with a rapid test, developed by Abbott Laboratories which can provide results in 15 minutes, or use a self-collected, mail-in test prior to traveling. Those who choose the mail-in test will receive the necessary materials and instructions to administer it themselves 72 hours before travel. Results will become available 24 hours later
For now, the program will only be offered in SF but the airline is hoping to bring COVID testing to other major airports.
"Our new COVID testing program is another way we are helping customers meet their destinations’ entry requirements, safely and conveniently," chief customer officer Toby Enqvist said in a statement.
"We’ll look to quickly expand customer testing to other destinations and U.S. airports later this year to complement our state-of-the-art cleaning and safety measures that include a mandatory mask policy, antimicrobial and electrostatic spraying and our hospital-grade HEPA air filtration systems."
As Hawaii's economy is largely dependent on tourism and has been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, its government and the airline have worked alongside to ensure the test meets state requirements. This way travelers who test negative for the coronavirus within 72 hours of their arrival will not have to comply with Hawaii's mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Other airlines are also planning their own coronavirus testing for passengers in hopes that enabling travelers to bypass quarantine requirements increases air travel, especially to international destinations.