United to offer COVID-19 testing

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United Airlines is the first US airline to offer COVID-19 testing to customers. The new pilot program will make testing available for passengers en route to Hawaii from San Francisco starting on October 15.

United will provide travelers with the option of taking a rapid test administered at the airport’s international terminal on the same day that flights depart from SFO. A negative result will allow passengers to avoid Hawaii’s 14-day quarantine. The airline will also offer customers the option of a mail-in test that can be taken and submitted prior to departure, so they are aware of the result before they show up at the airport.

The test at the airport will cost $250, while the mail-in test will be $80.

Customers can schedule their on-site testing online in advance and will receive their results in just 15 minutes. The testing area will be open from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM daily.

According to a United press release, “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.”

Hawaii’s official rules state that passengers must present a negative test taken within 72 hours of arrival. Visitors can avoid quarantine only if “they are tested no earlier than 72 hours before their flight arrives with an FDA-approved nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT).”

If the pilot program proves successful, it will likely be expanded to other US airports and destinations later this year.