For those who saw domestic pre-flight testing as a good sign of things to come — you were right. United Airlines has just announced the launch of the first transatlantic COVID-19 testing program on flights from Newark to London. The pilot program will run from November 16 to December 11, and will require passengers on select flights to undergo a rapid COVID-19 test before boarding.
Right now, the program will only apply to passengers aboard United flight 14 from Newark to London that runs Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 7:15 PM. The program will not exempt passengers from wearing masks, social distancing, or undergoing quarantine upon arrival at their destination. Passengers who wish to not be tested can change their flight or day of travel free of charge.
Toby Enqvist, chief customer officer for United, said in a press release, “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 [above two years of age] 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.”
Passengers on one of these flights will need to book an appointment for the test which is set to take place three hours prior to departure. Tests will take place in the United lounge in Newark near gate C93. Results are provided in about 30 minutes.