Pre-Testing Prior to Flying South
United Airlines announced it had expanded its customer COVID-19 testing efforts to include flights out of Houston to select destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean.
United passengers departing from George Bush Intercontinental Airport on December 7, 2020, will have the option to take a self-collected, mail-in coronavirus test that meets local entry requirements for certain countries Aruba, Belize, and The Bahamas.
The self-collected, mail-in COVID-19 test costs $119.
"Widespread testing is key to unlocking international borders and safely reopening global travel. This is particularly important for our customers in Houston, who rely on United to keep them connected with their family and friends in Latin America and the Caribbean," said Toby Enqvist, chief customer officer for United, in a press release issued on November 23, 2020.
"We'll continue to lead the way on testing – United was the first to announce a customer COVID-19 testing program and the first to offer free tests on flights across the Atlantic – and we'll look at new, innovative ways to make the travel experience even safer."
United stated it had worked closely with officials in each country to ensure that any customer – both visitors and nationals returning home – who test negative will be able to enter the country.
United will reach out to customers 14-days ahead of their flights to provide instructions on ordering a test and the testing process. United encourages customers to research the local requirements for further questions specific to their destination. Customers are advised to take the tests 72-hours before departure and expect to receive results via email about 48-hours of mailing in their test.
The test is administered by Advanced Diagnostic Laboratory (ADL) and processed at their COVID-19 testing laboratory in San Antonio, Texas.
ADL's self-collection kit includes a plastic tube, a nasal swab, and instructions on properly collecting a specimen. ADL's telehealth system supports customers traveling to countries that require a healthcare professional to supervise the COVID-19 test.
"Accurate and reliable testing is not only critical to reducing the spread of COVID-19 but essential in helping get this virus under control," added Stan Crawford, chief operations officer for ADL. "We are invested in United's commitment to ensuring customers not only meet their destination's entry requirements but that, when they do travel, they do so in a way that is safer."
Additionally, United launched the world's first free transatlantic COVID-19 testing pilot between Newark Liberty International Airport and London Heathrow Airport. Through this pilot program, all crew members and customers over the age of 2 on select flights will be required to take a rapid COVID-19 test and provide a negative result to take the flight, ensuring that everyone on board has tested negative before departure.
United previously announced its COVID-19 test for customers traveling from San Francisco to Hawaii and allowing them to avoid a 14-day quarantine. The airline saw a nearly 95% increase in passengers compared to the prior 2-week period.
According to new data reported by the US Transportation Services Administration on November 25, 2020, airport security screened 1,070,967 travelers in the USA. This information indicates a record number of people traveled via airlines since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020.
The latest research conducted by the U.S. Department of Defense on October 15, 2020, indicates a person’s COVID-19 exposure risk while onboard a United aircraft is almost zero due to the airline's advanced air filtration systems, mandated mask policy, and diligent cleaning protocols.
For more details on all the ways United is helping keep customers safe during their journey, please visit united.com/cleanplus.
Vax-Before-Travel publishes research-based news.