United Airlines will test passengers traveling from New York to London over the age of 2 for coronavirus, starting 2nd November. This will be done on selected flights from Newark Liberty International to Heathrow Airport, in an attempt to convince government officials that rapid testing can be used to ensure safe international travel. This could potentially play a crucial role in the reopening of international travel. United will administer the rapid molecular Abbott ID which is now Covid-19 test.
Passengers travelling on flight 14 which departs at 7:15 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 11th November to 11th December will be tested, those who test negative will be allowed to board the flight. And those who test positive will be kept in isolation until they can reach their healthcare provider, after which the airlines will book them another ticket to the same destination. Those who do not wish to take the test will be moved to another date.
Toby Enqvist, the chief customer officer for United said, “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.”
International arrivals to New York’s five airports was down to 82% in September as compared to that of September 2019. Passengers will still have to follow quarantine rules upon reaching London and other safety precautions such as masks, sanitisers and social distancing will still be maintained on the flight. Experts from the travel industry say that this will make it possible to bypass quarantine rules and make travel much easier.