United Airlines will launch a COVID-19 rapid testing program for passengers beginning Oct. 15th, becoming the first U.S. airline to do so.
The Chicago-based carrier will, at first, offer the testing to passengers travelling to Hawaii from San Francisco International Airport (SFO).
The move comes after Hawaii announced that it will begin accepting tourists again (but only if they arrive with a negative COVID-19 test in hand).
United reportedly offers more flights to Hawaii than any other U.S. airline, so it makes sense that it would start a testing option on the same day that Hawaii’s new testing requirement begins.
There's a cost
It’s not cheap, mind you. United passengers will have the option of taking a rapid test for $250 USD, which produces results in about 15 minutes.
This can be administered between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily at SFO airport. Customers can also arrange a test ahead of time and take a mail-in test (which costs $80 USD).
United is advising its guests to start the process 10 days before departure and provide a sample within 72 hours of their trip (as per Hawaii's guidelines).
Doing so will allow travellers to bypass Hawaii’s 14-day quarantine order, which is being strictly enforced.
If the program is successful, United hopes to expand its testing methods to other cities by year's end.
"Our new COVID testing program is another way we are helping customers meet their destinations' entry requirements, safely and conveniently," stated Toby Enqvist, the airline's chief customer officer, in a release. "We'll look to quickly expand customer testing to other destinations and U.S. airports later this year."
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