United Airlines launches first free transatlantic COVID-19 testing pilot

©United Airlines

United Airlines has announced the first free transatlantic COVID-19 testing pilot program for customers. From November 16 through December 11, the airline will offer rapid tests to every passenger over two years old and crew members on board select flights from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to London Heathrow (LHR), free of charge. Anyone who does not wish to be tested will be placed on another flight, guaranteeing everyone on board other than children under two will have tested negative before departure.

“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,” said Toby Enqvist, chief customer officer for United. “Through this pilot program, we’ll guarantee that everyone 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.”

United will share customer feedback of this pilot with governments on both sides of the Atlantic to further demonstrate their effectiveness of these programs as an alternative to mandatory quarantines or duplicative travel restrictions. United has seen a positive impact on travel demand and significant increases in customer load factors and revenue when testing options are available.

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