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United Airlines to Offer Passengers Rapid-Response COVID-19 Tests

As Hawaii prepares to lift its 14-day quarantine for visitors to the islands, United Airlines plans to offer some Hawaii-bound customers rapid-response coronavirus tests at the San Francisco airport beginning October 15.  The tests are NOT free – passengers taking the test are responsible for that cost.

United is the first U.S. airline to offer a COVID-19 testing program for passengers.  The testing program coincides with Hawaii’s plan to allow visitors to avoid the quarantine requirement if they test negative for the virus no earlier than 72 hours prior to departure.  The testing will be offered only at United’s San Francisco hub.

The results of the molecular tests, which will be administered by GoHealth Urgent Care and Dignity Health, are available in about 15 minutes.  The tests will be conducted in the international terminal and will be performed prior to the security checkpoint.   Travelers who test positive for COVID-19 won’t be allowed to fly.

The nasal swab tests could later provide an opening for passengers to enter regions that are currently off-limits because of coronavirus concerns.  Global airlines this week urged government officials around the world to consider COVID-19 testing for passengers before international flights as an alternative to blanket travel bans that have driven down passenger traffic.

“We are very interested in opening this up to other destinations,” said Janet Lamkin, United’s California president.

United and Delta Air Lines are already using rapid coronavirus tests for their crew members.