United Airlines has announced that it will roll out the first free transatlantic testing regime between Newark and London.
The pilot program will require ALL passengers and crew on United Airlines flight UA14 to test negatively before boarding the aircraft on Monday, Wednesday and Friday flights for four weeks between 16th November and 11th December.
United Airlines will provide the test free of charge with its healthcare partners. The test is based on the Abbott ID NOW Rapid Nucleic Acid Amplification Test, which can process results within 15 to 20 minutes. United said the test is on par with a PCR test.
The departure test is mandatory for all passengers on the selected flights (children under 2 are exempt). Passengers that do not want to be tested can be rerouted on alternative flights.
Passengers on the negative test flights will still be required to comply with all of United’s safety measures including the wearing of masks, and the aircraft will continue to receive high-intensity cleaning prior to boarding.
Anyone on the selected flights will receive a notification with the ability to pre-book a time slot for the test. The testing facilities will make use of a United Club lounge in Newark, where you will have to wait 15-20 minutes for your test results in a socially distanced holding area.
Quarantine still applies
Unfortunately, you will still have to comply with any quarantine requirements as outlined by the Government, currently set at 14 days for arrivals from the United States.
United is hoping that the pilot program will provide meaningful data for governments to start reducing mandatory quarantine periods, although it is not carrying out any secondary testing to study how effective universal testing is. Testing will only occur on flights departing Newark and there are no plans to offer the same tests on returning flights from London.