United Airlines says it will start offering free coronavirus tests to passengers on select routes.
The four-week trial starts Nov. 16 on United Flight 14, which leaves Newark Liberty International Airport for leaves London Heathrow three times a week. Passengers must arrive at least three hours before the scheduled 7:15 p.m. flight to receive a required molecular Abbott ID Now test, which the airline says produces results within 20 minutes.
“We firmly believe that testing is a key component of a multi-layered approach to safety opening travel across the globe,” said Aaron McMillon, United’s managing director of operations policy and support, CNN reported. “The pilot program will guarantee that essentially everyone on board just tested negative for COVID-19.”
Passengers who test negative for the coronavirus can board the flight but those who test positive will undergo isolation by clinicians and either be refunded or rebooked for a later date, CNN reported.
Those on the flight to Heathrow will still have to undergo a 14-day quarantine once they arrive in the United Kingdom.
United hopes governments on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean see the trial as a model for air travel as long as the pandemic is in place, CNN reported.