United Airlines becomes first U.S. carrier to offer coronavirus testing for passengers

United Airlines will become the first U.S. carrier to offer rapid coronavirus testing to some of its passengers, the company announced Thursday.

The tests will be available to customers traveling from San Francisco to Hawaii starting Oct. 15. Passengers would either take a 15-minute test at the airport or request a mail-in, self-collected test ahead of their trip, according to United.

The pilot testing program will help travelers avoid a mandatory 14-day quarantine in Hawaii and will later be expanded to other parts of the country.

“We’ll look to quickly expand customer testing to other destinations and U.S. airports later this year to complement our state-of-the-art cleaning and safety measures,” said Toby Enqvist, United’s chief customer officer.

The rapid tests will be available to United customers flying from San Francisco International Airport to Honolulu, Maui, Kona and Lihue.

The airport testing option was created by health technology company Abbott and is administered by GoHealth Urgent Care and Dignity Health.

The mail-in test, administered by Color, will have to be done no later than 10 days before a scheduled trip and the sample must be returned within 72 hours of the flight.

“Convenient, widespread COVID-19 testing with fast and reliable results is critical to a return to normalcy and to accelerate the economic recovery,” Color’s chief commercial officer, Caroline Savello, said in a statement.

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