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United is first U.S. airline to offer COVID-19 tests to travelers

The carrier said the tests will first be made available to passengers travelling from San Francisco to Hawaii, but aims to expand to other airports soon. File Photo by Brian Kersey/UPI
The carrier said the tests will first be made available to passengers travelling from San Francisco to Hawaii, but aims to expand to other airports soon. File Photo by Brian Kersey/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 24 (UPI) -- United Airlines announced Thursday that it will be the first carrier in the United States to offer COVID-19 testing to travelers.

The airline said it will initially offer rapid coronavirus tests only to passengers flying from San Francisco to Hawaii. The test can be taken at the airport or by mail ahead of time, officials said.

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United said the tests will be made available on Oct. 15, and they could make it easier for passengers to manage quarantine requirements and entry conditions.

"Our new COVID testing program is another way we are helping customers meet their destinations' entry requirements, safely and conveniently," Toby Enqvist, chief customer officer at United, said in a statement.

United said it's working with Hawaii health officials to ensure travelers who test negative will not be subject to a 14-day quarantine. United flies to Honolulu, Maui and Kona from San Francisco, and plans to resume flights to Lihue next month.

"We'll look to quickly expand customer testing to other destinations and U.S. airports later this year," Enqvist added.

GoHealth Urgent Care will administer testing at airports, which will produce results in about 15 minutes. John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey are working with a private company, XpresCheck, to offer all passengers same-day testing.

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United said it plans to expand testing to hubs in New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles.

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