United Airlines is looking for ways to make passengers more comfortable onboard flights as we continue to adjust to the new normal amid the coronavirus pandemic.
This week, the airline announced that it will become the first American airline to offer COVID-19 tests to its passengers. Passengers can choose between taking a test at the airport the day of their flight or to receive an $80 mail-in test prior to their flights. The mail-in test must be submitted within 72 hours of the flight.
Anyone who tests negative for COVID-19 will not be subjected to 14-day quarantine requirements in certain states.
While the plan is to have the program widely available for all flights across the country, United will begin the program on flights from San Francisco to Hawaii.
“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, via the New York Post.
“We’ll look to quickly expand customer testing to other destinations and US airports later this year to complement our state-of-the-art cleaning and safety measures that include a mandatory mask policy, antimicrobial and electrostatic spraying and our hospital-grade HEPA air filtration systems.”
United plans to roll out the program beginning October 15.
The coronavirus mainly comes from animals and a majority of those who were infected early either worked at or frequently visited the Huanan seafood wholesale market in Wuhan, according to The Guardian. The virus is similar to Severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (Mers).
The Wuhan coronavirus is transmitted from person to person through “droplet transmission.” That means an infected person can pass the virus by sneezing or coughing on another person as well as by direct contact.
While a majority of the cases have been detected in the United States and China — with more than 6.92 million confirmed cases and 201,000 deaths in the United States — it has now reached many countries around the world. It has also been confirmed in Italy, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and many other eastern countries.