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United to pilot rapid coronavirus tests that yield results in 15 minutes

Updated September 24, 2020 - 11:39 am

United Airlines is set to be the first U.S. airline to test travelers for coronavirus with rapid tests that yield results in 15 minutes.

The quick-turnaround tests are aimed at helping travelers navigate travel restrictions instituted by some states, the airline announced Thursday.

United plans to begin a pilot testing program at San Francisco International Airport for travelers heading 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.

Hopes to expand quickly

He said the airline would look to “quickly expand customer testing to other destinations and U.S. airports later this year.”

The tests will be administered by GoHealth Urgent Care and its partner Dignity Health, with tests available to United customers the same day as their flight departs from San Francisco.

The rapid-results tests will allow travelers and Hawaiian residents traveling home to skip the state’s 14-day mandatory quarantine.

Flying to San Francisco and then to Hawaii is one of the options that Las Vegans have to fly to the islands on United.

The airline plans to increase service to Hawaii starting Oct. 15, including the resumption of service between San Francisco and Lihue and additional flights between San Francisco and Maui and Kona.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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