United Airlines Brings Coronavirus Testing To Houston


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United Airlines may have been the first US airline to announce Covid-19 tests for travelers heading to Hawaii and it may have been the first US airline to announce measures to test transatlantic passengers for coronavirus before their flights, but it was American Airlines that was first to act when it comes to testing on routes to Latin America and the Caribbean. Now, United is making moves in those regions too.

United Airlines has today announced that it will begin to offer Covid-19 testing for travelers originating from Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and who are traveling to select destinations in the Caribbean and Latin America from 7 December 2020.

The 10 destinations to which United will offer coronacirus testing are: Aruba (AUA), Belize City, Belize (BZE), Guatemala City, Guatemala (GUA), Lima, Peru (LIM), Nassau, Bahamas (NAS), Panama City, Panama (PTY), Roatan, Honduras (RTB), San Pedro Sula, Honduras (SAP), San Salvador, El Salvador (SAL) and Tegucigalpa, Honduras (TGU).

Unlike the testing that United is offering in San Francisco and Newark, the testing available to passengers flying out of Houston will not be “rapid” and will not be available on site. Instead, customers will have the option to take a self-collected, mail-in test that meets the entry requirements set out by the 10 destinations identified above and which will cost $119.

According to United, the mail-in test will be administered by Advanced Diagnostic Laboratory (ADL) and the self-collection kit will include a plastic tube, a nasal swab, and instructions on how to properly collect a specimen. ADL’s telehealth system will be available to support customers traveling to countries that require a health care professional to supervise the COVID-19 test.

Image courtesy of United

United says that it will contact customers 14 days ahead of their flights to provide instructions on how to order a test and to provide details of the testing process with customers being advised to take the tests 72 hours before departure. The results of a test should be dropping into customers’ email inboxes within 24-48 hours of mailing in their test.

Bottom Line

From 7 December, United Airlines will be offering coronavirus testing for passengers traveling from Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport to ten destinations across the Caribbean and Latin America. The cost of the test is to be borne by travelers, the tests will have to be taken 72 hours before travel (no on-site testing is being offered at Houston Airport), and results can be expected within 48 hours of the tests being mailed in.

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