Courtesy of United Airlines
United will expand its pre-flight COVID-19 testing program for passengers traveling from Houston to Latin America and the Caribbean.
Beginning Dec. 7, passengers flying from George Bush Intercontinental Airport to Aruba, Belize, Guatemala, Peru, the Bahamas, Panama, Honduras, and El Salvador will be able to complete a COVID-19 test at home before their flight. If negative, this test will allow passengers to bypass any quarantine restrictions in place at their destination.
The test costs $119 and is completed by passengers in their homes, in partnership with Advanced Diagnostics Laboratory. Fourteen days before their scheduled flight, passengers will receive information about how to order a test and the testing process. Generally, a COVID-19 test should be taken within 72 hours of departure but may vary by country. Passengers should receive the results of their test within 24 to 48 hours.
In addition to testing, travelers should also check if their destination requires any pre-flight paperwork or registration.
"Widespread testing is key to unlocking international borders and safely reopening global travel," Toby Enqvist, chief customer officer for United, said in a statement. "We'll continue to lead the way on testing – United was the first to announce a customer COVID-19 testing program and the first to offer free tests on flights across the Atlantic – and we'll look at new, innovative ways to make the travel experience even safer."
United said that its testing program has led to an increase in travel. In October, the airline launched its pre-travel testing program with flights from San Francisco to Hawaii. After its launch, United saw a 95 percent increase in passengers on the route, compared to the two weeks prior.
Last week, United began a free transatlantic COVID-19 test pilot program for passengers traveling between Newark Liberty International and London Heathrow. The pilot program requires all crew members and every passenger aged two or older to take a rapid COVID-19 test before boarding. Only those whose results come back negative are allowed on board.