United Airlines Becomes First Legacy Carrier To Offer Covid-19 Rapid Tests

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How does that saying go…if you want something done correctly, just do it yourself?

Well, it appears that United is done waiting for others to solve the problems and is taking matters into their own hands.


United Airlines has announced they will offer COVID-19 rapid tests to customers traveling from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Hawaii starting October 15.

United currently offers a daily service between:

  • San Francisco (SFO) – Honolulu (HNL) – 2x Daily
  • San Francisco (SFO) – Maui (OGG) – Daily
  • San Francisco (SFO) – Kona (KOA) – Daily

And the carrier plans to increase service to Hawaii on October 15 with resumption of service between San Francisco (SFO) – Lihue (LIH) and additional flights between San Francisco (SFO) and Maui (OGG) and Kona (KOA).

Concerning the tests, passengers will have two options:

  1. Rapid Test
  2. Self-Collected Test


The rapid Abbott ID Now Covid-19 test will be administered by GoHealth Urgent Care and their partner Dignity Health and will provide results in approximately 15 minutes. Therefore, passengers have the opportunity to arrive at the airport and be able to determine their results in an adequate amount of time before their departure from SFO.


The self-collected test is a mail-in option and will be administered by Color. The carrier recommends that customers initiate testing at least 10 days prior to their trip and provide their sample within 72 hours of their trip.

United Airlines Business Class


You’re probably asking yourself “is it possible to take these tests from another airport?”

Unfortunately, this initiative is only a pilot program for the carrier. However, Toby Enqvist, Chief Customer Officer at United, said:

Our new COVID testing program is another way we are helping customers meet their destinations’ entry requirements, safely and conveniently.

We’ll look to quickly expand customer testing to other destinations and U.S. 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.

The carrier states they have worked closely with Hawaii officials to ensure that any United customer – both visitors and Hawaiian residents – who tests negative on either test would not be subjected to the state’s current 14-day quarantine requirement which I trust has been a enormous challenge and contributed to the dismal number of visitor.


I have to give it to United Airlines. In the past 30 days, they have:

United Airlines will be offering COVID-19 rapid tests to customers traveling from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Hawaii starting in two weeks.

Although the program is a pilot program to assess the hurdles and success of the initiative, this is an exciting development, both, for travelers to Hawaii, and (hopefully) the general public if this program is successful and expands.

What do you think of this new development?

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