Published on : Friday, October 16, 2020
Today, customers traveling on United from San Francisco International Airport to Hawaii were the first to experience the airline’s COVID-19 pilot testing program, allowing customers who return a negative result to bypass the state’s mandatory quarantine requirements and enjoy their time on the islands sooner. In collaboration with San Francisco International Airport, customers now have the option to take a same-day, pre-flight rapid test at the airport or a conveniently-located drive-through test at United’s San Francisco Maintenance Center ahead of their trip. United has been approved by the Hawaii Department of Health as a trusted testing and travel partner and was the first U.S. carrier to announce its plans to make COVID-19 tests available to customers.
“There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has changed the travel experience, and United is committed to innovating to help customers continue to travel where they want to go in a way that is safe,” said Toby Enqvist, Chief Customer Officer at United. “In partnership with the San Francisco Airport, we look forward to helping re-open the Hawaiian economy, and look forward to making testing options more broadly available to our customers so we can continue to connect people and unite the world.”
“Protecting the health and safety of our passengers is our highest priority, and we are proud to partner with United Airlines and their health providers to offer onsite rapid and drive-through testing for United’s passengers to Hawaii,” said SFO Airport Director Ivar C. Satero. “This collaboration of airlines, airports, and health providers truly creates a model for air travel that gives passengers a new level of confidence. My thanks go out to the entire team who helped us to take this important step forward.”
Preflight testing for customers traveling to Hawaii
United, working alongside with San Francisco International Airport, will make two tests available to customers traveling to Hawaii: a rapid test option taken at the airport on the day of travel or a drive-through test conducted at the airport 48-72 hours before departure. Customers who produce a negative test result through either option will be exempt from quarantine requirements in Lihue, Maui and Honolulu. Customers traveling to Kona will be required to take a second complimentary test when they arrive to the island to avoid quarantining.
The rapid Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 test – administered by GoHealth Urgent Care and their partner Dignity Health – is available at an onsite testing facility located in SFO’s international terminal prior to security. Customers based in San Francisco can schedule their visits online and will receive their results in approximately 15 minutes. The onsite testing facility will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT daily and customers are advised to make an appointment at least three hours before their flight, as no walk-in appointments will be available.
Customers taking the drive-through test option – administered by Color – can schedule an appointment in advance online and should make the appointment for 48-72 hours before their flight departs. Walk in appointments will not be available. Once a customer takes the test, they will receive an electronic copy of their results in 24-48 hours. The testing facility is located at United’s San Francisco Maintenance Center parking lot at 800 S Airport Blvd – a short drive away from the airport. Customers must take the test within 72 hours of their flight’s departure and will receive their results electronically.
Halfway to Hawaii
As the state of Hawaii begins to reopen, United is also resuming its popular Halfway to Hawaii game. Customers will calculate the point when their flight is midway to the islands and those who guess correctly will receive a Hawaiian-themed amenity kit*. United is bringing the game back today on flights from Chicago O’Hare to Honolulu and on flights from San Francisco to Honolulu, Maui and Kona, and will expand to all other Hawaii bound flights in the coming weeks.
United currently offers more flights to Hawaii than any other carrier including daily service between San Francisco and Honolulu (HNL), Maui (OGG) and Kona (KOA). Today, the airline also resumed service to Lihue (LIH).
Since the start of the pandemic, United has been a leader among U.S. airlines in enacting new policies and innovations designed to keep employees and passengers safer when traveling. It was the first U.S. airline to mandate masks for flight attendants, quickly following with all customers and employees. United was also among the first U.S. carriers to announce it wouldn’t permit customers who refused to comply with the airline’s mandatory mask policy to fly with them while the face mask policy is in place. United was also the first U.S. airline to roll out touchless check-in for customers with bags, and the first to require passengers take an online health assessment before traveling. Recently, the airline announced it will apply Zoono Microbe Shield, an EPA registered antimicrobial coating that forms a long-lasting bond with surfaces and inhibits the growth of microbes, to its entire mainline and express fleet before the end of the year.