Airlines offering COVID tests

This item appears on page 5 of the November 2020 issue.
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On Oct. 15, United Airlines began to offer COVID-19 testing to passengers before they board flights from San Francisco to Hawaii. Passengers are required to pay for the tests themselves; the cost is $250. If the program is successful, United hopes to expand testing to more routes.

On its flights to Hawaii out of Dallas-Fort Worth, on Oct. 15 American Airlines also began offering tests to passengers. The airline also began offering tests to Jamaican passengers flying to Jamaica from Miami, with plans to eventually offer testing to all passengers flying to Jamaica as well as those flying to the Bahamas, regardless of nationality.

Hawaii, Jamaica and the Bahamas each require anyone entering the country to submit to a 14-day quarantine or present evidence of a negative COVID-19 test taken, at most, 72 hours before arrival. Those testing negative before flying on United or American will be able to avoid a quarantine.

The airlines are using rapid-response antigen tests which can produce results within 15 minutes. The tests are not as accurate as nasal swabs, which can take two or three days for results, but are considered accurate enough for most applications. The tests produce more false positives than swabs but are no more likely to produce false negatives.

In Germany, Lufthansa planned to begin offering rapid-response antigen tests to passengers sometime in October. It plans to add testing in major US and Canadian airports at a later date.

 

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On Oct. 15, United Airlines began to offer COVID-19 testing to passengers before they board flights from San Francisco to Hawaii. Passengers are required to pay for the tests themselves; the cost is $250. If the program is successful, United hopes to expand testing to more routes.

On its flights to Hawaii out of Dallas-Fort Worth, on Oct. 15 American Airlines also began offering tests to passengers. The airline also began offering tests to Jamaican passengers flying to Jamaica from Miami, with plans to eventually offer testing to all passengers flying to Jamaica as well as those flying to the Bahamas, regardless of nationality.

Hawaii, Jamaica and the Bahamas each require anyone entering the country to submit to a 14-day quarantine or present evidence of a negative COVID-19 test taken, at most, 72 hours before arrival. Those testing negative before flying on United or American will be able to avoid a quarantine.

The airlines are using rapid-response antigen tests which can produce results within 15 minutes. The tests are not as accurate as nasal swabs, which can take two or three days for results, but are considered accurate enough for most applications. The tests produce more false positives than swabs but are no more likely to produce false negatives.

In Germany, Lufthansa planned to begin offering rapid-response antigen tests to passengers sometime in October. It plans to add testing in major US and Canadian airports at a later date.