United to offer rapid Covid tests for some Hawaii-bound flyers

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An aerial view of Waikiki. United says it will provide rapid Covid tests to passengers departing for Hawaii from San Francisco.
An aerial view of Waikiki. United says it will provide rapid Covid tests to passengers departing for Hawaii from San Francisco. Photo Credit: SvetlanaSF/Shutterstock.com

United Airlines will begin offering rapid airport Covid-19 tests for customers traveling from San Francisco to Hawaii.

The pilot program, which is the first to be announced by a U.S. airline, will begin Oct. 15, the same day the state is slated to reopen to visitors via a new testing option.

Under the program, tests will be administered by United's partner GoHealth Urgent Care and conducted in San Francisco's international terminal. Results will be provided within 15 minutes. Flyers should schedule their test ahead of time.

According to GoHealth CEO Todd Latz, the test will cost $250, which includes a quick clinical evaluation.

United is currently flying from San Francisco to Honolulu, Maui and Kona. The carrier will add service from San Francisco to Lihue, Kauai on Oct. 15. Earlier this year it said it was increasing its service to Hawaii.

Since March 26, Hawaii has required all arriving visitors to self-quarantine for 14 days. That rule is slated to be loosened on Oct. 15, when travelers will be able avoid quarantine by providing written confirmation of a negative Covid test from a state-approved facility administered within 72 hours of departure.

United said that it has worked closely with Hawaii officials to ensure that results from its testing program will be accepted.

The carrier added that it plans to expand the program to other destinations and U.S. airports later this year.

Also on Oct. 15, United will begin offering a self-collected, mail-in test option for customers going from San Francisco to Hawaii. Travelers should request the test 10 days before the trip and take the test with Hawaii's required 72 hours of departure. Those tests will be administered by another United partner, Color.

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