United Will Offer Passengers $250 COVID-19 Tests to Skip Hawaii’s Quarantine

A pilot program will test passengers flying from San Francisco to Hawaii

United Airlines 787

Courtesy of United Airlines

If you’ve been craving Hawaii’s warm sun and blue waters throughout the pandemic, you might finally have your chance to visit the tropical islands—without having to worry about the islands' mandatory quarantine.

Today, United Airlines announced the rollout of a pilot program for in-airport, COVID-19 rapid testing, specifically for passengers flying between its hub at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Hawaii. Currently, the state requires that all visitors quarantine for 14 days upon arrival—unless they partake in United’s new program.

"The rapid Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 test—administered by GoHealth Urgent Care and their partner Dignity Health—provides results in approximately 15 minutes and will be available to United customers on the same day as their flight departing from SFO,” said United in a press release. The trial program is set to begin on Oct. 15 and will cost passengers $250.

But that’s not all for the airline: United will also give self-collected tests a go, too. Passengers can opt to take healthcare company Color’s COVID-19 test at home, then mail in their sample for testing within 72 hours of departure. This option would, however, require a physician’s order.

"Our new COVID testing program is another way we are helping customers meet their destinations' entry requirements, safely and conveniently," Toby Enqvist, United's chief customer officer, said in a statement. "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."

Hawaii has also been working towards its own pre-travel program that would allow visitors flying in from anywhere, on any airline, to circumvent the mandatory quarantine if they test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of arrival. That program is also scheduled to launch on Oct. 15, but it has been previously delayed on multiple occasions.

Article Sources
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  1. United Airlines. "United Airlines Becomes First U.S. Carrier to Make COVID-19 Tests Available to Customers." September 24, 2020.

  2. Hawaii Tourism Authority. "HTA Responds to the State's Decision to Start the Pre-travel Testing Program on October 15." September 16, 2020.

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