San Antonio laboratory pilots United Airlines' new COVID testing program
As the nation prepares to travel during the holiday season, some 2.4 million Americans are expected to fly on Thanksgiving alone, according to CNN and estimates from AAA. While that’s the largest one-year decrease on record, it’s a significant enough number for airlines to increase safety measures.
To that end, United Airlines announced on November 23 that it is expanding its customer COVID-19 testing efforts to include flights departing Houston to select destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean. The test is being administered by San Antonio-based Advanced Diagnostic Laboratory.
That means customers traveling through George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) can take a self-collected, mail-in test that meets local entry requirements for 10 international destinations, allowing them to reunite with family or start their vacation immediately, according to a press release.
The destinations are:
- Aruba (AUA)
- Belize City, Belize (BZE)
- Guatemala City, Guatemala (GUA)
- Lima, Peru (LIM)
- Nassau, Bahamas (NAS)
- Panama City, Panama (PTY)
- Roatan, Honduras (RTB)
- San Pedro Sula, Honduras (SAP)
- San Salvador, El Salvador (SAL)
- Tegucigalpa, Honduras (TGU)
United’s mail-in COVID-19 test costs $119 and will be administered by ADL and processed at their COVID-19 testing laboratory in San Antonio. The self-collection kit includes a plastic tube, a nasal swab, and instructions on how to properly collect a specimen.
Customers will receive instructions 14 days ahead of their flights on ordering a test and the testing process. Travelers are advised to research the testing requirements of each location and take the tests 72 hours before departure. Results arrive via email within 24 to 48 hours of mailing in the test.
“Widespread testing is key to unlocking international borders and safely reopening global travel,” Toby Enqvist, chief customer officer for United, said in a release. “This is particularly important for our customers in Houston, who rely on United to keep them connected with their family and friends in Latin America and the Caribbean.”
United is yet another airline offering COVID testing for international travel. As CultureMap previously reported, Fort Worth-based American Airlines and British Airways have launched an optional coronavirus trial test on select flights between the United States and London Heathrow (LHR).