United Airlines to require negative COVID-19 tests for all passengers originating in the UK

Dec 24, 2020

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United Airlines shared the details in a press release on Thursday of its plan to impose a testing requirement for all passengers whose travel originates in the U.K.

Beginning Dec. 28, all United passengers traveling to the United States from the United Kingdom must present proof of a COVID-19 test with a negative result within 72 hours of departure. According to the airline, molecular tests including PCR, LAMP or antigen are acceptable. And, if you can’t arrange a test a few days before departure — or aren’t confident in the turnaround time — rapid testing is provided at the Collinson testing center in Terminal 2 at London Heathrow Airport (LHR).

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The testing requirement applies to all passengers over the age of five, though those who are connecting from elsewhere in Europe onto a United flight at Heathrow are exempt.

All of United’s flights between the U.S. and London are included in this new policy. For December, that means its four daily flights to the airline’s hubs in Newark (EWR), Chicago-O’Hare (ORD), Washington-Dulles (IAD) and San Francisco (SFO). And in January, it will apply to its twice-daily flights between London and both Newark and Chicago.

The announcement was also made by Governor Phil Murphy of the state of New Jersey in a tweet on Thursday.

This development comes as the U.K. finds itself reeling from the discovery of a new strain of the coronavirus, which is reportedly much more transmissible than other varieties. As a result, the nation has seen itself completely cut off from dozens of countries around the world. The U.S. has not banned travel to and from the U.K. at this point, but British Airways, Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic have all imposed similar requirements in cooperation with the state of New York for their flights from London to New York City, via Kennedy Airport (JFK).

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