United Airlines Flight 14 from Newark Liberty International Airport to London Heathrow Nov 16 began a trial of the airline's free transatlantic COVID-19 testing program. All passengers over 2 years old and the entire crew received rapid tests and received negative results prior to departure.

The program, which the airline announced last month, uses the rapid Abbott ID Now COVID-19 test administered by Premise Health. The test was offered onsite at a testing facility, located at the Newark United Club near Gate C93.

The airline will continue to offer the test to passengers traveling on Flight 14, departing at 7:15 PM, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, for the next four weeks. Governments on both sides of the Atlantic are observing the results of this pilot program to assess its effectiveness as an alternative to mandatory quarantines and travel restrictions.

Passengers booked on these flights who confirm their willingness to participate in the trial will receive information prior to travel in order to schedule a testing appointment at least three hours before their flight departs. Customers who opt out will be accommodated on another flight.

"These flights are a good proof-of-concept for governments around the world that are considering making testing part of the travel experience," said Toby Enqvist, chief customer officer for United. "Expanding our testing efforts with pilot programs like this one not only helps guarantee passengers onboard test negative for COVID-19, it also adds another element to our layered approach to safety and demonstrates a way to work within quarantines to key international destinations."

The airline cautions customers that all arriving passengers are still subject to current UK entry requirements, including the current 14-day quarantine restrictions. More information on the testing program is available at united.com/covid-testing.

united.com