With travel at a standstill during the pandemic, more airlines are launching tools to make it easier for passengers to present negative COVID test results and look up healthcare facilities while flying internationally.
United on Monday introduced a digital “Travel-Ready Center” tool on its mobile app and website, a platform where travelers can review COVID-19 entry requirements, find local testing facilities abroad and upload testing and vaccination records all in the same place. The news comes ahead of the official Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC requirement mandating that all travelers flying internationally into the U.S. show proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
The CDC’s new regulation goes into effect Jan. 26.
United is launching new tools to make it easier for travelers to get COVID-19 tests and show proof of negative test results. (iStock)
Customers who use the new Travel-Ready Center on United’s app will also be able to view their destinations’ COVID-19 related travel restrictions. United said it would allow customers to schedule a COVID-19 test at one of more than 15,000 testing sites globally through its Travel-Ready Center platform. The test provider will alert United directly with test results.
Travelers can access the new tools under the “My Trips” section of the United App and on United.com. Once users upload all required travel documents, a United employee will verify and determine if they are ready to travel safely, before completing the check-in process.
While the process can be fully virtual, United said in a press release that “customers should still plan to bring the physical documents to the airport in case further inspection is needed along their journey.”
“While pre-travel testing and documentation are key to safely reopening global travel, we know it can be confusing for customers when they’re preparing for a flight,” said Linda Jojo, Executive Vice President for Technology and Chief Digital Officer at United, in a press release.
“Starting today, our ‘Travel-Ready Center’ gives customers a personalized, step-by-step guide of what is needed for their trip, a simple way to upload required documents and quickly get their boarding pass, fully integrated within our app and website.”
The launch comes on the heels of American Airlines announcing a similar mobile health “passport” of sorts via its VeriFLY app. International travelers flying with AA can download the app, create an account, enter their destination and upload the required documentation, including a negative COVID-19 test. American is the first in the country to roll out a health “passport” such as this, the airline says.
Meanwhile, Chicago-based United Airlines on Friday confirmed to Fox Business that CEO Scott Kirby is supporting efforts to make vaccination a requirement for employees. A spokesperson for United told Fox Business that requiring employee vaccinations was something Kirby is “strongly considering,” though it is not yet a policy.