At United, our purpose of “Connecting People. Uniting the World.” drives each decision we make—even as we begin 2021 still in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although we don’t see you as much as we used to, we are still committed to finding new ways to make you feel comfortable when you are ready to fly with us again.
We’re continuing to put your safety and cleanliness at the forefront of your travel experience through our United CleanPlus program by teaming up with Clorox and the experts at the Cleveland Clinic to advise us on enhancing safety measures.
In addition to our deep aircraft cleaning, electrostatic spraying, and mandatory mask requirement, we also partnered with the U.S. Defense Department’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency on rigorous scientific analysis to demonstrate how the airflow configuration onboard an aircraft creates a uniquely safe environment for you and our crew.
Despite everything that happened this past year, we were still able to make instrumental strides in enriching the customer experience. We did this through what I like to call the Field of Dreams approach. In the 1989 film, Kevin Costner’s character hears a voice that says, “If you build it, he will come.” That’s exactly what we are doing with COVID-19 testing at United.
We believe testing is one of the most essential tools that we can provide to give travelers the confidence to join us back on board before the widespread success of the vaccine. In fact, we are leading the way in COVID-19 testing, which is aiding our road to recovery.
In October, we rolled out testing for flights departing from San Francisco International Airport to Hawaii, with the goal to give local customers a new level of confidence in flying United. We did this by providing passengers two options: rapid on-site testing or drive-through testing days prior to departure. We were able to provide this service by working hand-in-hand with the Hawaiian government to meet the state’s requirements. Customers can now bypass a two-week quarantine when traveling to the state. Our aim is to give all United customers a new level of confidence by utilizing testing regardless of their destination.
In November, we launched the first free transatlantic testing pilot program for customers, providing free tests for those traveling from Newark Liberty International Airport to Heathrow Airport. Every crew member and passenger who flew with us required a negative test at the airport before boarding.
At present, customers still need to follow a mandatory self-quarantine following their arrival at Heathrow, but we look forward to executing similar strategies for other United destinations across the globe.
Collaboration is key to curbing COVID-19. In the near future, we hope to announce additional testing flights with some of our Star Alliance partners. We’ve also teamed up with Abbott Labs, who have not only provided us with tests, but are working with us to integrate their tracking technology into the
Above all, we’re getting creative: working on at-home solutions, collaborating with existing airports to repurpose space into testing facilities, and, most importantly, tailoring solutions to all of our international gateways to give you the confidence to fly United.
Testing, however, is only an interim solution. The ultimate goal is a vaccine. For this reason, we’re also working on a plan for tracking vaccines. (More on that to come!) We believe that a vaccine will put us on a faster path to recovery: good for you, our business, the United family, and the world at large.
Thank you for your continued loyalty, and we look forward to seeing you back on board.
Next Up: Three Perfect Days in Tampa