United Airlines Introduces COVID-19 Testing Options for Hawaii-Bound Passengers Flying from San Francisco

Starting October 15, Hawaii-bound passengers traveling from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) on United Airlines will have the option to take a rapid test at the airport or a self-collected, mail-in test ahead of their trip.

United is the first U.S. air carrier to launch a pilot COVID-19 testing program that could make it easier for travelers to respond to quarantine requirements and visitor conditions of destinations throughout the world. 

“Our new COVID testing program is another way we are helping customers meet their destinations’ entry requirements, safely and conveniently,” said Toby Enqvist, Chief Customer Officer at United. “We’ll look to quickly expand customer testing to other destinations and U.S. airports later this year to complement our state-of-the-art cleaning and safety measures that include a mandatory mask policy, antimicrobial and electrostatic spraying and our hospital-grade HEPA air filtration systems.”

The rapid Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 test – administered by GoHealth Urgent Care and their partner Dignity Health – provides results in approximately 15 minutes and will be available to United passengers on the same day as their flight departing from SFO. The mail-in test option will be administered by Color and it is recommended that passengers initiate testing at least 10 days prior to their trip and provide their sample within 72 hours of their trip.

Working closely with Hawaii officials, United wanted to ensure that any United passengers, both Hawaiian residents returning or visitors arriving, who tested negative on either test would not be subjected to the state’s current 14-day quarantine requirement.

United currently offers daily flights from San Francisco to Honolulu (HNL), Maui (OGG), and Kona (KOA). Starting October 15, the carrier also expects to resume flights between SFO and Lihue (LIH), along with additional flights to Maui and Kona.

Rapid Test Options

Passengers lining up for their pre-booked rapid COVID-19 test on site at San Francisco International Airport.
Passengers checking in at the on-site location at SFO for their rapid COVID-19 test.

In July, United first partnered with GoHealth Urgent Care to test its international flight crews in SFO. Now, passengers can schedule their visits online (cost is $250.00) in advance for the on-site testing facility that is located in the International Terminal at SFO and will receive their results in approximately 15 minutes. GoHealth Urgent Care’s dedicated COVID-19 testing area will be available from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. PT daily.

Self-Collect Option

The blue colored COVID-19 testing kit packaging from Color, a health care group.
The Color Self-Collect option mailed directly to your residence.

United will email customers traveling from San Francisco to Hawaii an invitation to purchase (cost is $80.00) their physician-ordered Color self-collection kit at least 10 days ahead of their departure, collect their own samples at home 72 hours prior to their departure and return their test via overnight mail or to a drop box at SFO.

Color then processes those tests at their local, CLIA-certified COVID-19 testing laboratory and returns results via text and/or email within 24-48 hours. Color’s self-collection kit includes a plastic collection tube, a non-invasive nasal swab and instructions on how to properly collect a specimen.

Visit United.com for more information on flights to and from Hawaii.

Note: As with any COVID-19 related information, it is subject to change without notice due to the nature of evolving research details.

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