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American Airlines and British Airways are the latest to offer a preliminary Covid test to passengers



Travelers wear face masks as a preventative measure at Schiphol Airport.

Robin Utrecht | LightRocket | Getty images

American Airlines, British Airways and Oneworld, their alliance partner, will offer Covid-19 tests for some passengers later this month, the latest effort to boost international travel as the pandemic keeps most passengers at home.

From 25 November, passengers on certain London-based flights from New York, Los Angeles and Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport will be able to volunteer to take three Covid-1

9 tests as part of the trial program: one at home before departure, one at arrival in London Heathrow and a third test sent to the traveler upon arrival.

Oneworld, funded by airlines such as American and British Airways, will cover the cost of the tests.

Airlines are urging regulators to consider adopting negative coronavirus tests as an alternative to travel bans or quarantine requirements that have reduced air travel this year. In the last few weeks, several airlines have launched testing programs for Covid-19 to help boost demand.

For example, United Airlines on Monday began offering preprinted coronavirus tests to passengers on a Newark-London Heathrow flight. Americans offer pre-flight tests for travelers to Saint Lucia, Grenada and Belize to meet local entry requirements.

Rob Gurney, CEO of the Oneworld alliance, said that while carriers were testing a three-test system, they would ultimately want a negative Covid test to serve “as an alternative for customers who need to enter a quarantine environment.”

While such tests may ultimately help travelers circumvent quarantines or travel bans, passengers will also weigh restrictions on certain activities once they arrive and the number of cases at their destination, said Henry Harteveld, president of Atmosphere Research. Group, a consulting company for the tourism industry.

“We don’t travel to sit on airports and planes,” he said.


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