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United Airlines says it will roll out a new COVID-19 testing program for passengers beginning Oct. 15, the Chicago-based carrier announced Thursday.

At first, testing will only be available for passengers traveling to Hawaii from San Francisco International Airport. Why Hawaii? The airline, the first in the U.S. to offer rapid testing, has more flights to the state than any other U.S. carrier, and the Aloha State's new testing requirements begins the same day as United's.

Passengers will have the choice of taking a rapid test from Abbott Labs at the airport the day of their flight with results available in about 15 minutes or using a mail-in test at home prior to travel. Those opting for the at-home test are advised to request the test kit 10 days prior to travel and submit their sample within 72 hours of their flight.

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The bargains are all over the map, literally, and appeal to a wide range of travelers. There are camping deals for solos; mini-tours for beginning travelers ages 18 to 29; bike tours for cyclists who delight in hitting back roads; and European odysseys for people who have missed the cities, museums and rivers of the Continent.

Overseas Adventure Travel, known for its small-group tours, has seen solo bookings mushroom, with more than 24,000 single travelers signed on for 2021. Chief Executive Brian Fitzgerald attributes the surge to pent-up demand for travel and notes that he’s not surprised because “solo travelers tend to be resilient and independent.”

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September 23, 2020 - CNN Travel

Can airport testing and Covid immunity passports unlock travel? - by Kathryn Creedy

Testing has been adopted by various places as a key to allowing transit, leading to more widespread calls from the travel industry to use this to facilitate the return to a more normal flow of passenger traffic.
Travelers too favor testing. According to a recent SmartBrief for the Business Traveler poll, more than 65% think a test should be required to travel.
But is testing -- and the introduction of so-called Covid immunity passports that show when someone has recovered from the infection -- really the key to getting the world in the move again?

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September 22, 2020 - ABC News

Airlines push for coronavirus testing before international flights - by Mina Kaji and Amanda Maile

The U.S. aviation industry is urging the government to establish COVID-19 testing protocols before international flights as a way to safely reopen travel routes that have been cut amid the pandemic.

Industry stakeholders want the U.S. to reach an agreement on pre-flight COVID-19 testing procedures with Europe, Canada or the Pacific first as part of a "limited testing pilot project." This would allow people to travel between two countries without the need to quarantine, and allow government officials to evaluate the efficacy of the program.

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September 17, 2020 - The Washington Post

Growing number of airlines offer ‘flights to nowhere’ as international travel remains stalled - by Antonia Noori Farzan and Adam Taylor

With international travel in much of the world still disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, some airlines are resorting to “flights to nowhere” that target passengers who long for air travel — and some are willing to shell out plenty of money for the tickets.

Qantas, among the latest to advertise a flight that departs and arrives at the same airport, told Reuters that the trip sold out less than 10 minutes after going on sale on Thursday. “It’s probably the fastest-selling flight in Qantas history,” a spokeswoman for the airline said.

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