United Airlines is offering a new feature to help flyers prepare to travel as safely as possible amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The airline announced Wednesday that customers who need to take a COVID-19 test before boarding the plane for their destination can now easily schedule a test through their digital platform called Travel-Ready Center. More than 200 testing centers around the U.S. are linked to the platform and can automatically clear the customer for travel.
"This new feature enables customers to travel with confidence knowing they can quickly locate a testing provider if they need one, schedule an appointment and get the results they need – all within the United Travel-Ready Center experience," said United's Chief Customer Officer Toby Enqvist.
United says the traveler will receive confirmation whether their test result meets their destination’s requirements. And once the test is validated, customers will see they’re "travel-ready" and can receive their boarding pass.
United’s Travel-Ready Center is a digital hub launched in January that helps travelers know what requirements, whether it be vaccination, testing or isolating, are in place at their destination.
United customers will have easy access to testing sites now all across the country, including sites within United hubs as well as at drug stores and pharmacy chains.
The carrier said it plans to expand testing availability soon in more U.S. cities and internationally.
IN FLIGHT - OCTOBER 27: A masked passenger is seen seated on a flight from San Francisco, California to Newark, New Jersey on October 27, 2020. Although virus dissemination on flights is low when people are able to be socially distant, the extremely
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has cleared domestic travel for those who have been vaccinated.
According to the CDC, fully vaccinated travelers do not need to get tested before or after travel unless their destination requires it and do not need to self-quarantine, but fully vaccinated travelers are still asked to follow the CDC’s recommendations for traveling safely, including mask-wearing, frequent hand washing and staying six feet from others.
In its first round of guidelines for vaccinated people, the CDC didn't give its blessing to travelers. Even so, airports saw millions of travelers a day last month -- a surge that mimics pre-pandemic levels, FOX News reported.
Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department has announced it will be updating this week its international travel advisories to better reflect travel guidance from the CDC.
The update will result in approximately 80% of countries worldwide being under a Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory. The department said their advisories take into account logistical factors, such as in-country testing availability and current travel restrictions for U.S. citizens.
The department added that it "strongly recommends U.S. citizens reconsider all travel abroad" amid the ongoing pandemic because of the "unprecedented risks" involved.
The news comes as COVID-19 deaths worldwide are on the rise again, averaging at around 12,000 per day, and new cases are climbing too, eclipsing 700,000 a day.
Over the weekend, the global COVID-19 death toll surpassed 3 million people. The number of lives lost, as compiled by Johns Hopkins University, is greater than Chicago’s population of 2.7 million and equivalent to the populations of Philadelphia and Dallas combined.
Top officials at the World Health Organization also gave a warning this week over alarming rates of infections and poor outcomes.
"Infections and hospitalizations among people aged 25-to-59 are increasing at an alarming rate, possibly as a result of highly transmissible variants and increased social mixing among younger adults," said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, during a briefing Monday.
This story was reported from Detroit. The Associated Press contributed