Travelers wear preventive face masks at Schiphol Airport.
Robin Utrecht | LightRocket | Getty Images
American Airlines, British Airways and Oneworld, their alliance partner, will offer Covid-19 testing for some passengers later this month. This is the most recent push to boost international travel as the pandemic keeps most travelers at home.
Starting November 25, travelers on certain flights to London from New York, Los Angeles and Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport will be able to voluntarily complete three Covid-19 tests as part of the testing program: one at home before departure, one on arrival at London Heathrow and a third exam mailed to the traveler upon arrival.
Oneworld, which is funded by member airlines such as American and British Airways, will pay for the tests.
The airlines are urging regulators to accept negative coronavirus tests as an alternative to travel bans or quarantine requirements that have affected air traffic this year. In the past few weeks, several airlines have launched Covid-19 testing programs to drive demand.
For example, United Airlines began offering preflight coronavirus testing to passengers on a flight from Newark to London Heathrow on Monday. And American offers preflight testing for travelers in St. Lucia, Grenada and Belize to meet local entry requirements.
Rob Gurney, CEO of the Oneworld alliance, said while the airlines are trying a three-test system, they ultimately want a single negative Covid test "to serve as an alternative for customers who need to go into a quarantine environment".
While such tests could ultimately help travelers bypass quarantines or travel bans, travelers will also weigh the restrictions on certain activities upon arrival and the number of cases at their destination, said Henry Harteveldt, president of Atmosphere Research Group, a travel industry consultancy .
"We don't travel to sit around airports and on airplanes," he said.