United Airlines to Operate First Covid-19-Free Flight Between N.Y. and London on Monday

By Kurt Stolz on 15 November 2020
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The London Eye, or Millennium Wheel, on the South Bank of the Thames, the most popular paid tourist attraction in the U.K.

United Airlines will operate its first coronavirus-free flight between New York and London on Monday.  The flight could be the first step in reopening what was once one of the busiest air corridors in the world before the pandemic.

The Chicago-based carrier last month announced plans to offer free coronavirus tests to passengers on one of its daily flights between the airline’s New York area hub and London as part of a pilot program. The tests virtually guarantee that the flight is virus free although passengers will still be required to wear masks and observe other precautions such as social distancing during the flight.

The tests will be offered at no charge to every passenger over the age of two as well as to flight attendants and pilots on select flights between Newark Liberty International Airport and London Heathrow.  Any passengers who don’t wish to be tested will be rebooked on another flight.

“We’ll guarantee that everyone on board has tested negative for COVID-19,” the airline’s chief customer officer, Toby Enqvist, said in a statement.

To accomplish this, the airline has converted its United Club near gate C93 into an onsite testing facility, with the intention of getting test results to every passenger before the flight takes off. The testing will be conducted on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for passengers traveling on United Flight 14, which departs at 7:15 p.m. local time.

The airline said last month that such rapid testing programs “will play a vital role in safely reopening travel around the world.”

The airline typically Flight 14 using a Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner with the airline’s new Polaris business-class seating in the premium cabin. The high-tech aircraft has 44 lie-flat suites in the Polaris cabin. Each seat in the cabin extends to a 78” bed and the seat itself is 20.6” in width. The Premium Plus premium-economy cabin has 21 recliner seats that are 19” in width and have a seat pitch of 38”.  Seats in Economy Plus, the airline’s premium-economy lite section, as well as in coach are 17.3” in width.  Seat pitch in Economy Plus is 35”, while that figure is 31” in coach.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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