HomeTravelsUnited Airlines sees international travel increase after testing requirement eliminated

United Airlines sees international travel increase after testing requirement eliminated

Days after the Biden administration eliminated its international COVID-19 testing requirement, United Airlines reported renewed interest in international travel.

United Airlines reports surge in international travel searches after COVID-19 testing requirement eliminated

For 17 months, a negative COVID-19 test has been required for travelers boarding an international flight to the United States. For months, airlines have lobbied the Biden administration to drop the testing requirement, with American Airlines CEO Robert Isom going so far as to call it “absurd” in a recent interview. Effective June 12, 2022, the testing requirement has been waived.

Already, lifting the mandatory testing requirement seems to be working. United Airlines, which carries more international traffic than any US carrier in terms of available seat miles, reported renewed interest in international travel. This includes the following statistics within 72 hours of the announcement of the tests:

  • 2.4 million searches for international travel, a 7% increase over the previous week
  • 1.5 million of these were for travel from the United States to international destinations, an increase of 7.6%
  • 900,000 were for travel from international destinations to the US – up 6.9%
  • The majority of searches by US travelers were for short-term trips this summer to destinations in Europe, Mexico and the Caribbean

It’s safe to say that pre-flight COVID-19 acted as a travel deterrent. But why? Was it really that hard to find a test center or just too expensive?

Critics charged that people were more afraid of getting stuck overseas than getting on a plane and potentially infecting other people, or getting COVID-19 at all. I would phrase that accusation differently.

Travelers were right to question the whole sleazy business of pre-flight testing, which often featured dodgy test centers with dodgy tests at inflated prices (like this time in Germany I was dabbed for seconds less centimeter in my nose and I tested negative eight minutes later). The stress of finding a test center and hoping that test results would be sent out in time has had a justifiable deterrent to travel, as few want to be stuck overseas.

And frankly, with aircraft filtration systems offering some of the safest indoor environments, it never made sense that testing would be required on flights but not in other places and spaces that posed a much greater risk. raised.

The “something is better than nothing” approach rang hollow for those who had to rush for a test before every flight from the United States that US officials were simply asking airlines to take a quick look at. It became a redundant exercise especially since all the known variants were already present and saturated in the USA.


United Airlines reported an increase in searches for international travel within 72 hours after the United States dropped COVID-19 pre-flight testing requirements. With the summer travel season upon us, expect even more congested flights as a result of this policy change in the United States.

picture: United

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