United testing digital 'health pass' on flight from UK to US

Volunteer passengers from London to Newark will be trialing the new system

A trial run for a digital "health passport” is taking flight on Wednesday, and it's aimed at making it easier to verify certified COVID-19 test results while traveling internationally during the pandemic. 

United Airlines is testing a digital health pass in which volunteer passengers will take COVID-19 tests up to 72 hours pre-flight and input results from a certified lab on an app as a safe way to verify health while crossing borders, Reuters reported. 

United is testing out a

United is testing out a

Volunteers on United Airlines flights leaving London Heathrow to Newark Liberty International in New Jersey on Wednesday will log test results through the World Economic Forum-backed CommonPass app. Travelers will get a code via the app that airline employees and border workers can scan upon arrival. 

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection will monitor the trial. If successful, the health-focused technology could open up doors for safer and more seamless international travel during the pandemic. 

The goal is for airlines to team up with trusted labs to digitize results certified across borders to replace paper-based test result methods from unknown labs. 

"Travel and tourism has been down across the board due to the COVID pandemic,” Diane Sabatino, deputy executive director, office of Field Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), said in a statement. “CBP wants to be part of the solution to build confidence in air travel, and we are glad to help the aviation industry and our federal partners stand up a pilot like CommonPass.”

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The test costs $104 and can be booked online with results ready in an hour, MarketWatch reported. 

CommonPass said it will roll out the digital health pass with more airlines throughout the U.S., Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East if the trial goes well.