From today, all those traveling with Etihad from Abu Dhabi will be able to take advantage of a free COVID-19 PCR test, except for those flying to China. The initiative is designed to help restore confidence in traveling following aviation’s worst crisis.
Many governments across the world have travel restrictions in place. The aim is to stop the importation of new COVID-19 cases. However, these travel restrictions also prevent those without COVID-19 from traveling. Testing is seen as a solution to this and is allowed by some countries to avoid a 14-day quarantine period.
Etihad includes COVID-19 tests in tickets
For most of those traveling from Abu Dhabi until the end of the year, Ethiad is including an additional service in the price paid for the ticket. Until this date, all those departing from Abu Dhabi with the carrier will be able to take a free PCR COVID-19 test before travel.
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For most passengers, this will mean traveling to a Life Medical Diagnostic Center run by Life Dx to undergo a test between 48 and 96 hours before departure. However, First and Business passengers will have the option of taking a test in the comfort of their home.
Unfortunately, those utilizing staff travel privileges or traveling to China are not eligible for these tests. This is because China will only recognize tests from a SEHA testing facility. Meanwhile, those headed to Morroco must also undergo an antibody test. However, as all other departures from Abu Dhabi require a negative COVID-19 test, the move will surely be welcomed by passengers.
Complimenting COVID-19 insurance
According to Dr. Nadia Bastaki, Etihad’s VP of Medical Services, the new offer ‘follows on perfectly from the recent introduction of complimentary COVID-19 insurance cover.’ She commented,
“This is a significant development which allows Etihad to provide greater ease of travel for those departing from Abu Dhabi, by removing as much inconvenience from the PCR testing process as possible. We are confident this partnership will provide Etihad, and most importantly our guests, with Life Dx’s superior testing technologies so they can travel from the capital with greater peace of mind.”
Just under a month ago, Etihad began offering COVID-19 insurance to give passengers peace of mind when traveling. The hope is that passengers will feel more confident traveling, knowing that their airline has their back if they end up catching the virus. Etihad’s insurance covers passengers for up to €150,000 ($176,205) in medical expenses, and up to €100 ($117) per day in quarantine costs. These would cover the price of a hotel room, for example.
Would you be encouraged to travel if a free COVID-19 test was included in the ticket price? Should this become the norm across airlines? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!