'Covid-free' flight just landed in London. CNN Quest CNN is on board
'Covid-free' flight just landed in London.  CNN Quest CNN is on board

‘Covid-free’ flight just landed in London. CNN Quest CNN is on board

(CNN) – Transatlantic passenger flight, which even at the age of 19, Cov felt safe – United Airlines Flight 14 from Newark, which landed at Heathrow Airport on Tuesday morning, seemed to be real.

The flight is the first in a four-week trial by the airline where passengers and crew were tested before boarding, giving them the assurance that – while flying, no one was infected with the virus.

The United States wants to show that appropriate inboard tests can enable transatlantic space travel to reopen, reduce or eliminate the need for quarantine and regulate the tourism industry.

So how does it work? I was one of the 36 passengers on the night flight that opened the gates to Heathrow to get through the process. Here’s what happened:

The virus test – Abbott ID Now Covid-19 Express Card Test – administered by Premise Health – was performed immediately after the test.

You will pass through security, heading to the gates and test site, located at the Newark United Club. You go in, name, answer medical questions and the nurse makes eye contact.

It’s not a bad thing at all. The officer in charge explained to me that the corpse did not need to go outside the nasal passages to detect Covid. All in all take about 15 minutes, after which you will receive the printout and forward it to you.

Quick and easy

There are currently no passengers between the US and the UK, so flights are empty.

Richard Quest / CNN

While it was a quick and easy process on Monday evening, it occurred to me that if pre-flight testing became the norm, and there were three, four or five full flights to Europe departing per day, the center would be very busy.

But United were prepared, asking us to arrive a few hours ahead of time to give time for testing. You sign up before your 15 minute break, so it’s easy to include travel time.

A single soul that has not been tested? The manhole cover, which carries a single passenger and is very conscious.

The United Nations will conduct tests on three transatlantic flights in one week. It hopes to help restore the air link between London and New York, which is usually one of the longest routes in the world.

Now, the passengers who travel it have canes and are far apart. All those arriving in the United Kingdom from the United States were detained for two weeks. Restrictions are even more stressful for return trips, making miraculous travel, whether for business or leisure, further impossible now.

Tourists arriving in the UK from the US and vice versa currently do not have to show a negative Covid test. Many in the tourism industry say this is an opportunity to build safe corridors.

On board the first Boeing 767-300ER United Nations test flight Covid, most passengers told me they were on their way to visit family.

Some people tested positive for Covid-19 during the test. The man was denied boarding, and was taken to a solitary confinement.

I do not think the United Nations would expect this, but the airline has been prepared and the protocol is being followed. Proper procedures are placed in the care and welfare of each individual and to protect the other passengers.

The airline states that this indicates that pre-departure testing results in safe flight.

No guarantees

United Airlines Test Pilot COVID 19 EWR LHR 2

United Airlines is testing passengers for Covid before they board a transatlantic flight.

Courtesy United Airlines

It certainly makes sure to be on a plane that everyone has tested. Of course, we know that it is not a guarantee, but when riding a car everyone is not Covid.

If a passenger has to turn to Covid-positive during the flight, it also contains the aircraft’s mask, tarpaulin and HEPA filter to limit the chances of it spreading.

Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines, says the chances of people testing the negative impact on Covid in Newark, flying across the Atlantic and then testing positive at Heathrow – and the viral transmission in the process – are slim.

“Because of the environment on the cruise ship – it spreads all over the cruise ship, it’s not like if you fly through an international aircraft,” Kirby said.

Quest-Covid Flight Test (3)

Everyone on board was tested for Covid.

Richard Quest / CNN

The United Nations continues to implement the security measures it has introduced since the epidemic – the forced dissolution of social divisions. I’m in business class, and when we serve food, it is packaged and designed so that no one touches it.

Arriving at Heathrow, I was amazed at how quiet it was. It is a vivid reminder of how the second wave of Covid-19s in Europe and the subsequent closure have had a devastating effect on the tourism industry.

If the trial proves successful, United’s approach must be the future of travel. The negative Covid test before departure is supplemented by a short quarantine and a final test to ensure total clarity will make a significant difference.

The vaccine is coming, but it will not be widely available until mid-2021. Until then, some test regimes will have to be available for countries without a corridor.

This seems to be the only way forward. It’s about giving passengers – and the government – more confidence in returning.

Richard Quest reports on United Airlines Flight 14, a contributed by Francesca Street from London.