case study

First 'Covid-free' flight during the Covid-19 pandemic

United Airlines

The Challenge

The outbreak and global spread of COVID-19 had a considerable impact on the aviation industry and continues to be the most disruptive crisis in travel history. United Airlines introduced a first-of-its-kind testing programme, providing free-of-charge rapid tests to all on board to guarantee everyone over the age of two on the flight tested negative prior to departure. Successful implementation of this programme would allow governments around the world to determine whether negative testing prior to departure was an effective alternative to travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines.

The Approach

Invited Richard Quest, CNN’s international business correspondent and anchor of Quest Means Business, to report on his travel experience, including pre-flight Covid testing at NewYork/Newark and on United's flight to London Heathrow. Issued a press release on the day of the first flight to media, including international, national and regional travel journalists. Invited key media to Heathrow Airport, including broadcast, to report on the arrival of the first flight.

The Results

Broadcast, including BBC World News, CNN International, ITVNews, ITV Good Morning Britain

Online articles, including BBC News, ITVNews, The Sunday Telegraph, Daily Mail, The Independent, The Guardian, The Sun, CNN Travel, Business Traveller

Social media posts, including CNN International, CNN Business, ITV News, Daily Mail UK, ITV Good Morning Britain, The Independent’s Travel Editor - Simon Calder, BBC’s Transport Correspondent - Tom Edwards

Start A Conversation