United and Lufthansa are both planning to offer rapid-result Covid tests to at least some of their passengers in hopes that it will help spread approval for such testing as a way around quarantine rules that are presently blocking much of air travel's hoped-for recovery.
United's entry into the testing field is tied to new action by Hawaii, which will start allowing visitors to skip a strict 14-day quarantine if they can show negative test results close to arrival time. Under United's plan the airline will administer an antigen-based test using a saliva sample before boarding; there's also an at-home option.
Lufthansa sees the growing array of inexpensive quick tests, although not as accurate as the PCR swab tests, as a way to break down barriers in international travel. When it starts next month, it will be offered only to first- and business-class passengers until more test supplies are available. It sees the tests as a way to get countries to open mutual flights, and says it is "working with partners in the USA on transatlantic pilot routes." In all likelihood, that means its Star Alliance partner, United.