United’s New Interactive COVID Travel Restrictions Map Has Flaws But Potential

by SharonKurheg

Since Joe and I are looking at doing more road trips than flights in the “shorter term” future, I’m always on the lookout for a great interactive map that’s up to date on what you need to know about travel restrictions for states. Plenty of maps are out there, but many are static and limited to only when they were written; they’re not updated.

So when United announced they were introducing a new interactive map tool, I was excited. They said the map, which is available on United.com and on the United app, would allow customers to filter and view different states’ current travel restrictions for coronavirus. They would give info on local regulations, such as social distancing and mask enforcement, as well as to see if hotels, restaurants and other leisure outlets are open to the public. Best of all, they said they would keep it up-to-date as states changed their mandates.

“We know it’s a challenge to keep up with the ever-changing list of travel restrictions, policies and regulations so we are offering a simple, easy tool that helps customers decide where to travel next,” said Linda Jojo, Executive Vice President for Technology and Chief Digital Officer. “By providing the most up-to-date information on the destinations we serve, customers can compare and shop for travel with greater confidence and help them find the destinations that best fit their preferences.”

I quickly went to the online version of the map to try it out.

It’s easy to use; states are color coded based on if they’re open to visitors, open with restrictions, have entry restrictions or have no data available.

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Once you click on a state, a popup box opens that gives you the state’s basic info. As you can see, the popup boxes are a little inconsistent. Unfortunately, more states’ info looks more like Alaska’s than New York’s, which explains what the house, test tube and (at first I thought it was a SIM card) form/application mean.

You can then click on “See More Info” to get more information. Here’s what I got when I clicked on New York:

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It’s good info for what people in New York can and cannot do but unfortunately, it was already out of date on its last review of August 31. Back in mid-August, Governor Andrew Cuomo said that museums and other low-impact indoor activities could begin opening, albeit under specific capacity and other safety regulations, as of August 23rd. This post from August 27th lists several museums and cultural sites in NYC alone that were already open.

Other mistakes I noticed:

  • New Jersey is colored as “open to visitors” but it’s actually “open with restrictions.”
  • Florida is listed as requiring residents from NY, NJ and CT to isolate for 14 days upon entry. That restriction ended in early August.
  • Hawaii is listed as “Entry allowed without mandatory quarantine? (Yes, with limitation)” When you click on “See More Info,” they clarify that you still have to quarantine now but will be able to avoid that, if you get a COVID-19 test within 72 hours before your trip, effective October 1st. October 1st is still a month away, and there’s no guarantee that Hawaii’s governor won’t extend their mandatory quarantine even longer.

There were other gaffes, but I’m sure you get the gist of it. They all go down to inconsistencies or information that isn’t updated.

United says that in the coming weeks, they plan on expanding the map to include all international destinations they service. If they can ensure the map is correct and updated, I think it will be a real boon to travelers.

#stayhealthy #staysafe #washyourhands #wearamask

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

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