British Airways is to launch a new COVID-19 test offering in conjunction with government-approved partner Qured (pronounced cured). The airline aims to make it easier for customers to obtain a pre-departure COVID-19 test for their return to the UK.
Since mid-January, the United Kingdom government has required all arrivals to have a negative COVID-19 test less than 72 hours old. However, sourcing an accepted test can prove tricky in some overseas countries. British Airways has begun selling accepted self-tests that passengers can take abroad with them for affordable prices to make things easier.
From today, British Airways will be selling COVID-19 tests to passengers planning to travel abroad. The idea is that British Airways passengers will buy the test for £33 before traveling abroad and take it with them. As the test is self-administered, the traveler will be able to conduct it themselves before returning to the UK.
The tests meet the UK Government’s guidelines to be accepted as the pre-departure negative test. The passenger could be in the most remote place on earth. As long as they have their test kit and a stable internet connection, they will be able to take the test.
At the moment, the tests can only be delivered to the UK, meaning a traveler on a Frankfurt-London-Frankfurt itinerary couldn’t use one for travel to the UK. However, other countries may accept it on specific routes departing the UK. In addition to the test, passengers must still pay for the two and eight-day PCR tests mandated by the UK government.
How do the tests work?
The tests being sold by British Airways are lateral flow devices. These work a bit like a pregnancy test. The traveler must run a swap on the back of their throat (both sides), in addition to up each nostril. A trained member of Qured staff will observe the process via video call to ensure it has been completed successfully.
The sample is then mixed with a liquid before two drops are placed on the test device. At this point, the call is ended, and the person being tested must wait 20 minutes. Once the 20 minutes are up, the traveler needs to photograph the test result alongside their ID. It is then verified by the Qured team, who will provide a certificate confirming the result.
If using the British Airways VeriFLY service, passengers will need to upload this certificate to the app before travel. However, the airline is working with Qured and VeriFLY to tie the two systems and make the process automatic. Passengers eligible for British Airways’ discounted offering can find more details on the British Airways page. Otherwise, Qured sells the tests directly for £39.
What do you make of British Airways’ new testing initiative? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!