Some UK Passengers Are Faking COVID Certificates In Order To Fly

As pre-flight testing becomes more common, some UK travelers have taken to faking COVID negative certificates to board their flights. Passengers are reportedly paying between £50-£150 ($65 to $195) for negative tests, while others are simply photoshopping others’ tests. So why are passengers deciding to fake tests to fly?

Wizz Air A320
Some passengers have reportedly been using fake COVID-19 results to fly. Photo: Getty Images

Fake test results

According to The Sun, several passengers have been looking for ways to fly without needing to undergo mandatory pre-flight testing. Several countries have added these criteria due to high infection rates in the UK and globally.

Passengers have been employing interesting ways to get their hands on fake test results. Some have taken to their own photoshop skills to change the name on the test and pass it off as their own. Others have also resorted to paying others to acquire a fake test for them, creating a market of sorts.

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British Airways, COVID-19, Testing
Passengers have been paying others to acquire a doctored test for them according to reports. Photo: Centogene

The price for such a certificate can cost anywhere between £50-£150 ($65 to $195) depending on the urgency, according to Sun. It should be noted that these prices are just based on individual accounts since it is obviously illegal to doctor test results. But why are people resorting to faking their tests?

Shortage of testing

Most people said that they skipped the test due to a sheer shortage of available public testing. NHS testing is limited to key frontline works, and sick patients due to the backlog, which means most have to head to private labs for a test. The high cost of a private test, around £150 ($165) or more, means many do not want to pay.

Emirates issues covid-19 blood tests
The UK is facing a shortage of public tests and airport testing is limited. Photo: Emirates

Another reason has been for travel that is in an emergency. Highly accurate COVID-19 tests can take a few days to process, which most countries need, meaning passengers may not have them in time. In this case, some decide to fake results by paying large amounts or through some quick photoshopping.

What do we do now?

While emergency trips are difficult in the current circumstances, fake test results can risk the health of hundreds. Even if a passenger has no symptoms, they could be passing on the virus asymptomatically, making the test important for travel. Widespread unreliable test results could force countries to stop travel altogether.

Ryanair, September, Passenger numbers
Unreliable testing could shut down international travel if it becomes prevalent. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

One solution would be the implementation of widespread airport testing and a global testing standard. IATA has long been pushing for this policy, which will allow travelers and countries to safely travel once again (although quarantines could still stay in place). Regardless of the solution, airlines will have to become more vigilant to ensure fake tests are spotted and such passengers not fly.

Have you ever taken a pre-flight test? How was your experience? Let us know in the comments.