Lufthansa Begins Trialling Rapid COVID-19 Antigen Tests

German flag carrier Lufthansa is launching a new rapid testing initiative. The new system will see antibody tests given to passengers for free on a trial basis, between Munich and Hamburg from November 12th.

Lufthansa, COVID-19 Testing, COVID Free Flights
Lufthansa is to begin offering COVID-19 free flights between Munich and Hamburg. Photo: Oliver Roesler via Lufthansa

Airlines around the world have been calling on testing as a solution to reopen air corridors. This is especially true within Europe, where rising case numbers have led to a resurgence in border restrictions between the relevant nations.

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For example, yesterday, the UK’s transport minister Grant Shapps revealed that the United Kingdom would end its travel corridor with Germany, meaning that passengers will need to quarantine for 14 days on arrival from tomorrow. In the opposite direction, travelers will be required to quarantine for a minimum of five days upon arrival in Germany from the UK from Sunday onwards.

Lufthansa launches a rapid testing trial

German flag carrier Lufthansa is set to launch a new rapid COVID-19 test trial from Thursday. The trial will see passengers traveling on select flights between Munich and Hamburg, receiving a COVID-19 antigen test before their flight.

Lufthansa, COVID-19 Testing, Centogene
Centogene is one of the partners offering the testing. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

The two daily flights in question will be COVID free flights. Lufthansa will not force passengers who are traveling on these two daily flights to take the pre-flight test. However, if the passenger refuses, they will be rebooked onto another flight where the tests are not offered at no additional cost.

LH 2058 will depart from Munich at 09:10 on November 12 as the first flight to test every passenger before travel. The second flight will be LH 2059 from Hamburg to Munich.

The testing process

There are two possible procedures to allow travel on Lufthansa’s new COVID-19 free flights. Firstly, the airline will accept a negative COVID-19 certificate issued within 48 hours of the flight. However, passengers can also take a rapid antigen test at the COVID test centers hosted at the respective airports by Centogene and Medicover Group.

Lufthansa, Ryanair, Irresponsible Low Fares
If the trial is successful, it could be rolled out on other routes. Photo: Getty Images

To take the rapid test, passengers will need to register ahead of their flight and arrive at the airport slightly earlier than usual. The test is tied to the passenger’s boarding pass. This means that until a negative test is registered to the passengers boarding pass, it will not work at the gate. According to Lufthansa, the test takes 30-60 minutes for a result to be generated.

Such preflight testing is being called for across the industry. Indeed, London Heathrow Airport recently launched such an option on flights to Italy and Hong Kong. Simple Flying recently discussed the concept with airBaltic CEO Martin Gauss during an exclusive interview. Gauss told Simple Flying,

“Even for a short haul flight, it would make sense to do such a test and then go. If we look at the upside for the economy if you can fly again, I think it’s worth investing in that.”

Would you be keen to take a rapid COVID-19 test before traveling? Let us know what you think and why in the comments.