TUI Makes Travel More Affordable Cutting Cost Of UK COVID Tests

TUI is set to drastically slash the cost of the mandatory testing required by the UK Government for those traveling on package holidays this summer. The news comes a day before the government is expected to reveal how each country will be classified on the new traffic light system currently set to enter force on May 17th.

TUI, UK Traffic Light System, COVID-19 Tests
TUI is set to offer subsidized COVID-19 tests to get people traveling again. Photo: Boeing

The UK Government is set to relax a strict travel ban on May 17th. Despite being ten days away, we still don’t know some key details regarding the relaxation. We know that testing will play a massive role in the plans, potentially leaving some unable to travel for financial reasons.

TUI’s new testing packages

TUI is hoping that it will be able to relaunch package holidays this summer. To stop the cost of testing from putting off potential passengers, the holiday company today revealed that it would subsidize the cost of testing eligible passengers.

According to TUI, its new packages will range from £20-£90 depending on the destination and service required. The first two packages are targeted at passengers flying to green countries.

According to government guidance, those traveling from green countries will need a pre-departure test (this can be a rapid antigen test) and a PCR test within two days of arrival into the country. TUI will offer both of these for just £20 ($28) per person. For an extra £40 ($56), TUI will throw in a second PCR test to be taken before leaving the UK.

TUI, UK Traffic Light System, COVID-19 Tests
The cheapest tests will cost just £20, a significant saving on other providers. Photo: Getty Images

What about travel to amber countries

The UK Government’s rules on travel from amber countries are significantly more restrictive than for green countries. All passengers not from a green country are required to quarantine on arrival. This lasts for ten days, reduced to five with a third negative COVID-19 test known as test-to-release.

Again, TUI has two packages for passengers in this category. For £50 ($70), passengers will get one rapid test before traveling to the UK and the day 2&8 PCR tests in the UK. Again, for an extra £40, an additional PCR test before leaving the UK is available.

TUI Isn’t seemingly offering a test-to-release scheme, meaning that passengers must foot the cost of the additional test if they wish to leave quarantine after five days. While TUI will likely hope that subsidizing testing will encourage passengers to keep holiday bookings, the mandatory quarantine requirement for amber destinations means they will likely remain unpopular with many travelers.

Airport Testing Getty
Arrivals from amber countries will still be required to quarantine and take two PCR tests. Photo: Getty Images

Commenting, Andrew Flintham, Managing Director of TUI UK & Ireland, said,

“We have always believed that cost-effective testing solutions, as well as maximum flexibility, will make travel a possibility this summer and beyond… should testing requirements change between purchase and travel, for example if an amber package is purchased and the destination moves onto the green list, we’ll simply refund the difference”

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Which countries will be placed on the green list?

Until the official government announcement, we won’t know for sure which countries will be placed on the green list. Many within the industry have been suggesting some destinations. Paul Charles of the PC Agency has been following the issue closely.

Last week he revealed that 24 destinations are likely to be placed on the green list. These include the likes of Israel, Iceland, Finland, Malta, Gibraltar, Portugal, and Jamaica. In addition, he believes that most of Europe will turn green by the end of June alongside the US.

Would cheaper testing make you more likely to take a package holiday this summer? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!