Vaccinated UK Travelers To Benefit From Cheaper Arrivals Testing

From today, double-jabbed passengers arriving into England will face different and, crucially, cheaper testing requirements. The British government is allowing vaccinated travelers to take a lateral flow test on the second day after their arrival, rather than a more expensive PCR. However, the new rules do not apply to high-risk ‘red list’ arrivals.

Vaccinated UK Travelers To Benefit From Cheaper Arrivals Testing
UK airlines like easyJet had previously criticized testing costs. Photo: Getty Images

Cheaper tests in time for half term

The UK announced last month that October would see a shake-up in its rules for testing for inbound air passengers. First of all, it scrapped the requirement for incoming travelers from abroad to take a test prior to their departure. The change has made travel easier for those fully vaccinated (two weeks or more since their second jab) against COVID-19.

The British government also announced at the time that, while double-jabbed arrivals still need to take a day 2 test for coronavirus, late October would see this switched to a lateral flow test. Beforehand, these tests had to be of the PCR variety. The cost of these had previously attracted criticism from UK airline CEOs like easyJet’s Johan Lundgren.

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Testing has become a key part of air travel during the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Getty Images

However, today saw the new rule come into effect that now only requires fully vaccinated arrivals to take a lateral flow for their day 2 test. These have to be purchased from a private provider, but the BBC reports that they can cost as little as £19 ($26).

Meanwhile, Simple Flying reported last month that the PCR tests were at least £43 ($59). The news comes at an ideal time for families going away for the October half term.

The situation for the rest of the UK

It is worth noting that the new rules that came into effect today only apply to passengers arriving into England. As for the rest of the UK, the situation is a little different. For example, Wales is set to implement a similar rule, but not until October 31st. According to the BBC, the Welsh Health Minister Eluned Morgan explained that:

The reason why lateral flow tests are coming in later in Wales compared to England is because the communication issues that we have had with the UK government.”

Heathrow Getty
Children will also only need a lateral flow test, regardless of their vaccination status. Photo: Getty Images

As for Scotland and Northern Ireland, the BBC reports that these parts of the UK also look set to implement similar regulations. However, unlike in the case of Wales, they do not yet appear to have set a firm date when they will follow suit with new testing rules.

Not an option for red list arrivals

While the new testing rules will apply to double-jabbed arrivals from most countries, there are some exceptions. These come in the form of countries that remain on the UK’s high-risk ‘red list.’ The number of red-listed countries has greatly decreased in recent weeks, but passengers arriving from the following nations will still need to quarantine.

  • Colombia
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Haiti
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Venezuela

What do you make of the changes to the UK’s testing policy? Will you be traveling more in light of the alterations? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.