Covid-19 testing: your experiences

Back to Forum
Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 66 total)

  • Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    Following on from a suggestion by a reader on our piece here

    Eurofins launches £98.90 Day 2 and Day 8 testing package

    I was wondering if you would share your experiences, good, or bad, of private Covid-19 testing for travel.

    There are various tests, of course, from Day 2 and Day 8 packages, to just Day 2, to Test and Release and antigen tests (to name but a few), but I think what is frustrating people the most is late deliveries and lack of customer response.

    I’ve tried Qured as a result of travelling to Mexico (amber country) for the WTTC Global Summit.

    Review: Qured Day 2 and Day 8 tests

    I am just finishing a feature on Covid-19 testing for the July / August issue of the magazine, so it would be good to get some feedback.

    Thank you for your help, Tom


    TonyR
    Participant

    These are my opinions based on my experiences:

    CityDoc, London – Fit to Fly. Recommended by BA. Date: Oct 2020. Getting the test was easy except, despite knowing where we were going, they did an invalid saliva test. Company they used to run the tests was dire – totally non-contactable and CityDoc disowned all responsibility and wouldn’t chase. Test results arrived 10 hours after our flight departed and more than 72 hours after tested so useless. At the airport we were with about 20 other people milling around all waiting desperately for their CityDoc test results to come through and almost all, including us, missed their flight. Had the tests redone elsewhere and flew a week later but still not got any refund or comp from CityDoc.

    Chelsea Bridge Clinic, London. Fit to Fly Date: Oct 2020. Were more expensive than CityDoc but brilliant and results arrive quickly from their own lab down the street with – the important thing – ready access by phone to someone that saw it as their job to ensure you got the results through in time.

    ExpressTest. LHR Drive through Fit to Fly. Date: May 2021. Excellent and good price. Easy to book, drive through and got results the next day. Very good communications and easy to reach on the phone to sort problems – we were delayed by traffic and were easily able to speak to them and get reassurance while driving to the airport that we wouldn’t loose our slot

    Eurpfins. BT Article. Tried to book 2 & 8 Day package. One of the cheapest but when I went there Day 2 & 8 package was suspended. Tried their chat function to see if/when they might resume and after getting past a hopeless chatbot, despite it showing I was connected and indication someone was typing, in 15 mins no typed response arrived. So I gave up only to come back and find a response some long time later and then the chat closed because I wasn’t there to reply.

    Screen4.org Booked 2 & 8 day package. . Date: June 2021 Not been through the full cycle yet and will amend when I have. Had some questions – kits are shipped to the “Shipping address” not the isolation addresses on the individual forms – but all sorted out very quickly and easily via their chat function and knowledgeable helpful staff. Email auto-response said 72hrs but took about 4hrs for a reply. Took a bit of a wait to get to chat but their systems tells you where you are in the queue and how long the wait is expected to be while you are waiting. Not the cheapest but still reasonably priced.

    HTH

    3 users thanked author for this post.

    miningguy
    Participant

    Dam Medical for outbound has proved to be excellent for my company. We have done probably 5 or so tests in the past few months with no issues at all. The only thing you *must* check on your returned test is that they have the test date correct. An admin error on one of our test results had the wrong year…it was quickly corrected. (https://www.dam-health.com/). I remain nervous about doing the cheaper “do it yourself” kits prior to travel as the knock on effect of a lost or inconclusive test result would be severe for us.

    Alpha Biolabs was what I used last time for the return. It was absolutely hopeless. The kits didn’t arrive. Nobody answered the phone or email. In the end the 119 NHS team sent us replacement kits. This begs the question to me if all the outsourcing and choice is perhaps causing more issues then it resolves. Perhaps the government should negotiate bulk prices on our behalf, with a single vendor or logistics company then managing the distribution etc. I can imagine as travel picks up over the coming months that this will cause chaos for less experienced, vacationers some of whom may not be terribly affluent.

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    FaroFlyer
    Participant

    Used LOCAL PCR in Birmingham for Day 2 test, taken immediately after arrival. Very efficient and results e-mailed within 24 hours.
    Expresstest for Fit to Fly at BHX. Also extremely efficient and results e-mailed within 24 hours.

    Now, a question: Are all PCR tests the same, or do they change with purpose?

    The reason is that we wish to spend minimum time in the UK to attend a wedding. Can we go from Portugal, now Amber, and book Day 2 and Day 8 tests, then change the Day 8 date to be Day 5? If so, can the Day 5 test double as a Release and also as a Fit to Fly test? We would attend the wedding on day 7, having passed the Release test, then depart on Day 8.


    TonyR
    Participant

    I think you should be OK on that timetable with your Test to Release test on Day 5 but you will still have to post your Day 8 test on your way out the country. Whether your Day 5 test will work as your Fit to Fly is a bit marginal depending on the exact timing as its right on the 72hr limit.

    To answer your other question not all PCR tests are the same. There is PCR and their is RT (Real Time) PCR. You need the latter and the older PCR test is not widely accepted.

    HTH

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    Ro51fr
    Participant

    Having just arrived in England, and bought the 2and 8 day test, which the supplier delivered on time. The test kits do not comply with the enclosed instructions, and neither the phone or the internet connection prompted as reply in 3 days, and the instructions had no relevance to the contents.163 pounds and a rip off. However was phoned by test and trace, very helpful and helpful

    Another health ministry poorly, no badly planned. Mr Handcock you have no idea to run any operation, unless you use the military. Hope you go v soon


    sparkyflier
    Participant

    I was due to go to Lisbon last week, and when I made the booking Portugal had been added to the Green list, and the only criteria Portugal needed at the time was having had the double vaccination, which I had had.

    However they then needed to have PCR test results as well – and this website and forum discussions were helpful in trying to find providers. I also looked at google maps for PCR test providers in London, and had quotes up to £199 (!).

    There was a reasonable fee with Express Test at Heathrow, which I was willing to go to, however..

    1) The code given on this and the BA website did NOT work on their website and

    2) The site and when I called up to clarify what it said said “results by 10pm following day*” – however the * was an indicator that this was NOT guaranteed. W

    What use is that? My flight was the morning after and would have been late to cancel the hotel etc.

    This was very disappointing.

    In the end I cancelled the trip. Too much aggro and cost for what was going to be a 4 day trip.

    On a positive note the Portuguese Embassy in London were very helpful and efficient in sending info on test places in Lisbon and BA Gold Customer Services were excellent yet again.


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    In the end I cancelled the trip. Too much aggro and cost for what was going to be a 4 day trip.



    @sparkyflier
    – you sum up exactly how I feel. It’s not all about the holiday traveller on a 2 week jaunt, business people need to travel for 3 to 4 day trips as well – too challenging at present.

    I presume the G7 circus in Cornwall will bring interesting covid 19 testing and quarantine challenges.. (excuse me I am POTUS and these 5,000 secret service staff are exempt as well….)


    TonyR
    Participant

    Update on Screen4 for Day 2 & 8 testing – so far pretty good

    We ordered our tests last week for two different addresses for our return last Sunday. One arrived Saturday, the other on Monday both by DPD with good tracking. Sent back tests on Sunday and Tuesday respectively and got the results back on Tuesday and Thursday first thing. Good communication throughout – tests dispatched, delivery slots, tests delivered, tests received back and test results. Just waiting to do our Day 8 test now next week.

    Given all the negatives on here about other providers and given the service and the lowish price – £120 ea – I would thoroughly recommend them on performance so far. Lets hope they keep it up to the final test

    9/10


    ASK1945
    Participant

    TonyR – from what you have written you have done the tests at home – or, if elsewhere, unsupervised anyway. Is that correct? What if anything is there to stop someone getting a known Covid negative friend doing one of these tests for them at Day 2, 5 or 8 and sending that in, to ensure that they get out of quarantine.

    I ask because I thought that these particular tests had to be done at a recognised testing centre.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    TonyR
    Participant

    Nothing I guess. Most of the tests are mail in tests at home.


    rferguson
    Participant

    TonyR – from what you have written you have done the tests at home – or, if elsewhere, unsupervised anyway. Is that correct? What if anything is there to stop someone getting a known Covid negative friend doing one of these tests for them at Day 2, 5 or 8 and sending that in, to ensure that they get out of quarantine.

    This is entirely correct and where the whole system falls down. Here is my experience of Epistem, Manchester.

    The other half and I were travelling to Brazil in January and required a PCR test. Given the strict time-frame validity of the test result to be accepted for travel and the fact we were flying indirectly, Epistem particularly appealed to me because although they mailed out the kit for us to do ourselves at home, they allow you to drop the sample to their lab in Manchester personally. Provided we dropped it before 10:00 we were guaranteed the results by 21:00 same day. This eliminated the need to worry about courier/mail delivery times.

    Anticipating everything would be fine, we decided to drop the test off the day before we were due to travel to allow for the longest test validity in case of missed connections etc. In hindsight, we should have done it a day earlier for the reasons that follow.

    On the Monday we dropped off our tests to the lab. Tuesday morning we were due to fly MAN – LHR on BA at 07:30. Then TP at 14:00 LHR – LIS – GRU.

    The morning where the other half and I took our samples we both did a lateral flow test that i’d been given by work beforehand. We both returned negative results and added to that we had both had COVID end of October so we took our PCR samples and dropped them off at the lab.

    That evening, around 20:00 my results came through – negative. We waited and waited for my partners. Nothing. 21:30 his came through – INCONCLUSIVE. To the labs credit, one of their staff called us straight away. They advised that they had run my partners test twice and both times reached an INCONCLUSIVE result (which they said is highly unusual when the test has been re-run). They asked what time we were travelling tomorrow, we advised 07:30 however we wouldn’t need the test results until the TP flight at 14:00. The lab advised they would run the test a third time first thing in the morning – although the results wouldn’t be available until 12:00 midday at the earliest. We were pretty stressed!

    At this point i’d like to go back to ASK1945’s statement. Had this happened a day earlier YES I could have 100%, knowing that I had tested negative, taken another test in my partners name and submitted it as his, obtain a negative result whilst he could potentially be COVID positive and get on a plane full of people!

    Anyway, it was a really stressful morning. We flew down to London not knowing whether we’d be buying a new ticket to fly back up to Manchester a few hours later. In the end, the result came back Negative just after midday.

    But, 100%. There has to be a more stringent approach into COVID testing.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    ASK1945
    Participant

    Thanks for thbis, RFerguson. However, I should point out that in no way was I condoning what wopuld be illegal activity (in fraudulent testing) but we all know that some people will undertake this kind of activity. We have laready heard of people purposely taking indirect flights from Red countries to the UK via Amber countries to get around the rules.

    Neither my wife nor I have had Covid (we believe), we have both completed two jabs (2 months ago) and have been doing lateral flow tests twice a week for some time – always negative. We are due to travel soon and will take supervised PCR tests.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    TonyR
    Participant

    There have been plenty of stories with fake certificates or people altering new or old tests which are much more effective if you want to go down the criminal route. In rferguson’s case the timelines don’t really allow for you to get a positive test and retake it with someone else’s sample. Doing all that with a guaranteed result in the 72 hr window would require a modicum of luck. But some people will no doubt try it as they will try to sell fake tests, fake cures and fake stories about vaccines.

    But rferguson’s experience is something you have to be prepared for and accept if you want to travel and that includes not travelling if your result comes back positive or inconclusive or not in time. The tests aren’t perfect. There are false positives but also real positives even in people who have been fully vaccinated – the latest ONS data is 29% of UK Delta variant deaths were fully vaccinated and you can still be a carrier when vaccinated Its not like anyone can claim to not be aware of these risks in these times and their potential to upset plans and sometimes cost a lot of money. If you are not prepared for that don’t take the travel risk.


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    I am making an attempt for a 3 day trip to Malta (Amber). I live close enough to Heathrow to go and get my predeparture test there. Can someone explain the difference between

    https://www.heathrow.com/at-the-airport/fly-safe/covid-19-test

    PCR Fit to fly – cost £59 – result next day by 10pm

    PCR – cost £99 – result in 48 hours

    I am also trying to understand whether you need to attend a clinic for the test or whether you can do the test yourself.

    Are the 2 and 8 day test the same PCR test or a different kind of test.

    All very confusing … (to me anyway)….

    Timing appears absolutely critical, with a 9.30am departure, I really need a result next day, not 48 hours later….

    Many thanks

    1 user thanked author for this post.
Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 66 total)
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Business Traveller September / October 2021 cover
Business Traveller September / October 2021 cover
Be up-to-date
Magazine Subscription
To see our latest subscription offers for Business Traveller editions worldwide, click on the Subscribe & Save link below
Polls