PCR / Fit for Travel Test – Help Required Please

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Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)

  • ConcordeFlyer
    Participant

    Good evening.
    After nearly 24 months of being grounded, it’s time to dust off the wings and take to the skies. A major re-adjustment after 10 solid years of flying every other week.
    Am now at a bit of a loss and seeking some testing guidance and where to go for it.
    The itinerary…..starting next weekend.
    LONDON to CANADA. 10 days in CANADA. Flight to USA. 6 nights USA. Return to UK.
    I like to think of myself as semi intelligent but the asking now of tests, more tests and s few on my return has got the better of me.
    For all those travel pro’s, some guidance and advise on which tests and by whom would be appreciated.
    I am based close to central London.
    With thanks and stay safe.
    Best wishes.


    JAZ
    Participant

    Hi Tom, With the current travel restriction in UK, do you know how long will it takes to clear the immigration custom upon arrival in London. My flight will land in London at 8 am UK time and I have scheduled an Express Day 2 PCR test outside Heathrow Airport. Travelling time is about 45 mins to 1 hr. The PCR test time is around 10 am UK time.


    Bath_VIP
    Participant

    Concorde FLyer,

    Not only has it been almost 2 years since I last flew, it’s been the same time since I posted on here.

    Let me summarise my experience of flying to the States for Thanksgiving.

    LHR-BWI
    My wife and I was flying with British Airways in Premium Economy. BA are allowing passengers to check their bags in the night before for transatlantic flights. This service opens between 1800 & 2100 and boy were we glad to have taken advantage of this!

    We knew we needed 3 documents for the USA. Proof of a negative test, Proof of double vaccination and a signed attestation form that says you tested negative and have been vaccinated. What we didn’t know was the following.

    1. These documents need to be stored on your phone/tablet/laptop whether scanned in, electronic record or completed. Having printed copies alone is not accepted and we got caught out by that. I had the vaccination & test results on my phone but the attestation hadn’t been. However, BA had a QR code you could scan near the check in that allowed you to do the online filling in and it was efficient.
    2. NHS COVID19 tests are NOT accepted by the USA! We had had our test at an NHS testing facility 72 hours beforehand (it needs to be within 3 days of departure) but when we checked in we were told it is not valid as the presumption is that only symptomatic people can get NHS tests (which wasn’t the case for us). Fortunately there is a testing centre in T5 but you need to book a slot in advance online. Luckily we were able to get a slot booked within 30 mins and had our tests done there and then. Results are emailed to you within 30-45 mins. This is where checking in night before made a big difference as I can’t imagine the stress had we tried to do that on the day of departure.
    3. The BA verifly App may be worthwhile. I looked into this as you can’t checkin online without it but we decided that paper copies of the documents was the way to go. Now given point 1 above,

    Once that saga was over, the rest of the journey was smooth. Security the following day was fine and there were no problems on the flight. You need to wear a mask throughout your journey as much as possible.

    The surprise came with US immigration where we expected all of our documents to be checked thoroughly but in the end, they didn’t get checked at all and it was a normal experience. So this suggests some sort of pre-notification.

    BWI-LHR return
    Again we were on BA in business class this time. Now we had everything on our phones, checkin was smooth. One wrinkle that concerned us was a sign at checkin implying we needed a negative test in the USA before we flew but this was misleading and not needed at the time.

    The main thing you have to do for returning to England (note England specifically) is order a COVID19 test to be taken on your 2nd day and to complete a passenger locator form in advance. This form has you clicking a lot of buttons but it is relatively straightforward.

    Otherwise the flight was straightforward. I think this time at UK immigration our COVID vaccination was checked but we had used passenger assistance as my wife was struggling with a bad back so it wasn’t the usual immigration experience.

    So that was the experience as of 27th November. Hope it helps.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    Hi Tom, With the current travel restriction in UK, do you know how long will it takes to clear the immigration custom upon arrival in London. My flight will land in London at 8 am UK time and I have scheduled an Express Day 2 PCR test outside Heathrow Airport. Travelling time is about 45 mins to 1 hr. The PCR test time is around 10 am UK time.

    Hello, that seems fine if the flight lands on time and there aren’t long queues.
    (Of course, no guarantees. The last time I was at Heathrow all the electronic gates were out of order).

    My daughter is landing at T5 on Saturday and has allowed 90 minutes from landing to pick up bags, clear security and then to make her appointment for a Day 0-2 test at Heathrow…

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    ASK1945
    Participant

    NHS COVID19 tests are NOT accepted by the USA! We had had our test at an NHS testing facility 72 hours beforehand (it needs to be within 3 days of departure) but when we checked in we were told it is not valid as the presumption is that only symptomatic people can get NHS tests (which wasn’t the case for us).

    Thank you for your very informative post.

    However, how were you able to get an NHS PCR test without having been “pinged” or having had a poaitive LFT which you had registered? It’s quite understandable that the US authorities would not accept your NHS test certificate – neither do some other countries.


    JAZ
    Participant

    Thanks Tom


    Alsacienne
    Participant

    @ Jaz @Tom

    Just to say that I searched high and low last month for information about clearing Customs and Immigration at Stansted because I didn’t know at what time to book my 0-2 day test for – I wanted to take it on arrival.

    The information I got was that as long as one had a timed booking and was therefore expected at the test centre, even if I was late (or early) the staff would somehow fit me in, especially if I didn’t mind waiting a short time.

    My experience at Stansted (thank you Collinson) was impeccable (arrived earlier than booked) and there certainly seemed to be ‘space’ for those being jabbed outside their planned testing time.

    I would suggest that you book your test with an interval of 60-90 minutes from landing (if you have baggage to collect) and make it clear to your testing centre what flight number you are arriving on, so they will have a heads up if there is a delay en route. All the very best and may your testing go smoothly.

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    DavidSmith2
    Participant

    ConcordeFlyer – if you need PCR tests done in the UK before or after your travels, I can recommend the Pyser Lab as you mentioned you would be in central London. Their lab is 5 mins from Trafalgar Square, just off The Haymarket. Very efficient and pleasant. They have rented office space inside the Haymarket Hotel. They can do same day results and are properly accredited.


    FaroFlyer
    Participant

    Hi Tom, With the current travel restriction in UK, do you know how long will it takes to clear the immigration custom upon arrival in London. My flight will land in London at 8 am UK time and I have scheduled an Express Day 2 PCR test outside Heathrow Airport. Travelling time is about 45 mins to 1 hr. The PCR test time is around 10 am UK time.

    Hello, that seems fine if the flight lands on time and there aren’t long queues.
    (Of course, no guarantees. The last time I was at Heathrow all the electronic gates were out of order).

    My daughter is landing at T5 on Saturday and has allowed 90 minutes from landing to pick up bags, clear security and then to make her appointment for a Day 0-2 test at Heathrow…

    Hi Tom,

    Your daughter was lucky to get a slot. I just tried to book Expresstest at T2 for Monday 13th and they are fully booked that evening.

    As a separate note, don’t forget to use Quidco. Only 5.6% cashback, but with 2 PAX that is a bottle of wine. Cheers!

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    CathayLoyalist2
    Participant

    Bath_VIP, for those who find technology a breeze not a problem but for seniors, dare I say, who struggle with technology what you experienced must be a challenge and a half and probabaly they will not bother to fly to the USA. I have taken two trips, albeit short haul, and hard copies of documents have been fine

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    Bath_VIP
    Participant

    My wife was pinged a few days before and we were advised to have a test so we thought we were being clever by scheduling it 72 hours before our flight. As it turned out it was not clever.

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    JAZ
    Participant

    Thanks Alsacienne for the useful information.


    craigwatson
    Participant

    That’s the problem. You are only suppose to get an NHS test if you have symptoms, or are instructed to by test and trace. Oh and yes a positive lateral flow. People using them for fit to fly certificates just clogs up the system and people who actually need them end up waiting days. This was the problem back in august/September 2020. Now no countries worldwide will except NHS tests. As well most other countries won’t accept other countries national health PCR results either.

    NHS COVID19 tests are NOT accepted by the USA! We had had our test at an NHS testing facility 72 hours beforehand (it needs to be within 3 days of departure) but when we checked in we were told it is not valid as the presumption is that only symptomatic people can get NHS tests (which wasn’t the case for us).

    Thank you for your very informative post.

    However, how were you able to get an NHS PCR test without having been “pinged” or having had a poaitive LFT which you had registered? It’s quite understandable that the US authorities would not accept your NHS test certificate – neither do some other countries.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    JAZ
    Participant
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