Even if we were allowed to travel right now, there is a myriad of rules, regulations and tests to go through to get back into the UK. Never mind the rules and testing of the country you are going to! Testing before departure on your return to enter the UK is likely to be here for the foreseeable. So BA’s latest idea is a game-changer to me. It’s cheap, easy to do and gives rapid results. No more worrying about finding somewhere abroad to do tests and wasting part of your trip to get a test done.
You need to be organised and make sure you get the tests ordered and delivered to you before you leave, but other than that it is very simple. So when you are ready to fly back to the UK, you simply do the test within 72 hours of departure and then if it’s negative you are ready to fly!
To give peace of mind when planning future travel, British Airways has announced that its customers can order discounted global antigen tests from Government approved COVID-19 testing provider, Qured, at an exclusive price of £33. These tests can be used for entry back into the UK on your way home and are PHE and government approved.
How do I order the test?
They are available to buy from today 4 March on this page on ba.com
The antigen rapid test kits can be ordered to any UK address. If you order by 3pm Monday to Saturday you will receive the test the next day. You can order more than one if you have a couple of trips planned, but don’t forget that the entry requirements could change meaning you can’t use the test if you ordered too far before departure. As well as ordering a test you need to book your online appointment for a video consultation.
What does the test involve?
Designed to be portable, customers can take the kits with them abroad, in preparation for their return journey to the UK. The simple test is remotely administered by a professional health advisor over a scheduled video call.
The health advisor will guide the customer through taking a nose and throat swab and processing the sample. Verified results are available after 20 minutes, and the customer can download a ‘fit to fly’ certificate if the test is negative. I watched a demonstration yesterday of the testing and it’s easy and very professional. In fact, I have done a few of these rapid tests before and they are very simple to use. The health professional guides you through the process. You will need something to time the results on and a pen plus the kit. You will need to write the date and time of the test on the slide so that the advisor can verify when the test was taken.
Once you have completed the test, you wait for the allotted development time and then send a photo of the test with your photo ID next to it. The date and time is also checked.
You can see a video of the test process here:
How do I get my results?
You would then get your results back via a link on SMS within a few minutes. You can download a negative certificate from there as well.
Does it work with Verifly?
I previously wrote about Verifly, the app BA are using to validate test and vaccination status. Hopefully, Qured will be added into the app’s approved providers soon so that results can go seamlessly into the app and be used to do online check-in without lots of further paperwork checks at the airport.
One thing to know is that Covid-19 is a notifiable disease in the UK so Qured are legally obliged to share positive results with PHE. This does not apply in other countries.
What if my travel is postponed or cancelled?
The other handy part about Qured is that if you have an appointment booked, you can cancel or change the video appointment, unlike many providers. This is definitely needed when travel can be so unpredictable at the moment. Tests usually have an expiry date of about 2 years so you should be able to use it on another trip.
Can I use the tests for other requirements such as entry to the US, test to release or the day 2 and day 8 tests?
The tests can also be used for the US which would save a lot of hassle going somewhere in the US to get it done. Other countries may accept these tests but you would need to check the country’s requirements yourself. It can’t be used for day 2 and 8 tests as these are currently PHE NHS tests but it is hoped that you will be able to use private providers in the future. However, since these are done to track variants then it’s unlikely to be a rapid antigen test. You can use some rapid antigen tests for test to release but not these one’s currently. Hopefully, that will change since it would be very handy! Qured do offer a PCR test for test and release by post though.