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American and British Airways Launch Trans-Atlantic COVID- 19 Testing Plan

To encourage trans-Atlantic travel, American Airlines and British Airways are working with the Oneworld alliance to offer optional COVID-19 testing. Volunteers will be able to take advantage of free testing on select flights between Dallas, Los Angeles and New York, consisting of one test prior to departure, one upon landing, and one three days after arrival. 

Flyers traveling on select flights from U.S. cities to London Heathrow Airport (LHR) aboard either American Airlines or British Airways will have the option to test for COVID-19 prior to their departure. Working with the Oneworld alliance, the carriers are launching optional novel Coronavirus tests to flyers who volunteer prior to departure.

COVID-19 Tests Designed to Show Quarantines Could Be Lifted

The flights offering the free exams to flyers include:

  • American Airlines Flight 50: Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) to LHR
  • British Airways Flight 114: John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to LHR
  • British Airways Flight 268: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to LHR, starting Nov. 25, 2020
  • American Airlines Flight 106: John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to LHR, start date to be determined

The testing protocol is voluntary, and will consist of three different tests prior to departure. The first exam is the nasal swab exam administered by LetsGetChecked – the same test currently offered to American passengers. The test must be taken 72 hours before departure from the United States.

The second exam will take place upon landing at London Heathrow Airport, administered by Collison. A nasal swab will be taken for a LAMP test, while flyers will be given their third test upon completion. The third exam is an in-place saliva test, similar to the one offered by Vault Health. Like the first test, flyers will take the third one at their home or hotel, and send it to the lab for processing.

The goal of the exam protocol is to show both American and British authorities that through rigorous exams, travel lanes can be opened between the two nations without compromising the health of flyers or other residents. Under current U.K. entry policy, all travelers must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Although the three-test protocol won’t allow flyers to bypass the quarantine requirements, the airlines and Oneworld will monitor customer participation and share results with the government stakeholders.

American Continues to Lead on COVID-19 Testing Options

Among the legacy airlines, American continues to lead in testing options to destinations both within the country and outbound to certain international partners. Earlier in November 2020, American announced they would expand testing options for flyers outbound to Belize, Grenada, and St. Lucia.

tkelvin69 November 20, 2020

"To be effective, surely there needs to be some incentive for travellers to take part in this experiment given all the hassle and time involved." Maybe not dying or killing someone else might be an adequate incentive?

WineCountryUA November 19, 2020


WineCountryUA November 19, 2020

Isn't UA already doing this? https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/united-airlines-mileageplus/2027750-ua-launches-world-s-first-free-transatlantic-covid-19-testing-pilot-program.html

Full Score November 19, 2020

To be effective, surely there needs to be some incentive for travellers to take part in this experiment given all the hassle and time involved.