Attn SWISS: pre flight testing

Old Sep 24, 20, 9:09 am
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Attn SWISS: pre flight testing

The time has come to be realistic. UA, an airline that otherwise is not one to be admired, is taking a positive step in rolling out a pre-flight testing program for Hawaii bound flights. With a negative test, the passengers do not have to quarantine on arrival in Hawaii. Here is a model for SWISS to copy, assuming that the Swiss government will take a rational, logical view of things. Yes, the rapid antigen test is not 100% perfect. There is a very small risk of a false negative. However, currently the mask/quarantine system carries its own larger risks. Thus, a testing regime would open up travel without an undue increase of risk. As the saying goes "Perfect is the enemy of the good".
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Old Sep 24, 20, 10:21 am
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Originally Posted by sfoeuroflyer View Post
The time has come to be realistic. UA, an airline that otherwise is not one to be admired, is taking a positive step in rolling out a pre-flight testing program for Hawaii bound flights. With a negative test, the passengers do not have to quarantine on arrival in Hawaii. Here is a model for SWISS to copy, assuming that the Swiss government will take a rational, logical view of things.
I fail to see how Swiss can do anything about that.
Originally Posted by sfoeuroflyer View Post
Yes, the rapid antigen test is not 100% perfect. There is a very small risk of a false negative.
Subjective. Last I checked the precentage were up in the single digits.
Originally Posted by sfoeuroflyer View Post
However, currently the mask/quarantine system carries its own larger risks. Thus, a testing regime would open up travel without an undue increase of risk. As the saying goes "Perfect is the enemy of the good".
Very subjective. But let's not argue.

The Swiss Lurker btw, is no longer active.
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Old Sep 24, 20, 10:29 am
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Iím not sure what Swiss, or any other airline, can or is going to do to effect a change in government policy.
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Old Sep 24, 20, 10:47 am
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To be clear, there is no requirement for testing to enter HI. It is up to the passenger. Testing is an alternative to a 14-day quarantine. The UA program simply offers the tests on one route, e.g. SFO-HNL. Testing, of course, is available nationwide, so not a particularly major issue.

The broader matter is that it is really up to the destination jurisdiction. While LX could require testing to board, the more realistic issue is whether each destination jurisdiction offers a test as an alternative.

In the end, that will only happen if some critical mass of jurisdictions decide to permit admission or release the quarantine and those jurisdictions agree on a common set of standards, it might be doable. But, I certainly would not look at specific carriers.

Last edited by Often1; Sep 24, 20 at 10:54 am
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Old Sep 24, 20, 10:58 am
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Lufthansa is now also offering rapid tests before departing.
However, big caveat: countries need to accept that as overruling the quarantine rules.
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Old Sep 24, 20, 11:19 am
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LH Group has a team looking into various ways they can open up travel again. Testing (PCR or antigen) is part of that, but IATA and the various countries have to find a common ground.

https://de.reuters.com/article/uk-he...-idUKKCN26D2YK
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Old Sep 24, 20, 4:04 pm
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An interesting proposal that may lead to a breakthru.
This should probably be led by the ICAO, but when I start reading their „CART plans, then I think that they are paralyzed in bureaucracy. But there is hope that IATA can finally get things moving with what Oliver quoted above.
Here‘s the press briefing of the IATA CEO

The essential part is this.
IATA is calling for the systematic testing of all international travelers before departure. This should enable governments to safely open borders without quarantine.

They mean antigen testing for 100% of international flights to stop quarantine and obviously open borders and they are addressing governments who can deal with the minimized remaining risks. Test costs are estimated at around $7 per pax and IATA seems to be talking to big pharmaceuticals (Abbott and Roche). (And proposes that governments pay the testing).

It‘s certainly the best and most realistic plan I‘ve seen so far to get out of this.
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Old Sep 25, 20, 7:29 am
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Sniffer dogs are a much more innovative solution.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/23/w...cbPodmhVFZO4lw
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Old Sep 25, 20, 7:58 am
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Not only does pre-flight testing help on the quarantine front, but it also helps in that positive passengers are not boarded at all and thus do not spend any time cooped up with however many other passengers there are on the flight. While there will be, at least for the time being, false negatives, this is also a way to help carriers return to profitability by filling aircraft. If one need not worry about being infected by other passengers, no need to block seats and that will permit a return to normalcy.
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Old Sep 25, 20, 9:29 am
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Some Sense.....finally

Originally Posted by oliver2002 View Post
LH Group has a team looking into various ways they can open up travel again. Testing (PCR or antigen) is part of that, but IATA and the various countries have to find a common ground.

https://de.reuters.com/article/uk-he...-idUKKCN26D2YK
Let's hope that some sanity can come to the situation. Governments are irrational at the moment. Normally I applaud Switzerland for having good governance, but rejecting testing in favor of a quarantine is not a wise policy. I know SWISS has its hands tied in that it cannot unilaterally change government policy, but I hope they have a team working the problem.
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Old Sep 26, 20, 5:31 am
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I see the solution in the hands of IATA and not single airlines, because a unified voice and combined negotiation power are of the essence.
LH may get heard in Germany, but imagine LH going to France to negotiate a deal: No way how France will help LH to do that if AF won't have the same conditions.

The proposed 100%, systemwide pre-flight testing will bring:
1. Much more confidence to passengers, because the chance of having even one infected pax on board diminishes drastically.
2. Much more value & confidence to governments to open borders and abolish quarantine for a much wider number of countries then they can do now.

I agree with sfoflyer that governments are behaving in an irrational way to a large extent, but at least in the case of Switzerland, Germany, Austria and France, they make it clear that they do consider the economic impact of their decisions when it comes to keeping borders open.
- Huge economic interest to keep borders open where it's about work force crossing the borders every day: the borders stay open.
- Smaller economic interest to allow business travel and tourism: Borders partially close.
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Old Sep 26, 20, 9:19 am
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Irrationality

Originally Posted by LoungeLizzard View Post
I see the solution in the hands of IATA and not single airlines, because a unified voice and combined negotiation power are of the essence.
LH may get heard in Germany, but imagine LH going to France to negotiate a deal: No way how France will help LH to do that if AF won't have the same conditions.

The proposed 100%, systemwide pre-flight testing will bring:
1. Much more confidence to passengers, because the chance of having even one infected pax on board diminishes drastically.
2. Much more value & confidence to governments to open borders and abolish quarantine for a much wider number of countries then they can do now.

I agree with sfoflyer that governments are behaving in an irrational way to a large extent, but at least in the case of Switzerland, Germany, Austria and France, they make it clear that they do consider the economic impact of their decisions when it comes to keeping borders open.
- Huge economic interest to keep borders open where it's about work force crossing the borders every day: the borders stay open.
- Smaller economic interest to allow business travel and tourism: Borders partially close.
Here is the irony. Switzerland allows in tens of thousands Italians and French to work every single day. Of course they have no idea what those people do back in France or Italy in the evenings. They are allowed in based on business needs: no tests, no quarantine. However, if I, as a US person, want to enter Switzerland for essential business meeting, I have to quarantine for 14 days and having a negative test doesn't change anything. Is that rational? I hope that SWISS or IATA or someone can bring some common sense to bear on this.
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Old Sep 26, 20, 10:11 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Not only does pre-flight testing help on the quarantine front, but it also helps in that positive passengers are not boarded at all and thus do not spend any time cooped up with however many other passengers there are on the flight. While there will be, at least for the time being, false negatives, this is also a way to help carriers return to profitability by filling aircraft. If one need not worry about being infected by other passengers, no need to block seats and that will permit a return to normalcy.
That is true as long as the tests are reliable.
There was just an article in the Spiegel that a girl had Covid, but was tested 7x (!) negative...
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Old Sep 26, 20, 12:32 pm
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Originally Posted by sfoeuroflyer View Post
Here is the irony. Switzerland allows in tens of thousands Italians and French to work every single day. Of course they have no idea what those people do back in France or Italy in the evenings. They are allowed in based on business needs: no tests, no quarantine. However, if I, as a US person, want to enter Switzerland for essential business meeting, I have to quarantine for 14 days and having a negative test doesn't change anything. Is that rational? I hope that SWISS or IATA or someone can bring some common sense to bear on this.
Absolutely! - The sooner, the better.

A good proposal based on facts & a realistic model will help to bring clarity and remove some of the emotions and make decisions more rational again.
"What will business travellers and tourists bring for the economy vs. the risk that comes with open borders?"

Below is a rough idea how something like that could look.

It clearly shows the difference between testing and not testing passengers and it has two outputs:
1. Passenger view: Risk of being on a plane with an infected passenger.
2. Government view: Risk of a country to "import" infected people. (Assuming they all came from the same origin country which is reviewed)

My estimate of 1 Million as "population with infection who does not know about the infection" for the USA is not scientific at all. I just made a guess, based on the infections in the US in the last 7 days, which I multiplied by about 3. Regardless of that estimate, the point is that testing turns the picture around and will make the proposal to test everyone create confidence and economic value to many more passengers and to many more governments then without testing.
The test sensitivity of 97% (to 98%) is what the IATA CEO used in his press brief.


Without testing: Risk for passengers and countries seems high and unattractive.





With testing: The risk becomes a LOT more bearable. Passengers feel safe. Governments feel that the economic gain by far outweighs the risk of importing a low number of cases.
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Old Sep 27, 20, 9:02 am
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LoungeLizzard's analysis is deeply probative. Could go further....and look at chance of infected persons coming across the borders from France and Italy. Since those numbers are in the tens of thousands every single work day, it would seem rather obvious that the risk from those workers is hugely higher than incoming flights with testing of passengers done prior to departure. Is anyone from IATA or SWISS doing this kind of analysis and is any of this being presented to the Swiss governmental authorities??????? And for that matter, is anyone on the US side seeing this as the US border should be similarly opened up for arriving Europeans.
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