All you need to know about fit to fly covid travel testing
Updated: Feb 22
Many countries and some airlines are now making it mandatory for travellers to present a covid-19 fit to fly test certificate prior to departure. Often this is required within a narrow time window such as within 72 hours to 96 hours of departure.
This process can be very stressful for people needing to travel and adds a new element of uncertainty and unfamiliarity to international travel.
What is a covid-19 fit to fly certificate?
A fit to fly certificate requires travellers to do a Covid-19 fit to fly test in order to issue a certificate that says that you are negative of Covid-19 in the hours prior to your departure or arrival.
The fit to fly certificate is a medical document, signed by a registered doctor to state that you "covid free" and fit to fly on this basis.
What type of covid test do I need to do to travel?
The coronavirus test that is most often required is an RT-PCR antigen swab test which tells you at the time doing the test whether you are positive or negative of covid-19. The test involves putting a swab (similar to a cotton bud) to the back of the throat and then the nose. The test does not hurt but can be a bit uncomfortable. It does not take more than 5-10 minutes in total. The test performed at One5 Health is the RT-PCR test, conducted by our partner laboratory which is UKAS ISO 15189 accredited.
There are very few countries that also require you to a blood antibody test in addition to the RT-PCR test. This is not a finger prick test but a full blood test, usually taken from the inside of the elbow. This does not tell you if you currently have the virus but instead if you have previously had it and built up some level of immunity. Mind you, a negative test does not tell you that have not had the virus before, it just tells you that you do not have antibodies against covid-19 at the time of the test.
How long does it take to get results for my covid test?
At One5 Health we have an excellent track record of delivering results in time for everyone single one of our users so far. We are proud to report (and wish to maintain) our 100% record of delivering results in time. Our standard turnaround time is 24-48 hours for this test with a vast majority of results coming through the following day after the test is conducted.
Why is a covid fit to fly test important?
With rising cases of Covid-19 again in the UK and internationally combined with international travelling opening up once again, we now see a potentially dangerous combination for further spread of the virus not just to those who might be on the flight with you but also those who you come into contact within your travel destination.
By screening people for Covid-19 prior to getting on their flight this can significantly reduce the risk of spread of the infection and is a necessary preventative healthcare step in the current climate.
As we now know there is a small percentage of the population who are asymptomatic carriers of the virus, meaning they may have no symptoms at all but will test positive on the PCR swab test. These people carrying the virus onto a flight have the potential to infect 100s of other people who may well be in a more vulnerable category of developing more severe complications if they were to pick up the Covid-19 virus.
How do I get a Covid Fit to Fly Test certificate?
At One5 Health the process is very simple and purposely designed to be as stress-free as possible. We have two clinic locations both based in central London. You just need to book an appointment online for a covid test. You can either come into our clinic to have the test done or we can send you a home test you to self administer. From the point at which the sample reaches the lab, it will take 24-48 hours to come back, and we will issue your medical documents to you by email as soon as they are available and have been processed.
If you are not sure when is the best time to do you test we are happy to guide on this as well. We have built up a huge knowledge base of international travel requirements to various different countries around the world, and we would be happy to advise you.
What’s important the timing of the covid test or the time of the results?
We get asked this question almost daily. Medically the timing of the test is the only important time. Whilst many providers are doing tests much earlier than the time frame and simple issuing the certificate within the required 72 or 96 hours, we do not do this.
We will only do the test within the timeframe stipulated and also obtain results within this same time frame. We are able to do this because we have quick turnaround times on our tests.
This is of course the safest way to ensure you have been tested as close as possible to your flight and therefore has the highest chance of reducing the risk of spread of the virus.
For more information on covid testing for travel please do not hesitate to contact us by phone, email or webchat.
Our Covid-19 PCR Travel Tests are priced at £200 including all travel documents.
Book online at https://www.one5.health/fit-to-fly-certificate