British Airways trialling ‘game-changer’ COVID-19 test with results in 25 seconds

May 13, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

British Airways is hoping to greatly reduce the time spent waiting for COVID-19 test results for travel.

While some private testing results can take 48 hours or more, British Airways announced on Thursday it will be the first airline in the world to conduct the Pelican ultra-rapid COVID-19 antigen tests that deliver results within just 25 seconds.

Sign up to receive the daily TPG newsletter for more travel news!

The test is a non-invasive saliva test that delivers what the manufacturer calls “PCR-like accuracy” of 98% sensitivity and 100% specificity in symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals.

Related: Spain removes COVID-19 test requirement for British travellers from 20 May

The trial will initially be limited to the airline’s flight and cabin crew. British Airways will compare the test results of this ultra-rapid test against its standard test results. Though if the trial is successful, BA CEO Sean Doyle hopes to include this as an option for passengers who require a negative test result for travel.

Antigen tests are not considered to be as reliable as PCR tests, though they are usually much cheaper, easier to obtain and deliver results more quickly.

Critically, the U.K. government has advised that it will accept antigen/lateral flow test results, such as these, to satisfy the requirement of a negative COVID-19 test to enter the U.K. This is provided the test meets performance standards of greater than 97% specificity, greater than 80% sensitivity at viral loads above 100,000 copies/ml, which this Pelican test meets.

Related: What kind of COVID-19 test will I need to travel and how much will it cost?

If the trial is successful, it could be a game-changer for travellers who need a COVID-19 test to return to the U.K. Being able to get a test result and certification to fly within 25 seconds could prove to be a massive step towards the resumption of travel. Of note, even the green list countries in the U.K.’s traffic light system require two COVID-19 tests: one prior to departure and one within two days of arriving back in the U.K.

Featured image by VioletaStoimenova/Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.