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New York's LaGuardia Airport now offers COVID testing — and it's free

Oct. 29, 2020
4 min read
New York's LaGuardia Airport now offers COVID testing — and it's free
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COVID testing plays an important role in restarting the travel industry.

However, in many parts of the country, getting a fast, reliable and affordable COVID test remains a challenge. That's no longer the case if you're traveling through New York's LaGuardia Airport.

The Port Authority along with NYC Health and Hospitals and the New York Tracing Corps inaugurated a new testing facility at LGA on Wednesday (Oct. 28).

"The latest addition to our suite of safety-related initiatives is the testing center behind me," Rick Cotton, executive director of the Port Authority, said at a press conference on Wednesday. "We are grateful to our partners who've helped us put this together."

You'll find it located on the first floor of the Terminal B parking garage, just as you exit the elevator or stairs. Testing is available to everyone — both arriving and departing passengers, as well as employees and local residents. The center is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. with no appointment necessary.

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The center is outfitted with six mobile trailers with two windows: one for registration and the other for conducting the test itself. Right now, the facility is operating at about 25% of capacity, with roughly 100 people getting tested each day. The test conducted is a PCR nasal swab, with results expected within three to five days.

But the best part? Testing is completely free, even if you don't have insurance.

"Testing gives us the line of sight to fight the coronavirus. We do more testing in New York City than in some countries. And now at LaGuardia, we have free and easily accessible testing from the moment you land," Cotton added.

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Terminal B is the latest and greatest facility at LGA and is home to Air Canada, American, Southwest and United. If you're flying on another carrier, you'll have to make your way to Terminal B to get tested.

Still, all three major NYC-area airports — JFK, LaGuardia and Newark — now have COVID testing facilities.

XpresCheck, a fully owned subsidiary of XpresSpa, first opened a COVID-19 testing center in JFK's Terminal 4 on June 29. Adam's Health Services offers testing in Terminal 1 at JFK.

XpresCheck also opened a COVID-19 testing center in Newark’s Terminal B on Aug. 20. The center first launched in a pilot phase for airport employees only before expanding to passengers on Sept. 9.

While both JFK and Newark offer COVID testing, LGA's facility is the only one that's completely free for everyone.

Since March, airlines and airports have implemented a full suite of health-focused enhancements aimed at making travel as safe as it can be. In the New York metro area, the Port Authority has implemented mask requirements, touchless check-in and plexiglass shields, socially distanced security lines, contactless food ordering and more.

Just yesterday, the Port Authority announced that travelers who fail to wear a face covering in its facilities will be subject to a $50 fine beginning Monday, Nov. 2. Though the Port Authority aims for voluntary compliance, enforcement is being ramped up with the new civil penalty.

As states and countries look to safely reopen, many are relying on negative coronavirus tests to admit travelers. On Oct. 15, Hawaii reopened to tourists sans quarantine — if you bring a negative test result from within 72 hours of departure for the islands.

Even with expanded testing, New York still has one of the strictest quarantine requirements. For travelers arriving from one of the 45 designated high-risk states, travelers are expected to quarantine for 14 days from the date of arrival — even if you've tested negative for the virus after your travels.

Fortunately, "New York State is actively considering testing in lieu of a quarantine," Cotton said. He did warn that "it's ultimately the state's decision though."

All photos by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

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  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
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Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
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  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

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  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023