Skip to content

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
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.

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.

Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter for more airline and airport-specific news!

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.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

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

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

BEST FOR DINING AND GROCERY REWARDS
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
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site

Rewards

3 - 4X points
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Intro offer

Earn 60,000 points
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.

Annual Fee

$250

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
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.

Why We Chose It

There’s a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It’s been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you’re hitting the skies soon, you’ll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there’s no reason that the foodie shouldn’t add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x).
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel.
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months.

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories.
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits.
  • Few travel perks and protections.
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
BEST FOR DINING AND GROCERY REWARDS
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

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.

    Earn 60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • 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.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There’s a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It’s been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you’re hitting the skies soon, you’ll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there’s no reason that the foodie shouldn’t add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x).
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel.
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months.

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories.
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits.
  • Few travel perks and protections.