Oakland Airport now selling COVID-19 tests in vending machines
Getting a COVID-19 test before traveling has proved to be a hassle, but one airport is betting that by offering COVID-19 tests in vending machines, it can help passengers looking for a convenient post-travel testing option.
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Oakland International Airport (OAK) says it's the first U.S. airport to offer vending machine COVID-19 tests and uses contactless kiosks located in both airport terminals. The test kits, which range between $130 and $150, were designed by Wellness 4 Humanity, while the vending machines were produced by Swyft.
“As one of the first airports to offer on-site rapid COVID testing, we are now providing even more testing options for travelers,” said Bryant L. Francis, Port of Oakland aviation director, said in a statement. “We still urge travelers to make sure they are current on any quarantines and regulations at their destinations.”
Unfortunately, if you're heading somewhere that requires results upon arrival, this option won't work for you as results take 24-48 hours to process. Additionally, for destinations such as Hawaii, it's important to know what kind of test a destination requires -- as the state only accepts PCR tests from a specific list of testing providers.
Related: How rapid COVID-19 testing can help travelers
As we've reported in the past, finding a reliable place to get a PCR COVID-19 test for travel with quick results is tough. In some parts of the country, it could still border on impossible. However, a growing number of U.S. airports now offer COVID-19 testing to all passengers or travelers on specific flights or heading to specific destinations.
Some current airport testing centers available within the U.S. include Anchorage International Airport, Dallas – Fort Worth International Airport, and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
XpresCheck is currently open to passengers in the New York City area at Newark-EWR and New York-JFK, as well as Boston (BOS), Denver (DEN) and Arizona’s Phoenix Sky Harbor International (PHX). PCR tests are available by appointment or potentially via walk-up; costs vary. Many locations also provide rapid tests, but the Denver location is after security and open to ticket-holders.
Getting a negative COVID-19 test is likely to be a staple of pandemic (and even post-pandemic) travel — whether you're coming or going.
All international arrivals into the U.S. are now required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test. The Biden administration is also “actively looking” at mandating negative tests for domestic travel.