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When does 72 hour COVID 19 test time start on connecting flights from US to Europe

Entry to Portugal requires a negative COVID Test within 72 hours prior to boarding. We have a 3:50pm flight leaving Los Angeles for Lisbon with a connection through Paris. This is an overnight flight arriving the next day. Does anyone know or have firsthand experience on when the 72 hour clock starts or should start? Is it on departure from Los Angeles or departure from Paris? Entry to France is with proof of vaccine, which we have, entry to Portugal is via negative PCR test. We are flying Air France if that makes a difference with anyone’s experience.

Posted by
424 posts

Just count 72 hours backwards from the time you arrive in Lisbon. Anytime within that period will work, so you could be tested right at the 72 hour mark or 30 minutes before arriving if that was possible. The keyword is within.

Posted by
372 posts

Okay, so here's a twist. If I test on Sunday at 10am Pacific time, that's actually 7pm on Sunday in Zagreb. So I should be "getting" more than 72 hours on my test. (my concern is my flight ends in Zagreb, but I have to continue the next day into Slovenia). Just making myself crazy trying to count the hours, ha ha ha.

Posted by
9699 posts

I cannot speak to Portugal, but from my research on the UK, which also has a pre-arrival test requirement, it is based on your departure. Here is the government's wording.

You must take the test in the 3 days before the service on which you will arrive in England departs. For example, if you travel directly to England on Friday, you can take the test on or after Tuesday and will need to have the negative result available before boarding on Friday.

We depart on a Monday at 19:45 PM. We are having our PCR test on Saturday at 11AM. That give us a small cushion (about 15 hours) if someone insists on 72 hours versus 3 days or the flight is delayed.

Posted by
505 posts

All I can add is that it is so nerve wracking trying to figure it out. We are trying to determine the same thing for a trip in August.

Posted by
6821 posts

I just took my test today August 1 at the airport for a flight August 3. I could have taken as early as July 31 if that helps. Take as early as you can so you can relax the last 2 days of your vacation as I was having dreams and weird feelings (that was from dehydration) that I had caught Covid. It is a big responsibility.

Posted by
22 posts

I believe it would be the departure from Paris since that is the portion of the flight to Portugal. We are also flying to Portugal with a connection through Canada. I'm figuring out that the 72 hours prior to departure is 72 hours prior to the departure from Canada in our case. Makes it a bit tighter turnaround time when you will need the results if taking a PCR test. We will be testing using a NAAT test (from Walgreens) which has a 24 hour turnaround time in order to make this all work for us.

Posted by
6366 posts

Since you are going to Portugal, it only matters what Portugal’s rules are. Each country is treating this differently, so what anybody experienced going anywhere but Portugal doesn’t matter. You need to look up Portugal’s official rules.

Posted by
18 posts

Just an FYI... a family member went to check in at Emirates today at SFO and was told that her negative PCR text was not acceptable for boarding because it was a rapid test. So she went down the hall where they were testing at the airport and got another PCR test (also rapid) for $275 but this was acceptable because "rapid" was not written on the paper.