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Help with Day 2 COVID test results as well as “fit to fly” test for return.

My wife and 12 year old daughter will be arriving in London on Nov. 20 and will fly back to Chicago on Nov. 27. We are all fully vaccinated.

  1. I understand the need to book and pay for the day 2 test as well the PLF requirement. However, I can find no guidance on any requirement to communicate day 2 test results anywhere or to anyone. If we are negative, does this need to be logged anywhere?
  2. Looks like we will be required to take a PCR or antigen test within three days of our flight back to the US to show a negative result. Anyone have any experience with this while in London? We are staying in Marylebone and looking for any guidance or recommendations on how to best get that done.
Posted by
15705 posts

1) You don't have to do anything. The testing lab will report to the government.

2) There are plenty of places in London to get tested. Boots, the big national pharmacy chain offers tests. Ask at your hotel for the nearest location or testing center.

If you go to Boots.com, find its testing page and see where the closest pharmacy is located.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks for the info. We were planning on completing a self administered home test at our hotel from Chronomics as they are government approved. I assumed this test would be similar to the OTC tests we have bought from CVS. If we do that, how would the lab at Chronomics, or anyone else, know our results?

Posted by
8648 posts

If it is like the ones here in the United States, You receive an email with a certificate with the official test results and a QR code after a proctored home antigen test.

Posted by
3 posts

Ok. We were able to purchase an Abbot antigen self test from CVS that provides results at home in 15 minutes. Getting the idea that the UK tests require us to send our samples back to a lab for testing.

Posted by
8648 posts

The test that the UK is monitoring is the day 2 test. That has to be done by one of their approved providers.
The return to the United States test has to be done by an approved provider by US standards.

Your BinaxNOW Covid 19 test that you bought at CVC will work for the return to the US if (pay attention here) it is one of the proctored tests over the internet. When you look at your box it will have RX only in the lower left corner and a covering slide that says "Do Not Open until instructed to do so" if it is one of the proctored tests. It is very easy to get the two tests (the at home and the proctored at home) mixed up if you are not careful and only one of them is getting you back into the US.

Posted by
277 posts

I've got a similar question - we're flying to London in April, spending a night (Day 0) near Paddington to kick jet lag and get British fish-and-chips, then flying on to Barcelona the next day (Day 1) for a cruise. It seems like the testing thing is too much of a hassle so we might just catch a connection at Heathrow and forget about the night in London. (If you connect to another flight without leaving the airport, you don't have to be tested.)

We won't be in London on "Day 2" but we can't figure out if we would still need to book a "Day 2 test" just to get out of Heathrow.

That's too far away to predict what the April rules will be, though.

Posted by
237 posts

For future reference (for the OP or anyone else who finds it useful), there’s a testing centre on virtually every block in Marylebone (and many throughout London), and they provide quick results reliably. The testing providers are used to having to meet timing requirements for travel. I tend to go to The Regenerative Clinic on Thayer Street as it’s right around the corner from my flat, but there are a multitude of options and their websites generally provide pretty clear guidance on what to book for which travel requirement. There is also a list on the UK government’s website of approved test providers. My experience and that of friends and family having to get tested while in the US prior to travel has been rather confusing with not a lot of clear information available about whether tests and results certificates will (a) arrive on time and (b) meet the requirements for entry in the destination country; by contrast, I have found it extremely straightforward in the UK (probably a byproduct of having to adapt to so many testing requirements for travel). So don’t fear the testing requirements, they really aren’t that bad to navigate! Cost of course is another matter, though it’s improving.

In terms of how the government knows the results of your Day 2 test, when you fill in your passenger locator form which goes to the government, you will provide your registration number for your testing appointment and then the test provider will report the results associated with that number to the government. Going back to the US, my experience and that of friends and family has been that the airline is the only checker for the test - no one asked me for it at passport control and it was not recorded/provided to the government in any other way.

FYI, most airlines now have it built into their online check in process to ask for a test/vaccine information to be uploaded, so it will be straightforward.

Feel free to DM me for any Marylebone recommendations!

Posted by
15705 posts

I'm still trying to get my head around "real fish and chips" near Paddington.😄

Posted by
33336 posts

Perhaps it is worth emphasising that there is a change in attitude now about the Day 2 tests.

When we had to test before travel to England, then a day 2 PCR test then a day 8 PCR test (with an optional day 5 early release test), referring to it as the day 2 test made sense.

Now it is the only test left for vaccinated arrival in England from non-red list countries, and it has been reduced from a required PCR test to a required test which may be either a LFT (Lateral Flow Test) which you may know as an antigen test or a PCR.

While the deadline for taking this test is still 2 days, the NHS and government really don't want you waiting until day 2 unless you need to.

Because it is the only test now, they want you to test as soon as possible, and if you test positive they will provide a PCR for you.

They would like you to take it before you get home or when you get home (your flat or hotel room) - they are encouraging airport tests on arrival.

The LFT cassettes are not posted back for analysis like the PCR must be, you do it on your own, you get the result in about 15 minutes, send the lab a photo of the cassette result, and they validate and send you a certificate by email. The reference number provided by the lab must appear on your Passenger Locator Form (PLF).

The proctored tests to fly to the US are more complicated.

Posted by
143 posts

I have a related question. We fly overnight from Seattle to Heathrow and the day we land is Day 0 correct? We then are spending the night an airport hotel. We leave from Heathrow the next day for Dubrovnik which would be Day 1 correct?. Does this scenario (per today's requirements) avoid the need for a Day 2 test?

Posted by
15705 posts

Jon.....No, you still have to book and pay for it. You just don't have to take it.

Posted by
143 posts

So the second day we are there is Day 2? Thisis very confusing

Posted by
143 posts

Carol-So based on that I am leaving the UK on Day 1 so there is no need for scheduling Day 2 testing correct?

Posted by
33336 posts

If you don't you won't get in.

Try it. Just be prepared for the consequences.

Posted by
143 posts

I am not trying to get out of doing anything. Just want to know what I need to do

Posted by
8648 posts

My understanding is that you still need to schedule a test for day two in order to enter the country even if you don't expect to be there that long. Some have suggested that when you leave the country on day 1, it is possible to then cancel that test. However, I don't know all the ins and outs and I would not want to suggest anything opposite of what UK requires.

I am fairly confident that you must have an appointment scheduled. I am not confident that you need to keep the appointment if you have already left the country.

Posted by
1 posts

So I fly out from the US on a Thursday in Nov. I have to have ordered a test before I board my plane? Is it easy enough to order it two or three days early from the flight and have it delivered to the hotel? Do you have to notify the hotel? I don't mind going to a location to be tested but not sure where a close one is from the hotel... Clemont charring cross. Any advice?

Posted by
8881 posts

I arrive in London from the US next week.

Fully vaccinated. Need to fill out my PLF on the www.gov.uk. Pre paid for a test to be delivered to where I’m staying. That information is needed on the PLF.

I’ll post what my experience is as far as checkin, (overnight flight via Virgin Atlantic LAX to LHR) and immigration.

Posted by
6817 posts

We are going to book our day 2 for the day we arrive, but later in the day after we check in to the hotel. We intend to go through the lab that offers the tests at Heathrow, but take it at the Paddington Station location.

Posted by
2 posts

Can someone explain to me what would happen if a person were to fail the LFT and a PCR test? I understand recent changes to quarantine rules that indicate, in some cases, quarantine would not be necessary. But this testing regime seems a lot like gambling on whether one can leave the country when it is time to fly home.

Posted by
5428 posts

Can someone explain to me what would happen if a person were to fail the LFT and a PCR test? I understand recent changes to quarantine rules that indicate, in some cases, quarantine would not be necessary. But this testing regime seems a lot like gambling on whether one can leave the country when it is time to fly home.

If you were to fail the test (both) then you would not be allowed to fly, both the government and airline rules. Therefore you would have to quarantine at your own expense. The rules state that if testing positive then you have to quarantine for 10 days however if your intended stay within the UK would be less than 10 days then you have to follow the guidance of the country you're flying to. In order to fly back to the US you would need to provide proof of a negative test which means that potentially you may need to quarantine in the UK for the whole 10 days or longer until you're no longer testing positive for Covid-19.

Posted by
169 posts

I just returned to Canada from the UK and Croatia before that.
You have to enter a booking reference number on both UK and Canada passenger locator forms to show you have a plan to get tested for Covid. No numbers, no completed form, no form, no entry.
I took two PCR tests in the UK on day 2 (arrival day is day 0 as noted above), one for my day 2 UK test and one fit to fly for Canada two days later as I arrived in the UK Saturday and left Wednesday.
Boots was excellent for my fit to fly to Canada PCR test - replaced the next day by lateral flow, but who cares - and reported inside 20 hours. The certificate could be printed off my laptop or loaded on my phone. I highly recommend Boots, locate one and book online. Take your passport to your appointment, it is how they register each booking, and the number they give you - a piece of paper helps.
Randox, one of these do it yourself kits, was harder as no local drop box and it took them days to report back, but I met the UK rules.
On arrival in Vancouver I had to present my negative Covid test certificate, as I had to in Heathrow to check in and fly out.
By the way, I saw at least one person stuck trying to find all the forms on his phone. Paper copies have their place still. The whole line has to wait if one person cannot find things on their phone...(boarding pass, vaccination proof, test results, passenger locator form...)
Because all the labs are linked, and you gave your email/phone number on the forms, you will be sent your results. I was also sent an email by Canada Health reminding me of all the rules on my arrival. Phew.

Posted by
1 posts

Buyer Beware on Rapid Antigen Test Kits

We returned to the US on Nov 3. Here was our experience with the 72 hour Covid Test before our US return flight. We purchased 2 Rapid Antigen test kits from "Official Rapid Tests". Their website says "We've helped thousands fly to 74 countries across the globe Including France, Germany, Italy, the United States, Cyprus, Dubai, South Africa, India, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Spain, and Greece." This provider is on the UK government approved test list. The test kits were delivered promptly via mail. It is a nasal swap rapid antigen test. We took the test 3 days before our flight and got negative results quickly. We uploaded the test report to the airline portal and assumed all was good.

A day before our flight, we found out our test reports were rejected without explanation. After an hour of 'chatting' with the airline, we determined why they were rejected.

In both of our test reports the 'Type of Test' field was blank. The US requires that the test type (Antigen) is included in the test report. The test kit said it was an Antigen test, so we hoped/assumed 'Official Rapid Tests' would reissue new test reports with the word 'Antigen' test listed on the report. There is no office location, phone number or chat, only email. ​They did reply to our email request, but they refused to add that information to the test report. Their response was merely, "it clearly states it is a negative Covid 19 test". Maybe that is fine for entry to some countries, but not for the US. We had multiple emails back and forth, but they would not add this required information. Without the specific type of test listed on the report, the US rejected the test report.

We still can't figure out why they refused to add that information to the test report. It said right on the box that it was an Antigen test.

We ended up spending our last day in London looking for a different antigen test. We didn't plan on a stress filled final day wondering if we were going to be able to get on our plane the next day. We ended up going to Boots and for 30 pounds, we got a valid rapid Antigen nasal test. At the Boots site you have to pay for the kit before you can even search for Boots store locations to see if there are any available appointments and to set up an appointment. Fortunately we were in London, and after about 5-6 searches of the nearest Boots locations that were booked up, we found a store (426 Strand, near Trafalgar Square) where we could book a same day appointment. That store/pharmacy was great! We highly recommend that store!