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Covid testing before flying from Zurich

I'll be returning from Zurich to San Francisco Sept 4th and will need a covid test prior to boarding. I was planning to go from Lucerne directly to the airport. Does anyone know how to get a same day antigen test in Lucern, costs, or used a valid test kit that they brought to on their trip?

Posted by
755 posts

If you Google Zurich Airport Covid Test you will find the information. It tells where the site is located, cost and timing. Good luck.

Posted by
373 posts

If you prefer a test in Switzerland and not the home/self test option, as Jazz suggested, if you are staying in Lucerne, it makes more sense to get the test done in Lucerne. You don’t have to get tested at the airport. It would be more expensive and probably busier there. There are multiple options at the Lucerne train station alone.

I would suggested not waiting until the day of your flight to get tested. If the worst happens and you get a positive test result, you want to make sure you have enough time to confirm that rapid antigen test result with a PCR test. The quicker you need those PCR results, the more you will pay.

The test to return to the US can be 3 days before your departure. Note: The US goes by days not time. So, if you depart on Sept. 4th, you can test as early as Sept. 1 at any time. Here is an example from the CDC website on the time frame:

Why does the Order specify 3 days rather than 72 hours? What is
considered 3 days? The 3-day period is the 3 days before the flight’s
departure. The Order uses a 3-day timeframe instead of 72 hours to
provide more flexibility to the traveler. By using a 3-day window,
test validity does not depend on the time of the flight or the time of
day that the test was administered. For example, if a passenger’s
flight is at 1pm on a Friday, the passenger could board with a
negative test that was taken any time on the prior Tuesday or after.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/testing-international-air-travelers.html#general

You can find all the covid info. specific to Lucerne here:

https://gesundheit.lu.ch/themen/Humanmedizin/Infektionskrankheiten/Informationen_Coronavirus

Posted by
6823 posts

To echo the above take the test as earliest as possible 72 hours before in Lucerne
that way you can relax. I just got my negative results today August 1 for a flight out August 3. As it is a big responsibility, before that I was having weird dreams and feelings (that went a way after I drank Gatorade as I was dehydrated from all the hiking the sun at high altitudes) that I had caught Covid.

Posted by
246 posts

Jazz: Hooray for your negative test result. I can only imagine the relief you must feel to have that report in hand. What test did you take?
We are a month away from leaving, but already I'm thinking about having to test before returning to the US. We will be in Luzern prior to flying home from Zurich, so I was wondering, did you book for an appointment on-line? If so, how many days in advance did you book? I just looked at the sites in Luzern, and most of the locations did not have on-line booking. We will be staying near the train station.
Thanks, Carol

Posted by
6823 posts

I went to the airport in Florence, they have a tent out front run by Misrecordia. United requires an antigen test. There was no line no appointment needed. The doctor stuck the device in both nostrils and you get results in 15 to 30 minutes. It cost 35 euros card . I took a picture of the document signed by the doctor and uploaded the test results to the United Airlines ap. Also the Red Cross has a tent next to Florence train station if you have patience you can get the same test for free. But the Red Cross only conducts a set number a day. So arriving by 10 am is too late long line. Luzern should have similar set up.

Posted by
64 posts

I'm not sure about Lucern, but there is testing at the Zurich airport should all else fail. It is a walk-in option at check-in 2, level 1 of the airport and costs (according to online sites) CHF 195 for the PCR (available within 5 hours) or CHF 80 for the rapid antigen (15-20 minutes for results)

However, like someone else pointed out, you really should obtain the test prior to the day of flight so if getting to Zurich isn't an option, here's something that might help!
https://www.myswitzerland.com/en-us/planning/about-switzerland/covid-pcr-test/

Good luck and let us know how it goes! (I'm traveling - hopefully - in September!

Posted by
21 posts

Hello,
I'm hoping someone can help me figure out what to do. I will be staying in Lauterbrunnen from Sept 3-6. My flight out of Zurich is at 2:05pm on Sept 6. I looked for testing availability in Interlaken for Sept 3 (there are no weekend appointments). There are no tests in Interlaken after 2pm on Sept 3, so I have no way of getting a test within the 72hr window.

It seems my only choice will be to get a rapid antigen test at the Zurich airport before my flight. I'd really rather not do that, so are there any options I'm missing? I thought I read that pharmacies offer rapid tests, but I was told Lauterbrunnen doesn't have a pharmacy. I haven't found a way to search for pharmacies with tests.

I appreciate any advice. Thank you!

Posted by
373 posts

There are no tests in Interlaken after 2pm on Sept 3, so I have no way
of getting a test within the 72hr window.

The test time to return to the US is 3 days, not 72 hours. So cronmoax, you can get your test at any time on Sept. 3rd.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/testing-international-air-travelers.html

You also have the option of taking a home test over video. This test, which I will be using, meets the CDC requirements:

https://www.emed.com/products/covid-at-home-testkit-six-pack?hsLang=en

Posted by
21 posts

Sorry, I should have noted that I won't be able to get to Interlaken in the morning (I'll be on a train), so a morning test isn't possible.

Good to know about the home test over video.

Posted by
5894 posts

Anybody who has done the home test online know if the time difference is an issue?

Posted by
373 posts

Hi Stan, not speaking from personal experience, but the test is available 24 hours a day over the NAVICA app.

Posted by
11 posts

There are several pharmacies in Interlaken. Portmann Pharmacy has COVID tests in the mornings and afternoons and on Saturdays as well.
They don't make advance appointments, but you can make a same-day reservation through an app. If you can't snag a spot on Friday or Saturday, then Zurich airport could be a backup.
https://www.portmann.ch/covid-test-apoteke-portmann-interlaken
(scroll down for English)

Posted by
22 posts

Has anyone used the antigen test bought online to take with them on their trip to use before they fly back to the United States or another country? If so, which brand did you use and how did it go?

Posted by
21 posts

@KrakenNapper Thank you, that will be a great option!

@susandealy See post from Carrie about about the at-home test.

Posted by
496 posts

Susan: check if your airline accepts the take-home self-test. While US airlines accept it, European airlines may not.

Posted by
21 posts

@Barkinpark Very good advice.

Yesterday I was rejoicing about doing a self test for my trip home. Today, however, I checked Icelandair's site, which I'm taking for one leg of the flight:
"Do you need to provide a negative test result? Yes. From July 27, you must show a negative test (PCR or rapid antigen) before boarding an aircraft to Iceland, taken within 72 hours of departure. Self-tests are not accepted. See information under Do I need a negative COVID-19 test to board a flight to Iceland?"

What a pain this all is. I truly hope it's worth it!

Posted by
373 posts

cronmoax, the home tests are approved for your test to get back into the US. So, they are not necessarily an option for testing requirements for other countries. If you have a connecting flight, you have to check the requirements for any other country you enter.

You're doing the right thing by researching and figuring all this out ahead of time. So, hopefully it will all be worth the added work and you will have a great trip.

Posted by
130 posts

Before our trip we purchased the self-administered COVID test kit from Abbot/Navica. The downside of that was they only sell 6 tests for $150.00 when we only needed two. You are watched via webcam while you take the test but it worked out really well. Only took 20 minutes and they send you a certificate which United Airlines accepted.

Posted by
22 posts

According to their website on TAP Portugal airlines, Portugal does not accept self administered Covid antigen test. This forces me to get tested in Zürich or Lucerne before I get on the airplane because I have a 20 hr layover at Lisbon airport before heading on to San Francisco. The test has to be done within 48 hours of leaving on the plane. Bummer

Posted by
21 posts

Hi everyone,
I just got info from Icelandair about using a self test like this one:
https://www.emed.com/products/covid-at-home-testkit-six-pack?hsLang=en

"You can find a link on our website to the CDC in the US where you can see the US Government requirements to enter the country. There is also information of the types of test are accepted.
https://www.icelandair.com/blog/flights-to-usa/

Type of test: For details of the tests that are accepted to enter the USA (including some rapid tests and self-tests or home tests), see the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/testing-international-air-travelers.html

If it fulfills the requirements from the CDC, Icelandair will accept as we need to follow their guidelines."

So, looks like they will indeed accept a self test (their website says otherwise). Good to know if you're laying over there.