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Tips for required COVID testing when returning to US

We have a 9:30 am departure on Swiss airlines from Zurich when we return back to the US. What is the best way to get the required COVID testing completed to re-enter the US? Is it best to do at the airport (is it expensive there)? Or possibly a virtual proctored test bought prior to our departure for the trip? If we complete the test at the Zurich airport, how much time should we allot for the testing and security, etc. prior to the 9:30 am departure. We will be coming from Lucerne that morning and it looks like it will take about 50 minutes for travel to Zurich so it seems we will be in for an early morning! Also, what train station is best to arrive at the Zurich airport? It's not quite clear to me on the schedule as it seems to possibly list a hotel near the airport. Thanks!

Posted by
1469 posts

The current US requirement is for a negative Covid test done the day ( any time of the day) before your flight up to the time of your flight. The Binaxnow Antigen proctored test is the way I would do it for your trip as you can pick up a test in the US for $30 or so and download the NAVICA App prior to leaving the US for Switzerland so you can have the test authenticated.
Have a great trip!

Posted by
643 posts

The test kit and procedure recommended above is quick, efficient and inexpensive. It can be done at your convenience. I used it five weeks ago. I could not have been happier. Will use it again when I travel in a few weeks.

Posted by
2782 posts

When I was in Switzerland last Sept, I did the proctored home test in my hotel in Lucerne. It was super easy and convenient.

The train station inside the airport is Zürich Flughafen. The train station in the old town is Zurich HB (Hauptbahnhof). From Lucerne, to keep things easy, pick one of the train routes that takes you directly to the airport (Zürich Flughafen) with no transfers at the HB train station.

Posted by
2099 posts

The BinaxNow travel test kits are not available for just $20 or so. Do not buy the one sold at drugstores because they are not for travel and do cost around $ 20 depending on where you buy one.

Posted by
121 posts

Word is that the US return test requirement will be history after Memorial Day. Let’s keep our fingers crossed. :-)

Posted by
2468 posts

I have been researching other options besides the Binax test mentioned above, and this is a link recommended by Delta airlines provides some other options for other (but not all) home tests that can be used with a separately purchased proctored appointment to meet the return requirements. I'm planning to use one of these on my trip in June. And though I appreciate Emily's wishful thinking about the testing requirement going away by a specific date, without an official statement from CDC, it is simply untrue at this time. If your trip is soon, prepare to follow current guidelines.

Posted by
2782 posts

Word is that the US return test requirement will be history after
Memorial Day.

If you have a link to an official source for this, we'd love to see it.

Posted by
8538 posts

Whether you choose to do a proctored at home test or visit a testing center, do this testing on the day before your departure. Advantages are one less thing to worry about and if you have a positive test, you have more time to contact airlines, etc.

Posted by
19 posts

Thanks for all the replies. It sounds like purchasing the virtual proctored test is the way to go. It would be great if the requirement is dropped on Memorial Day but leaving June 2, I can't really wait to purchase them to see if that really happens. Appreciate it!

Posted by
121 posts

I never would suggest not to be prepared for the test prior to returning home; that definitely would be foolish. I’m just saying “let’s hope” it’s dropped. The Memorial Day prediction, and it is a prediction, comes from travel expert Peter Greenberg. He’s right more often than wrong. I’m heading out 31 May and will be prepared to test, if still necessary, upon my return late June. And you too should be prepared.

Posted by
1469 posts

I agree with Emily on the timing of the end of the US Covid test requirement for Americans flying home coming shortly after Memorial Day.
The President of Delta Airlines, Glenn Hauenstein, said four weeks ago that, based on feedback he was getting from inside the government, the test requirement would be ending soon. Delta’s chief legal officer, Peter Carter, confirmed this saying that indications from contacts inside the government were the testing requirement “will be phased out in the near future.”

While that phrase is not specific, last week more than 260 airlines and travel-related companies lobbied the White House to end the Covid testing requirement of air travelers. A poll was cited that showed up to 50% of Americans will not fly internationally as long as it is possible that they might not be able to return home to the US on their scheduled flight.
With European countries such as Denmark, Ireland and Switzerland ending all Covid-related entry requirements, the US cannot be far behind.

Posted by
2764 posts

Does this mean 50% of Americans are willing to get on a plane with Covid to give it to you because they aren’t going to test and be responsible unless required too.