Covid test costs exposed as travel industry issues warning to Boris Johnson – analysis

Testing 'more effective than double jabs' says Starmer

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The Government’s approved testing suppliers can charge hefty prices for the all-important PCR test – with some companies charging almost £600 for the privilege of finding out whether you have Covid or not. Travelling to and from anywhere in the world requires testing before leaving and entering the UK.

Holidaymakers are required to test themselves for COVID-19 on day two and day eight of their arrival back into the UK – and almost all destinations require proof of a negative test or vaccination before flying.

While the steps are necessary for helping to hamper the spread of Covid, UK-based travellers are required to source their own private test to travel – and cannot use the NHS testing service to get clearance to fly.

The Department for Transport confirmed on Wednesday that international cruise holidays will be able to resume from August 2, and that US and EU travellers will be able to visit the UK without the need to quarantine.

The world is slowly but surely beginning to open up, with travel between most EU countries and the UK now allowed; a move lauded by the travel industry.

But the question of how much PCR tests cost, and how much they implore people not to travel, is at odds with what the industry – and the wider public – want to see.

The Department for Transport made no comments about the sky high charges that come with essential testing.

Abta, the travel association, welcomed the resumption of overseas cruising but warned barriers remain.

A spokesperson said: “We need to see the Government make further progress on making testing more affordable and proportionate, and we need to see more destinations added to the Green list at next week’s review.”

Willie Walsh, the director of airline group IATA and former head of British Airways, said the announcement raised further questions.

He said: “Why are travellers forced to test twice, the second time using expensive PCR tests?

“What’s the plan to enable unvaccinated people who have tested negative to travel without quarantine? 

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How much do travel tests cost?

The Government’s list of approved suppliers for travel tests is 390-strong – and the costs vary greatly from company to company.

Unfortunately, holidaymakers are at the mercy of these companies, as NHS provided tests are not valid for travel.

The cheapest tests come in at £23, and the most expensive ones can cost up to £575 per test.

While opting for the cheaper test seems like the best option, they often come with a caveat of having to take the test yourself or travelling to a specific site to do a test.

This runs the risk of incorrectly performing the test and having to order another one, which is costly and can ruin your travel plans if you do not get another test in time for when you need to travel.

Even though the Government website stipulates that you should conduct your own research when looking for private travel testing, this does not account for shortfalls in private services – such as delivering results late or not responding to customer queries, as some holidaymakers have reported.

In the first six months of 2021, air travellers spent a whopping £380 million on tests, according to analysis by Bloomberg.

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