Many airlines and travel destinations now require proof of a negative COVID-19 test before you can obtain your boarding pass. If you are traveling for the holidays, planning a winter getaway, or boarding for business, read this first.
Be sure to check state and local travel restrictions before you schedule a trip. Many destinations, and some airlines, require a COVID test to be performed no more than 72 hours before you travel. It’s important to understand what is and what is not accepted for travel so you don’t run into any issues at the airport. Rapid antigen tests provide the quickest results, but they are often NOT accepted as proof. PCR tests are the gold-standard when it comes to COVID-19 testing. These tests are accepted for travel, but getting your results within a 72 hour window is never guaranteed and may prove difficult when labs are struggling to keep up with high testing volume.
Innovative Express Care offers PCR testing, but the turnaround time for us to get results from the lab ranges from 2-4 days, which means we cannot guarantee you’ll have proof within 72 hours. We are however affiliated with a clinic that has an on-site lab, allowing them to guarantee same-day PCR results. If you must get a PCR in 72 hours, COVID of Chicago will get you PCR results guaranteed and it is usually given to you in 2 hours!
Be sure to pack your COVID-19 test documentation and keep an electronic version or photo on your phone, too. You may need this for your origin or destination city. Innovative Express Care and COVID of Chicago are both able to provide patients with documentation and lab reports.
COVID-19 is far from over, even with the vaccine approved. Be sure to heed virus warnings, which may include postponing unnecessary travel. If you do board a plane, remember to wear a mask at all times and exercise good hand hygiene. A face shield can also be worn for added protection when in a confined space with others. The CDC also advises travelers to bring extra supplies (masks, sanitizer) and emphasizes that staying home is the safest choice.
It’s been a long nine months, but we are in the home stretch. Vaccine distribution will begin soon and with continued precautions, we will be able to return to some sense of normalcy in the coming months. Stay strong and stay well.