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I try out the British Airways ‘Return to England’ £33 Covid test from Qured

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British Airways has partnered with a number of Covid testing companies since the start of the pandemic, most of which are PCR testing providers.

It has now announced a new partnership with Qured (pronounced ‘cured’…..) to offer a £33 inbound test that satisfies the requirement for a negative Covid test before arriving in England.

Qured Lateral flow test kit

The process is quite clever, and lets you avoid the hassle of trying to find a test provider in the country you are visiting. It is based on a lateral flow antigen test, which means it isn’t totally accurate but better than nothing ….

It is also much cheaper than a PCR test – £33 with BA’s discount code – making it a cost-effective way of testing before you return to the UK.

Here is how it works:

  • You order your test before you depart the UK and take the kit with you
  • You schedule a video call with Qured up to three days before your return flight to carry out the test
  • You receive your results and a test certificate within 20 minutes

British Airways offered to let me test the service – so I did!

I gave the Qured test a trial

Ordering the home test kit is easy and can be done on the Qured website here. The headline price is £39 but the BA promo code ‘BATRAVEL15‘ will reduce this to £33.

You have to select a reason for the test – which can include a simple diagnostic if you just want to check your Covid status – but in this case you should choose the ‘Return to the UK’ option:

Qured reason

You also have to enter a few personal details including your address.

The test kit arrives via free next-day delivery, provided you book before 3pm. It is all in a small box that you can easily pack into a bag or suitcase.

Qured Lateral flow test

Once booked, you can schedule a call with a health advisor to take your test and get your results validated. This ensures that you perform the test correctly and don’t cheat, as this test has been validated by Public Health England as a valid way of entering the UK.

You can book this call for whenever you want and there are plenty of slots available, although they are limited to 9am-6pm UK time.

Cleverly, you don’t actually have an appointment with an individual advisor: instead you join an online queue and wait to be attended. This took a matter of seconds for me, and means that it doesn’t matter if you are a few minutes early or late for your slot.

On the call, the Qured health advisor will take you through the process of swabbing and performing the test. If you’ve done a lateral flow test before you are probably familiar with the process, which essentially requires you to dunk your swab in the liquid before dropping it onto the test cassette itself.

I will spare you the vivid details of my self-swabbing. Residents of South London will be pleased to know that I tested negative:

Qured Lateral flow cassette

(Somebody can correct me on this but I assume C means ‘control’ to ensure the test has been carried out correctly and and T is for the actual Covid ‘test’ result.)

Once the 20 minutes are up you can take a photo of your test with your ID and send it to Qured. Qured will verify it and send you a test certificate in return:

Qured test certificate

You can upload your certificate into BA’s VeriFLY app if you wish, which will speed up your time at check-in.

The whole process was quick and easy thanks to the guidance from the health advisor, and got me a Government-accepted certificate within an hour.

It will be interesting to see how testing requirements evolve with the rollout of vaccines, although I imagine they will be here in one form or another for some time. These cheap and effective lateral flow tests are a great way of testing for your return.

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Comments (118)

  • Lady London says:

    This pricing is much closer to the pricing other countries seem to be practising for antigen test.

    Just that those other tests involve someone else’s physicak presence (pharmacist, specific contractors, nurses etc.) taking the sample. So looks like a fairer price would be £13-£21.

    PCR tests norm elsewhere seen around £50. When is the UK going to stop ripping people off in a situation where they mostly have no choice?

    I can see tasty slices of commission for BA, licensing fees for Public Health England so should be relatively minimal, and overall a rather large profit margin being hoovered up by these parties due to the inelastic nature of any demand.

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      Well, sort of have the answer to your question there!

    • Rob says:

      Seems like hard work to me for £33. Next day delivery isn’t cheap. Cost of setting up and staffing the video calls, checking the photo ID that is submitted and issuing the certificates.

      • Lady London says:

        I take your point but other than the volume price they would receive for next day delivey all the other costs are less than or same as in-person testing for productivity 3-4 times.

  • Yorkieflyer says:

    One of the options looks to be to use for test and release? This could be a good low cost quick option after the five days on return

    • Oli says:

      Rapid tests don’t work for test-to-release. That one costs in the region of £100.

  • Mr(s) Entitled says:

    Jimmy – They watch you swab. The article then states 20 mins later a picture of the device is submitted.

    Enrico – I sincerely hope that there is a unique serial number but it is not apparent in the picture, Rhys hasn’t confirmed as such, and it’s not referenced in the resulting official documentation.

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      A response to my post on page 3.

      The ineptitude of this ‘process’ is matched only by my inability to post in the right place.

  • Asim says:

    For pre departure PcR tests BA has a list of discount codes here:

    But does anyone know who has the cheapest option (to save me from having to go through each link)

  • Lord Doncaster says:

    Are you left handed Rhys?

  • Talay says:

    So we can use a £33 test to get in to the UK but we are then robbed of £210 each for 2 tests (£105 each test effectively) which they make compulsory.

    So where is the other £150 or so going and who is trousering it ?

    • kitten says:

      wot @TGLoyalty said as soon as it was announced

      “£210 : it’s a pisstake”

      • Callum says:

        It’s a completely different test. I have no idea why apparently private labs in a small number of countries are able to do it significantly cheaper (government subsidies, cheap labour?), but I don’t think UK pricing is that different to the rest of the developed world.

  • Nat says:

    How did I know this article was going to be by Rhys before even opening it….?!

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