Need a Covid-19 PCR test before flying? Find your nearest airport Covid testing facility, along with important updates you need to be aware of before travelling.
The coronavirus pandemic has changed how we live our lives in many ways, and particularly the way we travel. The travel industry has implemented new steps to keep us safe, and negative Covid-19 tests are now required to fly to most destinations. Covid-19 testing can also reduce your quarantine period when you’re back in the UK with the Test to Release programme.
Manchester Airport offers a number of Covid-19 testing options. If you don’t live near to Manchester Airport or if you are unable to get to the airport for testing, you can also take a Covid-19 travel test with the following providers:
Travellers flying from Heathrow can be tested at the airport. You can also use the Heathrow Airport ExpressTest drive-through which is located on the Northern Perimeter Road opposite the exit to Business Parking (Terminals 2 and 3).
If you don’t live near or are unable to get to Heathrow Airport for testing, you can also take a Covid-19 travel test with Medicspot. Our Harlington Test Hub is located inside Village Pharmacy, 220 High St, Harlington, Hayes (UB3 5DS). It is a short 1 mile drive, taxi or walk away from Heathrow Airport.
You can get tested for Covid-19 at Stansted Airport. If you don’t live near or are unable to get to Stansted Airport for testing, you can also get tested for Covid-19 with the following providers:
Gatwick Airport uses several providers who are offering a number of Covid-19 testing options. ExpressTest is a drive through facility located in the South Terminal Long Stay Car Park, offering a PCR swab test. Tests must be booked in advance. The Hilton and The Sofitel hotels at London Gatwick offer a Test & Rest Package which includes a PCR self-testing swab kit and overnight accommodation at the hotel. If you cannot easily travel to Gatwick Airport for testing, you can also take a Covid-19 test with the following providers:
London Luton Airport has a Covid-19 drive-through screening facility at the airport, which provides a range of tests for travellers arriving to and departing from the UK. The drive-through facility is located in the Mid Stay Car Park and is clearly signposted.
You can also use Medicspot. Our St Albans Redbourn Test Hub is only 7 miles away from London Luton Airport; approximately 14 minutes by car or taxi. It is located at the Crown Pharmacy, 65 High Street, Redbourn (AL3 7LW).
Passengers flying from London City Airport can be tested inside the airport. The testing centre is located in the middle of the departures terminal (land side). From London City Airport DLR station (Docklands light rail), you need to follow the signs for ‘Departures’ and you’ll see the test centre in the middle of the building upon entering.
You can also use Medicspot. We have a number of Covid Test Hubs located all around London. The two that are closest to London City Airport are:
Newcastle International Airport uses a 3rd party provider to provide Covid-19 testing. Keep an eye on this page as we are adding more Medicspot Test Hubs to our list all the time.
East Midlands Airport has a number of Covid-19 testing options You can also use:
Birmingham Airport does not currently offer Covid-19 testing at the airport itself for passengers, but our Medicspot Birmingham Test Hub is only a 12 minute drive from Birmingham Airport. Alternatively, you can use the X1 Platinum bus service that takes approximately 28 minutes. It is located at Shareef Pharmacy on 149 Church Road, Yardley (B25 8UP).
Edinburgh Airport has an ExpressTest facility for passengers to book a test ahead of departure. You can also use our Test Hub in Edinburgh which is a short 8 mile (18 minute) drive from Edinburgh Airport. Alternatively, you can catch the Airlink 100 bus with the following connections: bus routes 2, 29 or 33. The Test Hub is located at Newington Pharmacy on 46-48 Clerk Street (EH8 9JB).
Glasgow Airport does not currently offer Covid-19 testing at the airport for passengers, but we have two Test Hubs in Glasgow that you can use:
Liverpool John Lennon Airport provides Covid-19 testing for passengers who require them at their airport. You can also use our Manchester Test Hub.
Depending on your destination, you may be required to provide a negative Covid-19 test certificate at the airport prior to boarding your flight. Medicspot offers fast and trusted fit to fly coronavirus testing to help you fly wherever you need to go.
There are also some key measures and changes that you should be aware of next time you travel through an airport such as Manchester Airport, London Stansted Airport, East Midlands Airport, Newcastle International Airport, Gatwick Airport, Heathrow Airport and more.
There are a number of things that you can do to prepare before your trip.
If you are shielding, self-isolating or have symptoms of Covid-19 such as a high temperature, a persistent cough, or a loss of taste or smell - you should not travel to the airport at all.
It’s recommended that you check your travel insurance, as some travel insurance won’t cover you for Covid-19 and some won’t cover you at all for travelling during a pandemic. Most insurance companies won’t cover you for travelling to countries that the Foreign & Commonwealth office advise against, so you should check the FCO website before you book your tickets.
Also don’t forget that the UK has left the EU, so as of 1st January 2021, your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) card is no longer valid. You will therefore need travel insurance to travel in the EU.
If you do not display any symptoms and are fit to fly, you should check the status of your flight with your airline, including the terminal you are flying from, before you leave for the airport as some airline schedules may change at the last minute.
You will also be required to follow current guidance around wearing a suitable face covering inside the airport, and some airlines may also require this throughout your journey. You are advised to check the policy for the airport you are travelling through, and bring a face covering or mask with you. Although don’t panic if you forget yours as many airports are now selling face coverings.
Where possible, try to check-in online before you arrive as this will save you time on your journey and reduce the number of people waiting inside the airport building. Some coach and train services to the airport may be operating a reduced timetable, so check the timetable and give yourself more time for delays and cancellations.
You should only travel to the airport if you have a flight booked or are assisting a passenger with special requirements, as many airports will only allow those people who are flying inside the terminal building. Some airports may allow you to pre-book your security slot, to help limit the number of people in security at any one time.
Everything at the airport might take a bit longer than you are used to, so give yourself plenty of time. If you drive to the airport, there may have been some changes to which car parks are available, so you should check this before you leave home.
Many UK airports should now have hand sanitiser stations around the airport. Some such as Manchester Airport and London Stansted Airport are piloting new technologies for measuring passenger temperatures. So you may notice thermal cameras as you travel through the airport.
Rules on hand luggage are pretty much unchanged, but we advise that you check this with your airport and airline. Remember that no more than 100ml bottles of liquids are allowed in your hand luggage; this includes hand sanitizer. You’ll save yourself some money by buying some smaller bottles before you travel.
Departure lounges may have less seating available to enable social distancing, and many food and retail outlets are closed, so you may wish to take some snacks with you. Social distancing should be maintained throughout the airport and you may need to be patient with new queuing systems, particularly at the boarding gate.
When flying back into the UK at the end of your trip, check Gov.uk for the latest information for arriving passengers on quarantine and screening. You can find out how you can shorten your self-isolation period after international travel, by visiting our Test to Release guide.
The majority of airports will require masks and face coverings to be worn at all times whilst inside the airport, but you may need to remove them to use the electronic passport gates which use facial recognition.
We hope this information helps give you an idea of what to expect when you arrive at the airport for your next trip. Remember, many countries currently require a negative Covid-19 test result and a ‘fit to fly certificate’ for international travellers. So to ensure you get on your flight without disruption, use Medicspot’s Covid-19 testing service. Visit medicspot.co.uk/covid-test to find your nearest testing centre.
By Dr Adam Abbs. Last updated 23/12/2020
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