What is a COVID-19 Fit-to-Fly PCR test?

Your Covid Testing Questions Answered

With rules that change almost weekly, international requirements that differ from country to country and so many Covid testing options available, it can be hard to know where you stand.


On this page we’ll attempt to answer all your Covid test questions, give you the latest information and hopefully put your mind at rest. Whether it’s for work, play or relaxation, with Fit-to-Fly PCR you’re in safe hands.

What is a COVID-19 Fit-to-Fly PCR test?


Now that holidaymakers are once again heading off on much-anticipated overseas breaks, the UK, and most destinations around the world, are using testing to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and open up international travel as safely as possible. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and all Governments affected by the Coronavirus have made clear that testing is the single most important intervention to ensure travel safety. Airlines often now require passengers to have had a recent negative COVID-19 test result, to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 on aircraft.

There are also several destinations that require proof or certification of negative COVID-19 status before allowing people into or out of their national territory.


Rules and guidelines may vary greatly from one country to another, so the Fit-to-Fly standard has been adopted as the safest approach to show you are COVID-19 negative before you get to the airport.


We provide symptom-free Covid testing for Maidstone and the South East, offering both Antigen and an onsite RT-PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) testing service using the swab method. You can find more information about when PCR tests or Antigen tests are required to allow you to travel on the UK Government website.


The fit-to-fly certificate requires an RT PCR Swab Test for COVID taken from your throat, which we process at our onsite laboratory, aiming to email you full results and certificate within 3 hours of testing.


Are PCR tests still required for travel?

Not always. It is always prudent to check the requirements for the specific destination to which you are travelling, to confirm any changes to the types of test you will need.  PCR tests are seen as the gold standard and are accepted in preference to other tests in many places., while PCR is not always required at every destination, it is accepted pretty much everywhere due to its accuracy and reliability. 


We provide a range of tests including rapid antigen tests, and PCR with results in as little as 3 hours to suit your requirements

As of Oct 24 fully vaccinated passengers and most under 18s arriving from non-red-list countries can use a lateral flow test on day 2 of their arrival to England.


How long do you need to wait in between COVID-19 PCR tests?


You can take a PCR test every day if you so wish, however the usual period for effective testing is between 2 and 5 days.  In low-risk situations, a second test may not be required at all. Whether or not an individual is already vaccinated can make a big difference to when testing will be most effective.


Do I need a Day 2 test when I come back from holiday?


In many cases yes.  Those who have been fully vaccinated, however, can now use a lateral flow test on or before day 2, after their arrival to England.  It is important to check with your travel provider as to the most current requirements for your journey.


Is a Fit-to-Fly test mandatory?

No, not in all cases.  However, it is always advisable, for the meantime; situations and travel rules can still change quickly.


What Fit-to-Fly test do I need?


That will be dependent on the requirements laid down for your destination.  While some countries will accept rapid lateral flow antigen test results, not all do. However, they do all accept PCR results.


Who needs a Fit-to-Fly covid test?


Testing and quarantine rules depend on age and country of residence, as well as country of transit. Younger children may be exempt from testing and quarantine when travelling with fully vaccinated adults, or they may need to show a negative COVID-19 test result in order to be able to travel with you. 


Each country has different requirements and these are often dependent on the individual circumstances of individual travellers and the age of any children travelling with them. Always check the entry requirements for the country you're visiting.


When should I take a Fit-to-Fly test?


Timing is everything. You should arrange your appointment for the day before your time window begins. For example, if you are required to have a certificate dated within three days of your flight, your appointment should be four days before your flight.

Up to 72 hours before departure is the usual requirement throughout the EU, but there are instances where less than 24 hours before travel is required when travelling further afield. 


Some destinations even require the certificate report to be issued within 48 hours after arrival at the destination. Therefore, it is critical that you check both the requirements locally and those at your destination in advance.


We aim to deliver results in time for you to fly, but it’s important you research the requirements of your specific journey. Your airline or travel agent should be able to provide the most recent travel rules and advice, relevant to your particular trip.


Can a Fit-to-Fly test be done at home?


For your departure, we offer an on-site, in-clinic nasal swab test, either self-administered or carried out by one of our clinicians, where our laboratory will carry out the tests. It is important to book your PCR test, wherever you may be in Kent and throughout the South East, in plenty of time to ensure we can return your results on schedule for your trip. 


We aim to deliver quick and accurate results, which will be emailed directly to you.


Day 2 and Day 8 home testing kits are available for when you return.


How common is a false positive rapid COVID-19 test?


Rapid tests provide quick results, often within 20 minutes, but they are not as accurate as laboratory PCR tests due to the viral load required to produce a positive result. Rapid tests, unfortunately, come with a higher risk of false negatives.


A false negative means the test shows you don’t have COVID-19 when you do actually have it.


Are rapid antigen Covid tests accurate?


Rapid antigen tests are less accurate than PCR, averaging between 60% & 80% accuracy, however this is heavily dependent on the test also being correctly administered.  PCR test results are produced in a fully controlled environment and so are much more accurate.


How soon will I get my COVID-19 self-test kit?


Normally Day 2 and Day 8 home tests, sent by Standard Delivery, take 3-5 days to arrive.


Can I order home testing Covid kits?


Yes, you can. Rapid Antigen tests can be ordered directly from us here.  If you have any doubts please feel free to call us


How do I book a Fit-to-Fly test?


You can book a covid test covering Kent, Medway, Maidstone and throughout the South East of England, by clicking here.


Can I get a same day PCR test in Kent?


Absolutely, we offer a range of options, with full PCR test results and certificate possible by email in as little as 3 hours. For more information, click here.