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American Airlines and British Airways Tempt Business Travellers Back to the Skies With Free COVID-19 Tests

American Airlines and British Airways Tempt Business Travellers Back to the Skies With Free COVID-19 Tests

American Airlines and British Airways are looking to tempt premium business travellers back to the skies on transatlantic routes by offering free COVID-19 tests that comply with entry requirements for the United States and the United Kingdom.

British Airways owner IAG has been buoyed in recent weeks by strong demand for premium leisure flights but there are still only “early signs of a recovery in business travel” according to chief executive Luis Gallego.

Longhaul traffic is recovering faster than short-haul traffic and with Europe facing a winter of work from home mandates, American Airlines and Brtish Airways could seek to capitalise on a return to transatlantic business travel.

Since President Biden lifted the travel ban for vaccinated travellers, American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) has seen a surge in transatlantic business bookings of around 70 per cent.

COVID-19 testing is now becoming a cheap and affordable part of the new travel experience but the partnership with GBT is aimed at totally eliminating the cost of tests for business travellers who book a ticket with American Airlines or British Airways.

Most fully vaccinated travellers flying between the US and the UK will require two rapid antigen tests – one taken within three days of arrival in the UK and a second pre-departure test before departure to the United States.

A single test can sometimes double up if taken within the required timeframes.

“Ensuring corporate travelers have access to efficient, accurate testing is one of the key components to ramping up business travel across the trans-Atlantic corridor,” said Mark Muren, Head of Global Sales at British Airways.

“Corporate travel managers know that there’s incredible pent-up demand for business travel but coordinating the logistics of testing can sometimes be a challenge, especially for trips booked close to departure,” explained Andrew Crawley, Chief Commercial Officer at GBT.

“By providing every premium customer traveling for business on a flight ticketed with American Airlines or British Airways with access to a test kit as part of the travel booking, we’re streamlining one critical step to making sure today’s business leaders can return to the skies and conduct their important work face to face.”

Both American Airlines and British Airways have been offering access to discounted tests through testing company Qured for some time but this is the first time the airlines will give the tests away for free.

The free tests will only be made available to travellers booked in a ‘premium’ seat on an AA or BA flight originating in the US or UK. The bookings must be made through GBT.

The tests can be performed at home or on the road and in the case of pre-departure tests for the United States, including a remote consultation and ‘fit to fly’ certificate. The tests are not appropriate for onward travel to countries that require PCR tests or in-person testing.

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