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A door may be cracking open for Americans to travel to Europe again

Two new Covid-19 testing programs may be the key to unlocking travel between the United States and Europe.

Select passengers flying on American Airlines, British Airways and United Airlines flights are eligible to participate in testing programs that are evaluating whether preflight Covid-19 tests can be used to relax travel restrictions imposed by both countries.

The two programs, however, are quite different. Here is what to know about each.

American Airlines and British Airways

On Nov. 17, American Airlines and British Airways announced the launch of an optional Covid-19 testing trial on flights from the U.S. to London.

The testing program will begin on Nov. 25 on flights to Heathrow Airport departing from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (Flight AA50), New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (BA114) and Los Angeles International Airport (BA268). A second flight originating from JFK (AA106) will be added to the program at a future date, according to an American Airlines’ press release.

Passengers who volunteer for the program will undergo three free Covid-19 tests as follows:

Test 1: A self-administered RT-PCR (nasal) test taken at home via a virtual consultation with a medical professional 72 hours prior to departureTest 2: A LAMP (nasal) test taken upon landing at Heathrow AirportTest 3: A self-administered saliva test taken at home three days after arriving in the U.K. 

The three-test approach is specific to the trial, said David Evans, joint CEO at Collinson, a global travel company that began operating two Covid-19 testing facilities at Heathrow for outbound travelers in mid-October.

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