Even as the race to approve and distribute Covid-19 vaccines is entering its final stretch, parts of the travel industry are sprinting to a different finish line: airport testing.
In hubs large and small, from JFK to Boston to Frankfurt, Germany, a variety of companies are figuring out how to scale preflight rapid and PCR Covid testing in hopes of facilitating safe air travel and lessening quarantine requirements for anyone who isn’t first in line for a shot.
The leaders of that effort may come as a surprise.
In the US, it’s XpressSpa, the purveyor of quickie mani-pedis and travel pillows. It’s currently operational in four major US airports, with more to come in December.
In the UK, Collinson—the parent company of the Priority Pass airport lounge network—is the testing partner for London Heathrow and Virgin Atlantic, which recently began offering free tests for passengers on flights to select Caribbean destinations. This effort expanded to three additional U.K. airports this week. Collinson also announced a partnership in mid-November with American Airlines, British Airways, and the Oneworld airline alliance that will bring testing to select flights and hopefully lead to the creation of an “air bridge.”
In other words: Momentum is building.