How travelers evaluate risk and comply with COVID-19 rules


The results of a joint trial conducted by American Airlines, British Airways and the oneworld alliance show that a comprehensive COVID-19 testing program can help re-open international travel, safely.

This is underpinned by analysis from researchers at the University of Oxford who studied data on how passengers evaluate risk and comply with COVID-19 rules.

The study by the Oxford Internet Institute (OII), Trust, Testing and Travel, Technology Use, Traveller Knowledge and Compliance with COVID-19 Health Rules, analyzed aggregated survey data from almost 600 travelers who took part in the voluntary trial on select flights from the U.S. to London Heathrow (LHR), between November 2020 and March 2021. The trial offered three complimentary COVID-19 tests, taken throughout the transatlantic journey.

Customers participating in the trial, conducted in two phases, took an initial PCR test at 72 hours prior to departure; a second test (LAMP) upon arrival at London Heathrow (LHR); and a third test (PCR) taken three to five days after arrival in the UK.

In the trial’s first phase, just 1% of travelers who took a test within 72 hours of their departure tested positive and, as a result of the test, they did not travel. None of the travelers who took a test upon arrival at LHR tested positive. Of the travelers who took the third test after arriving in the UK, just 0.4%, of travelers tested positive.

Analysis by researchers at Oxford Internet Institute suggests that the results were “broadly consistent” with earlier testing trial programs in the aviation industry.

Importantly, 99.7% of travelers said they were happy to adhere to COVID-19 testing requirements as an alternative to quarantine after international travel and are prepared to pay for affordable testing.

Almost 70% of travelers said they would travel if required to take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to departure. The same number said they would be willing to take a COVID-19 test before departure as well as after arrival.

More than 70% of travelers said they would be likely to travel if required to take a test at the airport before departure, and about 75% of travelers are willing to be tested at the airport upon arrival at their destination.

Asked what they would be prepared to pay, nearly 80% of travelers said they would pay for COVID-19 testing, with the majority prepared to pay US$ 50 (£35) or less for each test. Only 15% of travelers are prepared to pay more than $100 for COVID-19 testing.

Findings of the Oxford study will be shared with governments and stakeholders, in an important addition to the growing body of knowledge that shows how comprehensive COVID-19 testing can provide governments the confidence they need to lift entry restrictions and allow travel to safely resume.

Prof Philip Howard, Professor of Internet Studies at Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, said, “As many countries make progress on vaccinating their citizens the debate over reopening travel safely is becoming increasingly important. I’m pleased our team has been able to make a contribution to this discussion through this detailed analysis of passenger sentiment and behavior.”

In a joint statement on the Oxford findings, American Airlines, British Airways and oneworld, said, “The Oxford study further reinforces that customers are willing to undergo COVID-19 testing as an alternative to quarantine. The trial findings underline the important role that testing can play in the safe reopening of international travel, including hugely significant routes between the U.S. and UK. The affordability of testing is crucial for travelers, and we stand ready to partner with governments and the private sector to offer affordable testing options for our customers who would like or need to travel again.”

© Travel News Asia

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Only 15% of travelers are prepared to pay more than $100 for COVID-19 testing.

Unless I've missed something, every PCR test I've seen in Japan has been for over this amount (15,000 JPY), or in some cases well over this amount (even up to 40,000 JPY). Is this kind of price a Japan-only thing? There's not much choice if you need to travel, so it's not exactly a free market price.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Then you have missed something...There are a bunch of places in Tokyo offering tests for under ¥3,000.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yes, I very likely overlooked something. However, I should clarify my statement, though. This cost would also have to include the necessary certificate/documentation for the authorities, not only the test itself. I think that might be driving up the price.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Doesn’t matter what a passenger or the airline “are prepared to do”. Individual countries set the rules for entry.

2 ( +2 / -0 )


You are right, the certificate adds about ¥3-5,000 which is a rip off for what is just a computer print out.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

You don’t need English results or a paper certificate if you’re flying to the US. The CDC accepts electronic results and any language as long as the airline check-in person can read it. I called ANA and confirmed that they’re following CDC rules for the US flights. Don’t fall victim to those ridiculously priced tests or “certificates” that are all over Japan!

0 ( +1 / -1 )


Thanks for the confirmation, a lot of new rules to follow here so it's tough to manage the first time through.

However, based on checking hospital websites, it seems like China and maybe Hawaii will need an actual document though. In which case, no choice but to pay up I suppose.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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