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Lufthansa Launches Rapid Pre-flight Testing

More airlines are looking at rapid COVID-19 testing to kickstart a recovery in travel

by Business Traveler

October 5, 2020

Lufthansa Group has announced it is joining a number of the world’s airlines in offering rapid pre-flight testing for coronavirus. In a virtual press call, Bjoern Beck, Lufthansa Group’s senior director for product management, ground and digital services, said that the airline would begin making rapid COVID-19 antigen tests available for its business and first class passengers.

The airline plans to offer these tests as early as October, according to reports in Reuters.

During the Sept. 22 press call, in response to a query from Business Traveler USA, Beck said that the slower, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests would be available “for everyone.” The PCR tests are currently available at €59 per passenger.

Because of limited availability, the rapid antigen tests would initially be offered to business and first class passengers, making it “a premium service element,” Beck said. “It will be a base for further service over the next few months,” he continued.

“Everyone is tested. We make it as easy as possible. When everyone in an aircraft is tested you will be in the most protected environment you can be in.”

Beck also said that the airline would be implementing new row by row deplaning procedures, something that in passenger tests, “everyone liked.”

Beck also said that new Abbott and Roche tests on self-contained cards as compact as credit cards were “being looked at” by the company. “That’s definitely the next thing to come,” he said.

The Lufthansa announcement comes as the airline industry ramps up calls for global testing to open up international air travel.

In addition to the German carrier, a growing number of other major airlines around the world have already launched pre-flight testing initiatives on their own. Last week, American Airlines announced collaborative efforts with several foreign governments to begin offering pre-flight COVID-19 testing for travelers to international destinations, including Jamaica, the Bahamas and Costa Rica.

American has also joined United Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines to offer passengers flying to Hawaii rapid pre-flight testing. And Italian carrier Alitalia has begun testing of all passengers on limited services between Milan and Rome in an effort to operate flights that are “100 percent COVID-19 free.”