Published On: 24 November 2020||Categories: COVID-19||Tags: ||

What we have learned through trial and error*

The pre-flight test was launched in October for passengers travelling to Hong Kong and Italy on British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Virgin Atlantic. The airlines inform passengers of the COVID testing requirements ahead of travel. The traveller requires an approved test less than 72 hours before travel.

As part of the booking confirmation, a link is provided to book a Collinson test at Heathrow terminals 2 or 5 (

The Departure test is provided by Collinson nurses landside and is distinct from the Arrivals test (airside). The Departures test centres are located as follows:

  • Terminal 2: Go to the Arrivals hall. On the right hand side, opposite the toilets, take the lift to Level 0.
  • Terminal 5: In the arrivals hall, on the right hand side near toilets.

The testing facilities close at 18:15.

Even though you are given an appointment time, you can just turn up and join the queue, so if you arrive early at the airport, go straight to testing, don’t wait.

The fee of £80 is payable on site. There is no facility to pre-pay, so schools must ensure that all students have the means to pay. GTMatrix can assist by sending a member of our Airport Guardians team to chaperone students and take care of any payments needed. Minimum charge is £100 for two hours attendance, additional time charged at £42 per hour. Expenses are reclaimed from school with a 15% administration fee added.

Test results have been taking between 60 and 90 minutes to arrive and the students are emailed a certificate with the result.

Local testing facilities

We have recently had a student with a valid test from Nomad Travel in Bristol (£195) refused at the airport and sent for a new on-site test with Collinson (a further £80). This is not to say that tests conducted locally to the school aren’t acceptable, however with the rapidly changing situation and possible lack of training of some staff, issues like this must be expected.

* This article is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of writing, however the Covid situation is changing daily and schools should make their own enquiries. GTMatrix remains willing and able to help.

Our Services

  • Complete Travel & Welfare solution for travelling students
  • Chaperoned coach services from school to key destinations
  • Airport Guardians at Heathrow Airport on main school travel days
  • Regional airports staffed on demand
  • Airport Guardians available on non-standard travel days to attend students at Heathrow*
  • Unaccompanied Minor Services
  • Tier 4 compliant travel expertise

* 24 hours notice required. Staff can be put on standby at home for a reduced fee. Travel time to the terminals for our staff averages 50 minutes.

Click through to our enquiries page to get in touch, or call us on +44 20 3355 2858.