STERLING, Va. — With around 1.3 million people travelling nationwide, the Transportation Security Administration says Friday and Sunday were two of the highest travel days they’ve seen since the beginning of the pandemic.
With more people getting vaccinated, they expect more people will start travelling.
According to a new Harris Poll survey, travelling is what 58% of Americans who have plans to get the vaccine want to do once they’re fully vaccinated. It’s only second to seeing friends and family in-person.
Before you head on your next trip, here's what you need to know about COVID-19 testing at the airport.
Starting Monday, Dulles International and Reagan National airports offer COVID-19 testing sites.
These are privately run facilities that offer testing for people who may need it in order to enter states with a negative test and for people who just want to be sure they’re negative before seeing family and friends.
The company running the sites is Xpress Check. They're the same people who run XpresSpa, the nail and massage salons located in more than 20 airports around the world.
The company had to pivot their business strategy when COVID-19 hit, Xpress Check and XpresSpa CEO Doug Satzman says.
"A year ago we were faced with closing all of our business," he said.
Satzman says the 50 XpresSpa locations in 25 airports worldwide were deemed as nonessential and had to shut down. So they got creative and turned some of those facilities into testing sites.
In June, they opened up their first Xpress Check location in New York at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Monday, they opened up their 10th and 11th testing sites – both located right here in the DMV.
At Reagan, the company made use of the original XpresSpa location, but at Dulles, where an XpresSpa didn’t exist, they created pop-up facility.
"We have nine testing rooms and we can test up to 500 people a day," Satzman said.
Both locations are open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Xpress Check sites provide both PCR and rapid testing for a fee.
"We charge $75 for the PCR tests and then $200 for the rapid test, which you get results while you wait," Satzman said.
So how much time do you need to set aside if you want to get tested before or after a trip?
Satzman says it depends on which test you choose.
"If you have scheduled an appointment and you've pre-filled out some of the information you can get in pretty quick, usually in about 30-40 minutes if you're getting the rapid test," he said. "[The] PCR test is even faster."
Satzman says they started construction on an Xpress Check location in Seattle. He says it takes about two weeks to construct one of these pop-up sites. He’s not sure how many they’ll have in total, but says they’re in talks with a number if airports right now.