Like everywhere in the USA, COVID-19 testing programs at airports are a patchwork of local governments, airport authorities, airlines and private companies getting together and figuring it out for themselves. While this potentially may not be the best way to run things, it’s how things are.
Taking a step back, despite all of the airline sponsored studies that show how safe it is to get on an airline, very few people feel safe getting onto a packed plane when the person next to you may be positive for coronavirus. Easily available, accurate, affordable rapid tests would be a way for people to feel comfortable traveling in the way they did before. The idea of everyone boarding a plane getting cleared before departure lowers the risk of air travel in many people’s minds.
When it became apparent early in the epidemic that airport COVID-19 testing might become a desirable service, one company threw its hat into the ring as a possible provider of those services, XpresSpa. Yes, the airport locations where you could get a massage before or after your flight wanted to be the airport COVID testing place. We admittedly scoffed about what a far-fetched idea this seemed to be.
Flash forward and guess which company is at the forefront of airport testing? That’s right, XpresSpa. More accurately, it’s a new division of the company named XpresCheck. There are locations at JFK and Newark Liberty airports and another one just opened at Boston Logan. The last one is only testing airline and airport workers right now but will be open to the public for testing sometime mid-November. What’s really impressive is the speed at which they’re able to open up these testing facilities. Construction on the Boston XrpresCheck location started on October 9th and it opened on October 28th.
The units are modular so they can be installed wherever there’s enough space, which airports have plenty of right now.
XpresSpa CEO Doug Satzman sees a rapid expansion of sites offering testing and other health services.
These point-of-care tests are critical to enhancing early detection because of their portability, speed and reliability which can accelerate care, reduce viral spread and help people get on the road to recovery sooner. We’ve already identified 60 Large Hub and Medium Hub airports and are in advanced discussions to open additional locations. Our expansion plan includes offering a range of appropriate services and treatments too. We are proud to be playing our part in supporting the return of air travel to pre-pandemic levels by making sure both airport employees and travelers feel safe and confident when they come to the airport
The New York locations have already expanded services beyond coronavirus testing.
XpresCheck now offers additional rapid testing services for other communicable diseases that include influenza, mononucleosis and group A streptococcus, supporting the health and wellbeing of airport and airlines employees and the traveling public. XpresCheck is also now offering this season’s 2020/21 flu vaccination as well as a quadrivalent high-dose flu vaccine recommended for seniors.
You have to give XpresSpa management credit for thinking outside the box. When global air travel slumped to levels not seen in decades, its business model fell apart. Admittedly, the business wasn’t in great shape before the pandemic. Seeing an event that could have easily forced them out of business, they make a sharp turn directly towards the coronavirus hurricane. They created a new business that provides services that might become a necessary part of travel for who knows how long. They’ve made it much further along than I initially thought they would and I’m interested in seeing how far they’ll go.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary