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The Ultimate Guide to Finding Rapid PCR COVID Testing (<72h)

New COVID-19 variants, surges in cases around the world, and stricter travel and testing requirements seem to constantly work against those of us who dream of exploring the world again.

Maybe you’re traveling to a country requiring an RT-PCR COVID-19 test – like almost every country does for entry. It can be hard to find testing these days, especially with cases as rampant as they are.

Or maybe you did get tested for COVID-19 – only to find out you took an antigen test that your destination (or airline, such as Emirates) does not accept.

Unlike the United States, most countries require negative results from an RT-PCR (Real Time Polymerase) COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departure or arrival. PCR tests are generally known to be more specific and accurate than antigen tests, which provide quicker results for much cheaper.

But this doesn’t mean that it’s easy to find rapid RT-PCR testing in the United States – even after all this time. Finding a COVID-19 testing center that provides PCR results in time for travel can prove messy and costly. But it doesn’t have to be.

The ultimate solution to getting PCR results in time: airport testing

Airport testing is the solution to finding RT-PCR COVID-19 testing with results in less than 72 hours.
COVID-19 Testing at Amsterdam Schipol Airport before a Delta flight.

As an airline pilot traveling nearly nonstop around the world since the pandemic started, I’ve become a huge fan of the reliable COVID-19 testing found at airports everywhere from Germany to Ecuador.

And what better place to get tested than at the airport? As international tourism returns, it’s no wonder airport testing centers becoming more and more available around the United States.

RELATED: Here are the safest countries you can fly to without needing to quarantine

In This Article:

Airport Testing Centers in the United States

Make sure to check the latest travel requirements before getting tested

The worst feeling in the world: shelling out a large sum of money to wait in line somewhere and have a swab stuck deep into your nasal passages just to find out you got the wrong type of COVID-19 test.

As cases rise and fall, new mutations are born, and travel opens up, travel restrictions change. Since these are constantly in flux, you need to check the restrictions periodically before your travels. My personal go-to for the latest in travel restrictions is Delta’s interactive travel map:

Delta’s interactive map shows available destinations, restrictions, and dates available all on one website.

For example, if you click on a country and hit “see more info”, you’ll get a popup with everything you need to know:

A pop up from when Argentina was closed to US citizens. It’s now reopened!

You can even see state-by-state guidance with requirements as they pertain to testing, quarantine, and required forms to fill. Plus, you can select guidance by origin and destination to see how it pertains to your particular trip.

The map is updated even for state-by-state guidance, so you can plan your next vacation without worrying.

Delta even has a list of “things to do”, with information on restaurants, non-essential shops, tourist accommodations, museums, as well as location health regulations.

Out of everything I’ve seen, Delta’s online tool seems to be the most comprehensive and easy to use.

Every State You Can Find Airports With Rapid RT-PCR testing (<72 hours)

Most states, especially the ones with major international airports, have convenient testing centers with PCR results in less than 72 hours.

Alaska

Alaska has entry requirements:

Individuals currently positive with COVID-19 cannot travel to Alaska until they have been released from isolation by a medical provider or public health agency.

COVID-19 testing is available at all Alaska airports with interstate travel, but results aren't quick.
The final frontier: but not for COVID-19 testing!

COVID-19 Testing at Airports in Alaska:

Juneau (JNU) Airport

  • Cost: free (PCR)
    • Location: Arrivals
    • Results: 48 hours
    • Hours: 8AM-11PM

Anchorage (ANC) International Airport

“COVID-19 testing at ANC is located behind security for ticketed passengers (and badged employees) only. Hawaii-trusted testing for those departing ANC is now located at Alaska Park (click here to navigate). Test results are often available in less than 48 hours, but Hawaii-bound travelers should test as soon as they are within 72 hours of departure to allow time for results before arrival.”

  • Cost: free (PCR)
    • Location: behind security, and at Alaska Park
    • Results: 48 hours
    • Hours: 24/7

Fairbanks

  • Cost: free (PCR)
    • Location: baggage claim
    • Results: 48 hours
    • Hours: 0600-0200
    • Hawaii-Partner

Arizona: COVID-19 Testing

Those looking for quick PCR results in Arizona can make their way to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport for results as quick as 15 minutes.

Phoenix (PHX) Int’l Airport

  • Cost: $200 (Rapid PCR), $75 (PCR)
    • Location: Terminal 4, Floor 3
    • Results: 48 to 96 hours (PCR), 15 minutes (Rapid PCR)
    • Hours: 8AM-5PM

California

California has fantastic RT-PCR testing options at major airports around the state, all with results much quicker than 72 hours.

COVID-19 Testing at Airports in California:

Los Angeles (LAX) Int’l Airport

LAX has ample COVID-19 testing options.
LAX has many options for RT-PCR tests with quick results!

City of Los Angeles Traveler Form
To help stop the spread of COVID-19, Los Angeles requires all travelers entering the city from another state or country to fill out this online form,

  • Cost: $125 (PCR), $199 (PCR with 1 hour result)
    • Location: Terminal 6 Arrivals, Terminal 2 Arrivals
    • Results: 3 to 5 hours at Terminal 6, Under 24 hours at Terminal 2
    • Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Terminal 6), 7:00 p.m. (Terminal 2) (appointments recommended)

Oakland (OAK) Airport

  • Cost: Free (48- or 24-hour results, PCR)
    • Location: North Field complex located at 9070 Earhart Road, Oakland 94621 or 2nd curb transportation plaza between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 (only for Hawaii passengers)
    • Results: 24 to 48 hours
    • Hours: M-F 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (must schedule an appointment)

Sacramento (SMF) Airport

  • Cost: Free with a US ID (PCR)
    • Location: 5680 Crossfield Dr, Sacramento, CA 95837
    • Results: 24 to 48 hours
    • Hours: M-F 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (must schedule an appointment)

San Diego (SAN) Int’l Airport

The beautiful San Diego airport offers PCR testing with rapid results right at the airport.
  • Cost: $135-165 (PCR)
    • Location: Valet Parking – 2375 Airlane Road, San Diego, CA 92101
    • Results: 3 hours ($165) or by 2:00 p.m. the next day
    • Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (must schedule an appointment)

San Francisco (SFO) Int’l Airport

  • Day-of-travel rapid testing (Administered by Dignity Health-GoHealth Urgent Care for United Airlines passengers only):
    • Cost: $275 (Rapid PCR)
    • Location: International terminal, Courtyard A
    • Hours: Monday – Fridays, 8:15 a.m.– 5:45 p.m. (Last PCR test at 5:00 p.m.), Saturdays & Sundays, 8:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. (Last PCR test at 3:00 p.m.)
    • Results: 15 minutes
  • Worksite Labs
    • Cost: $90 (24 hours), $150 (12 hours), $250 (1.5 hours)
    • Location: Adjacent to the Long-Term Parking Lot and Cell Phone Waiting Lot
    • Hours: 7AM-7PM
    • Results: 1.5 to 24 hours ($90-250)

San Jose (SJC) Airport

Tests at SJC are available

  • Cost: $20 (PCR)
    • Location: Taxi Staging Area, 2470 Airport Boulevard
    • Results: 72 hours guaranteed
    • Hours: 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM

Colorado: COVID-19 Testing

Boulder Country, CO. Picture: G. Lamar

COVID-19 testing in Colorado can be easily accessed at Denver International Airport – however it is after security, so you’ll need a ticket

Denver (DEN) Int’l Airport

  • Cost: $250 (Rapid PCR), $75 (PCR) + lab fees (up to $100)
    • Location: Post-security, Concourse B, Level 2
    • Results: Rapid PCR – 60 min., PCR – 48 to 96 hours
    • Hours: M-F 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (must schedule ahead)

Connecticut

COVID-19 testing in Connecticut is offered for free at Hartford’s Bradley International Airport, but results may take 72 hours.

COVID-19 Testing at Airports in Connecticut:

Bradley Windsor-Locks National Airport

  • Cost: $125 (PCR), free with insurance
    • Location: Baggage claim, between doors 4 and 5
    • Results: Within 72 hours (usually)
    • Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. (pre-registration strongly encouraged)

Florida: COVID-19 Testing

Several airports in Florida, including Miami and Fort Lauderdale, offer convenient PCR testing at the airport with rapid results.
The sun sets over Siesta Key, Florida / where to get a PCR test within 72 hours

RT-PCR COVID-19 testing can be found at several Florida airports, all with results well within 72 hours.

Fort Lauderdale (FLL) Hollywood Int’l Airport

  • Cost: $199 for PCR, $69 for rapid
    • Location: Terminal 3
    • Results: 48 hours
    • Hours: 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (must schedule ahead)

Orlando (MCO) Int’l Airport

  • Cost: $175 (RT-PCR)
  • Location: Third level before security check
  • Results: 15 minutes
  • Hours: Monday-Friday from 7:30am-5:00pm and Saturday-Sunday from 7:30am-7:00pm

Georgia

Travelers transiting through Atlanta-Hartsfield Jackson International Airport will find convenient COVID-19 testing options inside security with results available as soon as 72 hours.

Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) COVID-19 Testing: XpresCheck

  • Cost: $250 (Rapid PCR), $75 (PCR)
  • 2 Locations: Post Security, Concourse E, Center Hall (you need a ticket)
  • Results: Rapid PCR – 60 min., PCR – 48-96 hours
  • Hours: Monday 8 AM – 4 PM, Thursday through Sunday, 8 AM – 6 PM

Hawaii

Visitors of the beautiful islands of Hawaii will find ample testing options if desired, including a convenient airport location at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) with rapid results.

Hawaii has travel restrictions.

“Trans-Pacific travelers arriving WITHOUT a confirmed negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departure are subject to a mandatory 10-day quarantine. Note that certain islands, such as Kauai, may have different restrictions.

Hawaii has strict travel restrictions, but luckily they offer COVID-19 testing right at HNL airport.
Traveling to Hawaii? You can now get a PCR test (before flying to Hawaii) and skip the 10-day quarantine!

COVID-19 Testing at Airports in Hawaii:

Honolulu Daniel K. Inouye (HNL) Int’l Airport

  • Cost: $140
    • Location: Baggage claim 31 at the Diamond Head Tour Group Bus area
    • Results: 3 to 4 hours
    • Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (no appointment required)

Illinois

Both major airports in Chicago offer RT-PCR COVID-19 testing with results inside of 72 hours.

COVID-19 Testing at Airports in Chicago, Illinois:

Chicago O’Hare Int’l Airport (ORD)

  • Cost: $145 (PCR), $120 (Antigen)
    • Location: Bus Shuttle Center (Level 1 of Main Parking Garage)
    • Results: 24 to 72 hours (PCR), 20 minutes (Antigen)
    • Hours: 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (must book appointment online)

Midway Airport (MDW)

  • Cost: $145 (PCR), $120 (Antigen)
    • Location: Terminal Parking Garage Level 3 (Pedestrian Walkway between CTA Orange Line and Terminal)
    • Results: 24 to 72 hours (PCR), 20 minutes (Antigen)
    • Hours: 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (must book appointment online)

Maine

Bar Harbor, Maine. Maine offers several COVID-19 testing centers with rapid results.

Travelers wishing to get an RT-PCR test at an airport in Maine should make their way to Portland Sky Harbor for free testing.

COVID-19 Testing at Airports in Maine:

Bangor Int’l Airport (BGR)

  • Cost: $25 (antigen)
    • Location: 287 Godfrey Blvd, Bangor, ME 04401
    • Results: 1 hour
    • Hours: MTThF 7 am to 8 pm, WSa 10 am to 4 pm, Sunday – closed

Portland Skyport (PWM)

  • Cost: Free (PCR), $25 (Rapid)
    • Location: Level 1
    • Results: 3 days (PCR), 1 hour (Rapid)
    • Hours: Monday – Sunday:  11:30am – 10:30pm (must book appointment)

Massachusetts:

The best place to find rapid PCR testing in Massachusetts is Boston Logan International Airport, with options outside security offering results as soon as 60 minutes.

Boston Int’l Airport (BOS) COVID-19 Testing: XpresCheck

  • Cost: $250 (Rapid PCR), $75 (PCR)
    • 2 Locations: Terminal E, Arrivals Level (near door E107) and Terminal C, Departures Level (next to Jerry Remy’s)
    • Results: Rapid PCR – 60 min., PCR – 48-96 hours
    • Hours: Monday 8 AM – 4 PM, Thursday through Sunday, 8 AM – 6 PM

Michigan: COVID-19 Testing

Though there are testing centers near the Detroit Metro International Airport, there are currently none at the airport itself. However, those traveling from Grand Rapids will be pleased to find a testing center with rapid results at the airport.

Grand Rapids (GRR) Airport

  • Cost: $275 (Rapid PCR), $125 (PCR), $75 (Rapid)
    • Location: Economy Lot
    • Results: 30 minutes (Rapid PCR), 2-3 days hours (PCR), 15 minutes (rapid)
    • Hours: 6 a.m.-6 p.m (drive-through, no appointment)

Minnesota

Downtown Minneapolis at sunset / where to get an RT-PCR test within 72 hours.

There is COVID-19 testing offered at MSP, but results aren’t guaranteed within 72 hours.

Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) Int’l Airport COVID-19 Testing

  • Cost: Free
    • Location: Terminal 1
    • Results: “A few days”
    • Hours: 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (reservations encouraged)

New Jersey: COVID-19 Testing

New Jersey recommends following CDC guidelines for travel. COVID-19 testing is offered by XpresCheck at two locations at Newark Liberty International Airport.

Newark (EWR) XpresCheck

  • Cost: $250 (Rapid PCR), $75 (PCR)
    • Location: Terminal B, Level 3 (near front entrance) and Terminal C, Level 1 (near baggage carousel 7)
    • Results: Rapid – 60 min., PCR – 48 to 96 hours
    • Hours: Monday through Sunday, 8 AM – 6 PM

New York (Requirements)

Most airports in New York, such as LGA, JFK, and Islip, provide convenient PCR testing right at the terminal.
From the “Top of the Rock” last year. You can probably see a bunch of COVID-19 testing centers from here.

The state of New York offers plenty of COVID-19 test centers at airports with results available well within 72 hours.

COVID-19 Testing at Airports in New York:

Albany International Airport

  • Cost: $35 to 60 (PCR)
    • Location: Airport Information Desk, Baggage Claim
    • Results: 48-72 hours
    • Hours: 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (for arriving passengers after waiting four days)

JFK Option #1: Xprescheck

  • Cost: $250 (Rapid), $75 (PCR)
    • Location: Terminal 4, Level 1 (near Central Diner)
    • Results: Antigen/Rapid – 15 min., PCR – 3 to 5 days
    • Hours: Monday through Friday, 6 AM – 8 PM, Saturday and Sunday, 9 AM – 8 PM

JFK Option #2: Adams Health Services

  • Cost: $220 (PCR)
    • Location: Terminal 1 next to H counter
    • Results: Within an hour
    • Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. (must schedule ahead)

JFK Option #3: NYC Health

  • Cost: FREE! (PCR)
    • Location: Terminal 5
    • Results: 3 days
    • Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (walk-ins only)

Islip: AFC COVID-19 Testing

  • Cost: Free (PCR, with insurance), $175 (PCR, no insurance), $200 (Rapid PCR)
    • Location: Several Non-Airport
    • Results: 15 minutes (Rapid), 72 hours (Non Rapid)
    • Hours: 8AM-4PM

LaGuardia (LGA): NYC Health

  • Cost: Free, even without health insurance (PCR)
    • Location: Terminal B Parking garage
    • Results: 3 days
    • Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (walk-ins available)

Ohio: COVID-19 Testing

Ohio recommends a quarantine period after returning from states with high positivity rates. COVID-19 testing is available at Cleveland’s International Airport.

Cleveland International Airport

  • Cost: $275 (Rapid PCR), $135 (PCR), $95 (Antigen/Rapid)
    • Location: Ticketing
    • Results: 30 minutes (Rapid PCR), 48-72 hours (PCR),15 minutes (Antigen/Rapid)
    • Hours: 6am-6pm

Oklahoma: COVID-19 Testing

Oklahomans can rejoice with very quick PCR results available right at Tulsa International Airport.

Tulsa International Airport

  • Cost: $125 (PCR), $150 (Rapid PCR), $70 (Antigen)
    • Location: Terminal B, baggage claim
    • Results: 25 minutes (PCR), 15 minutes (Antigen/Rapid)
    • Hours: M-F 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Sa-Su 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (walk-in or appointments – ONLY for travel)

Oregon

You can visit Canon Beach, Oregon and get your PCR test results all on the same day!

The most convenient COVID-19 testing center in Oregon is offered right at PDX with results as soon as 3 hours for PCR testing.

Portland (PDX) International Airport COVID-19 Testing

  • Cost: $135 (PCR)
    • Location: Valet Parking area – 7000 NE Airport Way, Portland, OR 97218
    • Results: 3 hours OR 2PM next day
    • Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Sa-Th, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. F (must reserve ahead)

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania offers convenient COVID-19 testing right at the Philadelphia International Airport, a boon for those looking to get tested right before traveling.

Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) COVID-19 Testing

  • Cost: $250 (Rapid PCR), $130 (PCR), $70 (Antigen/Rapid)
    • Location: Terminal E, pre-security
    • Results: Same Day (Rapid PCR), 48 to 72 hours (PCR), same day (Antigen/Rapid)
    • Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (walk-ins only, can pre-register)

Rhode Island

Testing on arrival is offered at Rhode Island’s Warwick airport in Providence.

Warwick (PVD) COVID-19 Testing

  • Cost: Free (only for arriving passengers)
    • Location: Baggage claim
    • Results: 15 min (Antigen/Rapid)
    • Hours: Depends on arriving flights

Texas: COVID-19 Testing

Texans are lucky to find COVID-19 testing at both of their major international airports.

There are PCR testing options available at both major airports in Dallas and Houston, with rapid results available.

Dallas DFW Int’l Airport COVID-19 Testing: Collinson

  • Cost: $249 (Rapid PCR), $39 (Antigen)
    • Location: Terminal D (Pre-security, D22), D7 & D40 Post Security
    • Results: 60 minutes
    • Hours: 0500-2300

Houston Intercontinental Airport (IAH) COVID-19 Testing: XpresCheck

  • Cost: $250 (Rapid PCR), $75 (Antigen)
    • Location: Terminal E, Departures Level (post security)
    • Results: 60 minutes
    • Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (appointment recommended)

Utah

Park City, Utah / COVID-19 testing options

Utah’s Salt Lake City International Airport is served by XpresCheck, offering rapid RT-PCR tests – at a cost.

Salt Lake City International Airport COVID-19 Testing: XpresCheck

  • Cost: $250 (Rapid PCR), $75 (Antigen)
    • Location: Concourse A, First Level
    • Results: 60 minutes
    • Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (appointment recommended)

Vermont

Vermont’s COVID-19 testing center at the Burlington airport is one of the most convenient, with results in 4 hours.

Burlington BTV Airport COVID-19 Testing: Garnet Health

  • Cost: $250 (Rapid PCR)
    • Location: 481 White Street near the Cell Phone Lot
    • Results: 4 hours (Rapid PCR)
    • Hours: M-F 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (appointment only)

Virginia

Washington Reagan (DCA) now offers PCR testing with rapid results
Best things to do on a Washington DCA layover: get a Covid PCR test.

In Virginia, both major airports are served by XpresCheck, offering PCR results as soon as 60 minutes.

COVID-19 Testing at Airports in Virginia:

Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD): XpresCheck

  • Cost: $250 (Rapid PCR), $75 (Antigen)
    • Location: Baggage Claim Lower Level (near Door 1)
    • Results: 60 minutes
    • Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (appointment recommended)

Washington-Reagan National Airport: XpresCheck

  • Cost: $250 (Rapid PCR), $75 (Antigen)
    • Location: National Hall (post-security, near Terminal B checkpoint)
    • Results: 60 minutes
    • Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (appointment recommended)

Washington

Once again, XpresCheck comes to save the day, serving Seattle Tacoma’s International Airport with ample COVID-19 testing options.

COVID-19 Testing in Washington:

Seattle SEA Int’l Airport: Xprescheck

  • Cost: $250 (Rapid PCR), $75 (Antigen)
    • Location: Main Terminal (between baggage carousels 9 and 10)
    • Results: 60 minutes
    • Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (appointment recommended)

At-Home Tests

At-home COVID testing is another solution, but beware that most countries do NOT accept them.

If you’re not able to find a testing center with adequate return times for results (or at all), there are always at-home tests you can take.

Related: 10 Reasons You Should Avoid COVID-19 Self Test Kits for Travel

However, most countries do not accept results from at-home tests. Make sure to check the specifics before your travels.

LetsGetChecked

  • 2 to 5-day turnaround time (48-hour average)
  • $120 (PCR)

Questdirect Active Infection

  • 24-48 hour average turnaround
  • $120 (PCR)

Everwell COVID-19 Test Home Collection Kits

  • 24-72 hour turnaround
  • $109 (PCR)

emPower At-Home COVID-19 Nasal PCR Test

  • 48 hour turnaround
  • $99 (PCR)

Follow the instructions thoroughly, as the worst thing to happen right before your travels would be to have an incomplete test.

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