As I traveled to Finland from Mexico this weekend (to get the jab tomorrow), I had to look into various flight options from Mexico City to Helsinki and what test requirements are required by airlines or transit countries.
Finland currently cannot require a negative test from citizens or permanent residents that arrive in the country, as it is against the law. Still, they have convinced Finnair, majority-owned by the government, and the boat companies to require one. You can arrive using other airlines, such as Lufthansa, but you may need to do a complimentary test at the airport.
You can access MedLife’s website here.
I wrote a piece earlier about award options on United and Aegean (read more here). I ended up redeeming MileagePlus miles for a one-way from Mexico City to Helsinki through Frankfurt.
Germany requires everyone arriving in the country, even those in transit, to have a negative Covid-19 test administered not more than 48 hours of ARRIVAL to the country. They do, however, accept several tests, including fast antigen ones (no PCR-RT required).
I, however, decided to do a PCR-RT in Mexico City, as I was not too keen to have my nose massaged around midnight in Helsinki (last time I felt like they were pushing it through my brain) and was looking for fast turnaround options that would fulfill both the Frankfurt and Helsinki requirements.
A friend of mine had used this Mexican company called MedLife earlier in April. They’ll send someone to take the sample at your residence or hotel and deliver the results in less than 24 hours.
I arranged the test through chat on their website, and they promised to have the results by 8 AM on Saturday when the test is administered on Friday afternoon. They also confirmed all the details through WhatsApp.
We decided that they would come to take the nose and throat samples between 2 PM – 3 PM on Friday afternoon. The representative came at 2:40 PM.
Hilton Reforma had a special room on the first floor that could be used to take samples.
He took the samples.
The test price was 2,500 MXN in cash or 2,900 MXN with a receipt and a credit card charge.
Sprayed every single note that I gave him.
And also left a note how I could get the results, if I did not get them by email or WhatsApp (both arrived just fine).
The results came through at 7:37 AM on Saturday morning. The test result was in Spanish, but with an additional page with English translation.
The leaflet that they give you has an image that looks like someone is merely massaging the smiling lady’s nose. If they do it properly, it feels rather uncomfortable.
The tests were good enough for Lufthansa (checked twice in Mexico City), but the automated passport gates in Frankfurt didn’t care about the results at all (connecting flight).
Here are my previous experiences of having Covid-19 in Brazil and various tests I have done:
This test in Mexico City was the most painless and reasonably priced so far that I have paid for, and the results came fast (Helsinki and Paris were both free).
Also, I like when you can make the reservation using a chat and/or WhatsApp, and they were very responsive. I’ll probably use them again in early June (when I need one to enter Brazil).
The Hilton concierge with whom I chatted told me they suggest some cheaper options to their guests, but their turnaround time is 24 to 48 hours. I needed one that was less than 48 hours old when arriving to Frankfurt.
I need to do two tests in May to travel to Barcelona through Amsterdam from Tallinn and another when flying from Barcelona to Mexico City, transiting via Amsterdam (again). Spain requires a PCR-RT test that will take care of the whatever Netherlands requires for the first transit.
I need to check later what Netherlands requires from transit passengers when I am flying to Mexico in mid-May from Spain because the destination country doesn’t require one (if a fast antigen test is enough or if they require PCR-RT).
These test requirements, what is required if any, change frequently, so you cannot plan too much in advance.