Southwest Will Now Mail You Discounted COVID Tests for International Travel

Returning to the US from your next vacation just got a little easier.


International travel rules are still a headache thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but Southwest Airlines just made the process a little easier. The fan-favorite carrier recently announced a partnership with Bay Area healthcare company CityHealth to mail passengers discounted at-home COVID-19 testing kits they can use to re-enter the US.

Travelers heading abroad on Southwest can purchase a discounted RapidReturn test kit before or after snagging those plane tickets so they can test themselves prior to their flight home. Each pack, which CityHealth will mail to you, includes two CDC-approved Rapid Antigen tests and a virtual appointment with a testing specialist who supervises the process. Passengers only need an internet connection and a video-enabled device like a smartphone or laptop to complete the test and receive a certificate of their results, with appointments available 24/7.

The CDC updated its travel guidelines back in December, requiring all international travelers—regardless of citizenship status—to provide proof of a negative COVID test result within 24 hours of their flight. The latest Southwest rollout makes compliance easier for its customers.

"Since it was launched, the RapidReturn kit has been one of our most popular COVID testing options," CEO of CityHealth Sean Parkin said in the announcement. "We're thrilled to be working with Southwest Airlines to offer their passengers an easy, accurate, affordable, and convenient way to return home safely. The quick return of results will help Southwest passengers stay in compliance with the new one-day testing rule."

The testing kits, which typically retail for $75, are available to Southwest customers for $50. Passengers can purchase the discounted RapidReturn test kits online.

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Megan Schaltegger is a staff writer at Thrillist.