Collinson

Collinson review: Private COVID-19 testing for travel

Our review covers which COVID-19 tests Collinson offers and what customers say about the service.

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Name Product Test purpose Test type Test location Price (from) Key benefits
Collinson Lateral Flow (Antigen) Fit to Fly
Pre-departure from the UK
Lateral flow (antigen)
Airport, Clinic
£19.60
Collinson PCR Fit to Fly
Pre-departure from the UK
PCR
Airport, Clinic
£55.20
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Travelling abroad this year means you’ll need to arrange a COVID-19 test when returning to the UK. On 30 November, the UK government tighten the rules for international arrivals to the UK, stating they must take a PCR day 2 test regardless of vaccination status. All tests must be paid for using a private provider; NHS tests are not permitted.

In this review, we cover prices for tests from the private test provider, Collinson, and share customer reviews of the company, which has garnered largely positive feedback.

The "Verified" ribbon appears on products from providers that Finder works with, and these are subject to further checks by Finder. Unless otherwise stated, all brands in the table are on the government's list of providers meeting minimum standards for performance and safety for the relevant test type.

What is Collinson?

Collinson offers various services, from customer engagement to travel insurance, but also has a team dedicated to medical and security assistance, under which COVID-19 testing is included. Collinson has testing facilities near airports around the UK including London City, Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted, East Midlands and Manchester airports.

Its lab and additional Point of Care Testing sites are accredited by UKAS, the government-appointed accreditation body, and Collinson features on the UK government website.

What types of COVID tests can I get from Collinson?

Collinson provides lateral flow (antigen), PCR and LAMP tests, and its website provides an easy way to check which test(s) you need. Collinson offers test facilities at the airport, in its clinics or from the comfort of your home – both self-swab and video-supervised options.

Collinson customer reviews

Collinson generally has positive reviews on Trustpilot with a 73% excellence rating out of 5,544 reviews (as of 10 November 2021).
Many customers complimented the quick and easy process at its testing centres, with well informed and courteous staff and prompt results. Mentions of 30 to 45 minutes to receive a result are common, meaning fewer people were stressed before catching their flights.

Out of the “bad” reviews, the standout complaint was Collinson’s chatbot response times were slow to queries. There is no option to call Collinson – only the chatbot and enquiry forms are available.

Are Collinson tests accurate?

Collinson’s test standards are measured by sensitivity (whether someone is infected with the virus where PCR is most sensitive of all tests) and specificity (the test’s ability to establish the difference between the COVID-19 virus and another virus).

Information on the accuracy of Collinson’s tests is not readily available. However, all COVID-19 test providers listed on the UK government website have to have “demonstrated compliance with the applicable minimum standards” and at least be going through the 3-stage accreditation by UKAS, the government-appointed accreditation body.

No test is 100% reliable, even those that meet regulatory standards for performance and safety. The results are also only relevant to that sample at that point in time.

How long does it take to get results from Collinson?

  • Pre-Departure PCR Test – Results are typically available within 48 hours.
  • Rapid Pre-Departure PCR Test – Results are typically available within 3 hours.
  • Pre-Departure Antigen Test – Results typically available within 45-60 minutes of test being taken.
  • Pre-Departure Antibody Test – Results are available within 45-60 minutes of test being taken.

What is Collinson’s returns policy?

In-person tests can be cancelled up to 3 hours before the booked appointment. Once within 3 hours they are unable to be cancelled and are non-refundable.

Collinson does not cancel or refund remote testing like the “pre-return video test” due to the medical nature of the product.

How much do Collinson tests cost?

The most popular of all of Collinson’s tests are the unsupervised antigen self-tests for pre-departure (£19.60) and the day 2 unsupervised antigen tests for arrivals (£24.50).

Pre-departure PCR tests (available from Heathrow and Gatwick airports) can cost as little as £55.20.

Pros and cons of Collinson

Pros

  • Government-listed COVID-19 test provider
  • Website is excellent to choose which test you need
  • Efficient testing centres at airports
  • 20% discount on tests
  • Fast results, especially pre-departure tests
  • There are travel updates on its website

Cons

  • Unable to easily contact them
  • Cheaper self swabs are available from other providers
  • Varying response times

Our verdict: Is Collinson any good?

Collinson is a reputable provider with an easy-to-navigate website so you’ll have no problem choosing the test you require. If you’re travelling you can take Collinson’s pre-departure tests on the day at an airport and results are available within an hour – a definite burden off your mind.

It’s possible to amend and cancel bookings on its website, as well as check your results, though if any issues arise waiting times for a response may be long. Its lack of a phone service and slow chatbot responses are Collinson’s downside.

Overall, we would recommend using its services, especially at its testing centres.

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