Travel

PCR TEST--anybody have experience with flexibility on the 72-hour window requirement?

  • Last Updated:
  • Oct 3rd, 2021 11:58 am
[OP]
Member
Feb 4, 2018
335 posts
667 upvotes
Toronto

PCR TEST--anybody have experience with flexibility on the 72-hour window requirement?

I am currently in Cozumel. My international flight back to Canada departs Cancun on Sunday, Sept. 19, early afternoon.

I have scheduled a PCR test in Cozumel for Friday, early morning. The hospital administers PCR tests between
7 a.m. and 10 a.m. I would prefer to have the testing done on Thursday, but it would put me outside the "72-hour window" by 3.5 hours. The dates would coincide, but the actual 72 hours would not quite match up. I would prefer wrapping this up on the Thursday. That way' there's more of a safety margin if there's a screw-up/delay in receiving results in a timely manner.

Has anyone else dealt with this issue?
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16 replies
Deal Guru
May 9, 2007
13612 posts
4067 upvotes
Vancouver Island, BC
ElaineB852835 wrote: I am currently in Cozumel. My international flight back to Canada departs Cancun on Sunday, Sept. 19, early afternoon.

I have scheduled a PCR test in Cozumel for Friday, early morning. The hospital administers PCR tests between
7 a.m. and 10 a.m. I would prefer to have the testing done on Thursday, but it would put me outside the "72-hour window" by 3.5 hours. The dates would coincide, but the actual 72 hours would not quite match up. I would prefer wrapping this up on the Thursday. That way' there's more of a safety margin if there's a screw-up/delay in receiving results in a timely manner.

Has anyone else dealt with this issue?
In my experience, border security personnel are not known for not enforcing the law for the convenience of travellers. Face With Tears Of Joy
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Sr. Member
Nov 3, 2003
591 posts
273 upvotes
Toronto
I have personally seen passengers denied boarding for having PCR tests older than 72 hours from the scheduled flight departure to Canada.

Take the test Friday.
[OP]
Member
Feb 4, 2018
335 posts
667 upvotes
Toronto
YYZC2 wrote: I have personally seen passengers denied boarding for having PCR tests older than 72 hours from the scheduled flight departure to Canada.

Take the test Friday.
Good point. I intend to take the test early Friday.

I wonder how situations are resolved when a passengers fulfill their test-taking responsibility (within the 72-hour window) but there is a last minute, unexpected flight delay. In the past, I have seen flights delayed overnight due to weather concerns.
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[OP]
Member
Feb 4, 2018
335 posts
667 upvotes
Toronto
MexiCanuck wrote: In my experience, border security personnel are not known for not enforcing the law for the convenience of travellers. Face With Tears Of Joy
Interesting point. Prior to departing Canada, I did the following:

a) completed the Mexican Immigration form online, printed it off
b) printed off the Mexican Customs Declaration, filled it out
c) completed the Mexican Covid 19 Health Declaration online within their required 12-hour window, saved a screenshot of their coded result

While in transit, flight attendants distributed a Mexican Immigration form which I completed. Upon arrival in Mexico, no one was interested in a, b, or c (above). Immigration asked for the form distributed by the airline. Customs just waved me through.
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Member
Aug 19, 2015
336 posts
259 upvotes
Ajax, ON
ElaineB852835 wrote: I am currently in Cozumel. My international flight back to Canada departs Cancun on Sunday, Sept. 19, early afternoon.

I have scheduled a PCR test in Cozumel for Friday, early morning. The hospital administers PCR tests between
7 a.m. and 10 a.m. I would prefer to have the testing done on Thursday, but it would put me outside the "72-hour window" by 3.5 hours. The dates would coincide, but the actual 72 hours would not quite match up. I would prefer wrapping this up on the Thursday. That way' there's more of a safety margin if there's a screw-up/delay in receiving results in a timely manner.

Has anyone else dealt with this issue?
Dont risk it. Just make sure its within 72 hours.

Funny though that if youre at the airport and your plane is delayed, that test is good i believe for another 48 hours
Deal Fanatic
Jan 12, 2005
5099 posts
1724 upvotes
Mississauga
The airlines are not supposed to let you board if you don't have a valid PCR test result. They claim they get fined if they let you board. If your results does not state PCR (or a valid test method) even if you did take a PCR test, they will not let you board.

If your flight gets delayed, it's ok because the requirement is 72hr before you SCHEDULED departure time for the flight into Canada.
Member
Aug 5, 2007
361 posts
314 upvotes
airline never asked me for the results of the test(westjet). only CBSA once back on Canadian soil, and he looked for a split second doubt he even saw the date, all he cared about is that it said Negative and it was highlighted too.
Deal Fanatic
Jul 4, 2004
7026 posts
3775 upvotes
Ottawa
fromage wrote: airline never asked me for the results of the test(westjet). only CBSA once back on Canadian soil, and he looked for a split second doubt he even saw the date, all he cared about is that it said Negative and it was highlighted too.
Might depend on the airline and how busy. I flew once this year (Canada to US) and everyone had to show their test to board and they kept announcing to make sure we had boarding pass / app and test result ready at the gate for boarding.
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User avatar
Nov 6, 2010
9916 posts
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Montreal, QC
I'd not risk it. The CDC in the US asked for 3 days over 72h specifically to avoid these types of confusion but Canada is going with 72h so stay with it.
Deal Addict
Jan 12, 2007
1137 posts
123 upvotes
Toronto
I witnessed a passenger get rejected from a flight because the lab made a clerical error that made the collection time 1 hour too early.

Guy had to pay $300 USD at the airport to get a re-test.
Member
Jun 4, 2013
381 posts
408 upvotes
GTA
fromage wrote: airline never asked me for the results of the test(westjet). only CBSA once back on Canadian soil, and he looked for a split second doubt he even saw the date, all he cared about is that it said Negative and it was highlighted too.
This may have happened to you but in my two flights recently, the test was scruitinized in both instances. I would definitely stay within the 72 hour window of the original scheduled departure time.
[OP]
Member
Feb 4, 2018
335 posts
667 upvotes
Toronto
Just to update and provide a little info:

1. Received my emailed PCR test result this morning: negative. Also picked up a hard copy. Had it done at the International Hospital for 1499 pesos--24-hour turnaround for results.

2. There's a lab in town that promises results same day, provided you get the test done by 7:40 p.m.. They close at 8 p.m. Cost is 1800 pesos.

3. When out strolling, spoke with a technician at a "farmacia" who did PCR tests for 1900 pesos. But they would administer the test outside the 72-hour window, adjust the date and time of the test result so that it tees up with your international flight.

Lots of choices!
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Deal Fanatic
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Nov 6, 2010
9916 posts
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Montreal, QC
On a somewhat related note, has anyone dealt with major timezone differences when counting the 72h if you're on a connecting flight? I don't think it really happens nowadays with the current volume but it may come up as a potential scenario in the future as they open up travel destinations and not all of them being direct flights.
Sr. Member
Oct 22, 2016
877 posts
795 upvotes
Comox Valley
uber_shnitz wrote: On a somewhat related note, has anyone dealt with major timezone differences when counting the 72h if you're on a connecting flight? I don't think it really happens nowadays with the current volume but it may come up as a potential scenario in the future as they open up travel destinations and not all of them being direct flights.
On this the feds have put this on their website
https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid/trave ... nto-canada

“ If you have a connecting flight:
the test must be conducted within 72 hours of the scheduled departure time of your last direct flight to Canada
you may need to schedule the test in your transit city”

On another note some airlines, such as KLM will allow to submit your COVID requirements, within 3 days off your flight. So if you have concerns that your docs will not be approved at the airport, submit it before hand to see what they say. I had to submit my COVID vaccines proof, my results of my PCR testing, and arrivecan app receipt (that I applied on there). Within 1 hour KLM told me all my docs with approved, and I did not have to show KLM at the airport, but show the email they sent to me with approval.

Update 3 days later on my post, about KLM. Regardless of them accepting my COVID test by email. Twice at the airport, I had to reconfirm all my requirements with them. So if you do get an email confirmation, it is worthless. At least in my case, they double checked.
Last edited by User452441 on Oct 7th, 2021 12:18 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Nov 6, 2010
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Montreal, QC
User452441 wrote: On this the feds have put this on their website
https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid/trave ... nto-canada

“ If you have a connecting flight:
the test must be conducted within 72 hours of the scheduled departure time of your last direct flight to Canada
you may need to schedule the test in your transit city”

On another note some airlines, such as KLM will allow to submit your COVID requirements, within 3 days off your flight. So if you have concerns that your docs will not be approved at the airport, submit it before hand to see what they say. I had to submit my COVID vaccines proof, my results of my PCR testing, and arrivecan app receipt (that I applied on there). Within 1 hour KLM told me all my docs with approved, and I did not have to show them at the airport, but show the email they sent to me with approval.
Fair point about the layover city testing, I was just curious if say you "lost" any of that 72h to timezone differences or not.

I recently did this (west coast to east coast) and my connecting airport had no testing sites so I got tested in the west coast but I was curious when I counted 72h from my east coast flight up to Canada, whether I needed to remove 3h for the timezones or not (since in my case it was the difference between an end of day testing or waiting till the next morning). I'm probably overthinking it because in the end it didn't matter because they checked my test at the beginning of my itinerary (in PST timezone).
Sr. Member
Oct 22, 2016
877 posts
795 upvotes
Comox Valley
uber_shnitz wrote: Fair point about the layover city testing, I was just curious if say you "lost" any of that 72h to timezone differences or not.

I recently did this (west coast to east coast) and my connecting airport had no testing sites so I got tested in the west coast but I was curious when I counted 72h from my east coast flight up to Canada, whether I needed to remove 3h for the timezones or not (since in my case it was the difference between an end of day testing or waiting till the next morning). I'm probably overthinking it because in the end it didn't matter because they checked my test at the beginning of my itinerary (in PST timezone).
No I did not lose any time due to the time zone, but I did lose a couple hours in not taking into account the connecting flight, and short lay over. I do not think their is a problem in overthinking this, best to be safe than sorry.

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