Travel

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

  • Last Updated:
  • Sep 19th, 2021 1:25 am
[OP]
Newbie
Feb 4, 2018
98 posts
93 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?
13 replies
Deal Guru
May 9, 2007
11630 posts
3460 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
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it." Upton Sinclair

Our house is on fire.” Greta Thunberg
Sr. Member
Nov 3, 2003
577 posts
234 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]
Newbie
Feb 4, 2018
98 posts
93 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.
[OP]
Newbie
Feb 4, 2018
98 posts
93 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.
Newbie
Aug 19, 2015
65 posts
67 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 Addict
Jan 12, 2005
4911 posts
1507 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.
Jr. Member
Aug 5, 2007
183 posts
123 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
6482 posts
2721 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.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Nov 6, 2010
9588 posts
1558 upvotes
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
1134 posts
116 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.
Newbie
Jun 4, 2013
80 posts
51 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]
Newbie
Feb 4, 2018
98 posts
93 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!
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Nov 6, 2010
9588 posts
1558 upvotes
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.

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