Government lateral flow test provider site crash causes travel misery

Government lateral flow test provider web site crash causes travel misery for thousands

The UK government’s online list of lateral flow test providers crashed on its first day of launch. This came amid much criticism that many of the cheaper options were not available.

From this coming Sunday, (October 24), fully vaccinated arrivals in England can opt for a day-two lateral flow test instead of a more expensive PCR option.

The list of providers went live on Friday morning (October 22) to make it easier for travellers to order their tests – however, within minutes there were reports the site had crashed. When it did eventually go live, many users found it difficult to find a provider with tests for sale.

On Friday evening, the site displayed a message saying it was “offline for maintenance due to high demand”.

It added: “While we work to bring the site fully online, please find below a list of providers that currently offer Lateral Flow Tests.” The list has 24 providers, with prices shown between £18 and £39.

Julia Lo Bue-Said, Advantage Travel Partnership chief executive, said on Twitter on Friday morning: “If you’re overseas right now, trying to complete a dreaded #passengerlocatorform in the knowledge that you can now pre-order a cheaper lateral flow test – you won’t be able to unless you can establish which private test providers have been authorised. The gov website is down.

“The government’s own pages showing private lateral flow test providers has crashed. Before it crashed it was showing misleading pricing, incorrect information and the navigation was clunky. It launched today #travel”

“This is appalling. An embarrassing mess, it’s not difficult to get right and now the system appears to be unavailable,” she added.

Rory Boland, Which? Travel editor, also tweeted, saying: “The government has released its list of day two lateral flow providers. The problem? The first two providers on the list don’t sell day 2 lateral flow tests. Shambolic.”


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Ron Howells

Ron actually started his working career as an Ophthalmic Technician- things changed when, during a band rehearsal, his amplifier blew up and he couldn’t get it fixed so he took a course at Birmingham University and ended up doing a degree course. He built up a chain of electronics stores and sold them as a franchise over 35 years ago. After five years touring the world Ron decided to move to Spain with his wife and son, a place they had visited over the years, and only bought the villa they live in because it has a guitar-shaped swimming pool!. Playing the guitar since the age of 7, he can often be seen, (and heard!) at beach bars and clubs along the length of the coast. He has always been interested in the news and constantly thrives to present his articles in an interesting and engaging way.