Flying from Phoenix to Japan? Part 1
The cost of flying to Japan is no longer just the price of a plane ticket. You also have to deal with getting a certification that you are free of Covid-19 that satisfies the Japanese government. And if you are not careful you can get hit with a hidden extra charge for that! And from personal experience that can HURT!
At least three companies in the Phoenix area offer RT-RVR services for those traveling to Japan. All three have varying rates and schedules for results. I had one test this past week within one company and due to a plane delay and cancellation, now have to get another one this week, and hopefully will not have to test the services of a third company next week.
But let's start this story at the beginning..........
As I write this on the 25th of April, I should be in Matsuzaki at the present time. I was scheduled to leave on Delta at 6:00 AM Sunday and arrive in Haneda on Monday afternoon at 2:00. However, I am still in Surprise, AZ (a northwest suburb of Phoenix) due to Delta postponing the flight to Seattle until around 11:00 AM Sunday which is the time scheduled for the flight to Japan....obviously I was not going to be able to make it. Delta gave me a choice of taking a flight Sunday to Atlanta and then arriving in Japan on Tuesday in the afternoon at 2:20 or so. I choose to wait a week and leave on the following Sunday, May 1st.
The delay meant that the $300 I paid for my Delta/Japanese government-required covid-19 test would have to be repeated AND paid for again.
Ok, my choice. If I had taken Delta up on their flight via Atlanta, I would not have had to retake the test. I can't complain about that but what really, really got my temper to a higher than normal level was the hidden fee of having to pay an additional amount of money beyond the covid testing if I wished to have the signature of a doctor (which is required by the Japanese government) and a QR code.
Unfortunately, the email from Delta concerning the delayed flight arrived after I had taken the Covid test! Fortunately, the same email came before I spent additional money to get a doctor's signature and a QR code.
OK! The bright--side of the picture.....Now that I had the time, I decided to do a little bit more research into what other facilities are available in the Valley of the Sun and found out that I can save $178!!!! And I really want to share this information with you! Just to be upfront, I am not getting any rebate or recompense from any of the companies I am going to introduce in this article. Enabling others not to make the mistake that I did is satisfaction enough.
I am listing three companies here, one of which I have used, one which I am in the process of using and one that I haven't. The one that I decided not to use is the least expensive by far but the time they take for the results to be made available seems a bit lengthy and so I decided not to risk using it.
Covid Clinic (www.covidclinic.org)
Covid Clinic has three facilities located in the Phoenix area. One is in Chandler, another in Glendale, and one more near Sky Harbour.
The website does not display prices until you get three steps into the sign-up process.
The website does not tell you that the price doesn't include a doctor's signature (apparently included in the Japan Entry form) or a QR until after you receive the results of the test. There is a small link at the bottom that directs you to a different website to get those items plus a filled-in Japan Entry Form if you wish. These items are a separate price from the price you are given after purchasing the $319 "Best for Travel" offering. The add-ons...but required add-ons, cost you an additional $10 for the QR and $49 for the Japan Entry Form.
Here is a table to look at the addresses, services, and prices offered by Covid Clinic
Total Price for Covid Clinic: $378
Affordable Rapid Testing (www.affordablerapidtesting.com)
I haven't yet used this company but have an appointment scheduled for this coming Saturday the 30th of April. The website is upfront with the prices and services. Also if you pay online, you get a coupon for $50!!!!!!. The price includes the doctor's signature and a QR code. While a Japan Entry Form is not included, this is not a requirement. Other than the normal Entry Form, I didn't use the special form provided by the Japanese government when I went to Japan last year.
Total Price for Affordable Rapid Testing: $199 using the "Same Day by 9PM RT-PCR/Rapid Antigen" offering with the coupon!
Valley Shield (www.valleyshieldaz.com)
I haven't used this company's services but it is so reasonable that I thought I would post it anyway. Even if they doubled the price for their RT-PCR test and provided same-day service, it would be well worth it!