Mateusz Maszczynski is a serving international flight attendant with experience…
Delta Air Lines has become the fourth airline to launch a transatlantic COVID-19 testing trial which the airline claims will create Coronavirus-free flights and allow quarantine-free entry into Italy. Through its testing program, along with other health protection measures and limiting capacity to just 60 per cent, Delta claims the chance of catching COVID-19 on one of these flights is nearly one in a million.
In order to catch one of Delta’s special COVID-tested flights between Atlanta Hartsfield and Rome-Fiumicino, passengers will need to take three separate tests. This includes a PCR test up to 72 hours before departure, along with a rapid test before boarding the plane in Atlanta and another rapid test on arrival in Rome.
The testing program will then exempt passengers from undergoing quarantine on arrival in accordance with a decree expected to be issued soon by the government of Italy. The program does not, however, lift the general ban on U.S. citizens entering Italy or most other European countries because of Coronavirus travel restrictions.
As a result, only U.S. citizens permitted to travel to Italy for essential reasons, such as for work, health and education, as well as all European Union and Italian citizens will be allowed to fly between Atlanta and Rome for the time being.
In the opposite direction, passengers will be expected to take just one rapid test before boarding in Rome.
Earlier this month, United launched a COVID-19 testing trial on select flights from Newark to London Heathrow using rapid tests administered before boarding. Both American Airlines and British Airways are trialling pre-departure and arrival testing on certain flights from Dallas Fort Worth, New York JFK and Los Angeles to London Heathrow.
Unlike the Delta and United flights, passengers travelling with American Airlines or British Airways can opt-out of the trial which the airline’s hope will provide data that shows testing is a safe alternative to quarantine restrictions that put people off travelling.
Delta chief executive Ed Bastian, however, poured cold water on the idea of opening up a ‘travel corridor’ between New York and London last week, saying it would easier to begin a trial program in nearly any other destination in Europe.
It now appears that Bastian had his eyes on Rome when making those comments to the Financial Times.
“Carefully designed COVID-19 testing protocols are the best path for resuming international travel safely and without quarantine until vaccinations are widely in place,” explained Steve Sear, Delta’s president for international operations.
“Safety is our core promise – it’s at the center of this pioneering testing effort and it’s the foundation of our standards for cleanliness and hygiene to help customers feel confident when they fly Delta,” he continued.
Further details about the trial and what flights will be affected are yet to be revealed.
Mateusz Maszczynski is a serving international flight attendant with experience at a major Middle East and European airline. Mateusz is passionate about the aviation industry and helping aspiring flight attendants achieve their dreams. Cabin crew recruitment can be tough, ultra-competitive and just a little bit confusing - Mateusz has been there and done that. He's got the low down on what really works.