Delta Air Lines is growing its quarantine-free flights to Italy. With a new partnership with Italian flag carrier Alitalia, the airline has now doubled its offering of quarantine-free flights to Italy. These flights, however, are only open for essential travelers.
Delta expands quarantine-free flights to Italy
Delta Air Lines is now codesharing with its Italian partner, Alitalia, on COVID-tested flights from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Rome’s Fiumicino Airport (FCO).
Delta’s Senior Vice President Alliances and International, Perry Cantarutti, stated the following in a press release viewed by Simple Flying:
“Offering codeshares on our COVID-tested routes between two of the largest airport hubs in the U.S. and Italy is the latest in Delta and Alitalia’s longstanding partnership of delivering choice and convenience for our customers. These pilot programs are creating a blueprint for COVID-safe, quarantine-free travel that combines rigorous testing with extensive cleanliness and hygiene measures to help reopen international travel on a broader scale and restart the global economy.”
On the other side of the Atlantic, Giancarlo Zeni, Alitalia’s Managing Director, offered the following comment:
“By expanding the range of flights to and from Italy that include testing protocols, Alitalia demonstrates its commitment to deliver travel experiences in total safety. We were the first company to introduce COVID- tested flights, with the Rome-Milan route first, then with flights from New York and now from Atlanta, together with our partner Delta. We want to help restore confidence to travelers, remembering that the plane remains the safest means of transport, even in this pandemic period. Our instruments and the filters we use inside the aircraft make the air quality comparable to that of a surgical room.”
To qualify for quarantine-free entry in Italy and board this flight, a customer will need to test negative both before departure and on arrival in Rome. Customers must have a PCR test taken within 48 hours of scheduled departure time. There is an option to take a rapid antigen test at the JFK airport.
Delta’s existing quarantine-free flight
Delta offers a quarantine-free flight to Rome on its own metal from its largest hub at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL). This Airbus A330-run flight requires a negative PCR result taken up to 72 hours prior to departure, a rapid test administered at ATL, a rapid test on arrival at FCO, and a rapid test at FCO before departure to the US.
Unfortunately, neither of these quarantine-free flights open up international travel to leisure passengers. Only essential travelers are allowed to fly between the two countries. All Italy-imposed and US-imposed travel restrictions will remain in effect.
Growing quarantine-free travel
FCO wants to expand its quarantine-free travel trials to more destinations. Both airlines and airports want quarantine-free travel to expand so more people can fly with fewer restrictions in effect. However, few destinations currently have quarantine-free travel options for international tourists.
Both Alitalia and Delta operate quarantine-free flights already. Delta also flies quarantine-free flights to the Netherlands with its Dutch partner KLM. Meanwhile, Alitalia has flown quarantine-free flights from New York to Rome since December.
Airlines are hopeful that the growing number of vaccinations given will lead to the loosening of entry restrictions. So far, the rollout has been cumbersome, and few countries have fully fleshed out what their plan will be for vaccinated passengers.
Delta’s move will allow it to sell another quarantine-free flight, but like the Atlanta to Rome one, it is more of a template of working with partners on a safe reopening of international travel. Absent government guidelines, airlines have hoped their work can lay the foundation for reopening travel in time for summer.
Despite the doom and gloom predictions some may offer about travel never reopening, there is light at the end of the tunnel. As of writing, enough people have not been vaccinated to hit enough community immunity in most locations around the world, so there is still time for governments, airlines, and travel industry groups to form a plan to restart international travel.
Are you glad to see Delta add a codeshare with Alitalia for quarantine-free flights to Italy from New York? Let us know in the comments!