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Delta Launches Fully-Tested, Quarantine-Free Flights to Italy
Beginning Sunday, Delta Air Lines customers can use the airline’s Covid-19 test-mandatory flights for non-essential travel to Italy without needing to go through the standard quarantine period. As a result, the Atlanta-based airline will expand its offering to cities in Italy, including increased frequencies to Rome and Milan and reinstated service to Venice.
To utilize these flights, travelers are required to submit a PCR Covid-19 test at most 72 hours before departure, submit to a rapid Covid-19 test at the airport and submit to a rapid Covid-19 test upon arrival in Italy. If both tests all come back as negative, passengers are free to travel to Italy, exempt from quarantine. Meanwhile, on the way back to the U.S., travelers are required to submit a Covid-19 test 72 hours before departure.
Italy plans to implement these policies from May 16 to July 30 on flights to Canada, Japan, the United Arab Emirates and the U.S. It is unclear which other airlines will take advantage of these new rules.
Currently, the airline offers three services to Italy, including a daily flight from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to Milan, a five-times-weekly service from Atlanta to Rome and a three-times-weekly service from New York to Rome. Flights from Atlanta to Rome and New York to Rome are intended to switch to daily service on May 26 and July 1, respectively.
These flights are operated with the airline’s 293-seat Airbus A330-300, with 34 seats of DeltaOne in a 1-2-1 configuration, 40 seats of Comfort+ in a 2-4-2 configuration and 219 economy-class seats in a 2-4-2 configuration.
Additionally, Delta Air Lines plans to launch and reinstate additional services to Italy. Its three new routes include the resumption of flights from Atlanta and New York to Venice and the launch of flights from Boston to Rome, which was delayed from its initial scheduled start in 2020. Daily flights from New York to Venice commence on July 2, while five-times-weekly services from Atlanta to Venice and daily services from Boston to Rome start on Aug. 2.
These routes will be flown using the airline’s Boeing 767-300ER, featuring 26 seats of Delta One in a 1-2-1 configuration, 35 seats of Delta Comfort+ in a 2-3-2 configuration and 165 economy-class seats in a 2-3-2 configuration. All the flights above will be operated in cooperation with its Italian transatlantic partner, Alitalia.
“Delta was the first U.S. airline to launch quarantine-free service to Italy, and our Covid-tested flights have proved a viable means to restart international travel safely,” Delta’s Executive Vice President Alain Bellemare said. “It is encouraging that the Italian government has taken this step forward to reopen the country to leisure travelers from the U.S. on our dedicated protocol flights and further supporting economic recovery from the global pandemic.”
Signs of Recovery in Europe
Italy is one of the latest countries to implement some form of reopening policy in Europe. Croatia, Greece and Iceland have gotten started with the reopening of their countries for vaccinated travelers, which has led to Delta’s expansion of its services to the three countries.
The Atlanta-based carrier plans to add new daily services from Athens to Atlanta in July and Boston to Reykjavik on May 20. Two weeks ago, Delta Air Lines announced new services from Dubrovnik to New York-JFK, amid the easing of restrictions in Croatia.
However, they are not the only airline taking advantage of these policies. United Airlines has utilized these guidelines to launch new routes to Dubrovnik, Athens and Reykjavik from its hubs in Newark, Washington D.C. and Chicago.
These moves come amid promising signs toward reopening. In April, the president of the European Commission hinted at reopening its borders in months ahead. Additionally, France and Spain are taking steps to reopen their borders to vaccinated individuals the summer.
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