Delta resumes international travel with new testing protocols for “COVID-free” flights

ATLANTA — Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines wants to make sure passengers stay safe and COVID-free.

The airline is resuming some flights to international destinations and that will mean passengers will need to get tested for the virus.

Channel 2′s Tom Jones was at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, where he got a behind-the-scenes look at how this will be done.

“You can never be too careful,” said flyer Glenda Elizondo, who is traveling to Amsterdam then onto Istanbul.

Elizondo says she takes extra precautions to stay “COVID-free” and she strongly supports Delta’s new COVID-tested flights to Amsterdam and Rome.

“Especially at my age. You know I need all the protection that I can,” she said.

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The flights from Atlanta are only to Rome and Amsterdam. Jones visited international terminal at the Atlanta airport Tuesday as Delta explained its plans.

Delta announced in November its plans to resume international travel with “quarantine-free, COVID-free” flights to select cities. The program allows travelers to begin their travels without having to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

Passengers will have to have a negative COVID-19 test days before they arrive at Hartsfield-Jackson and a second negative test at the gate. They must then test negative upon arriving at their destination.

“Everybody will have gotten two negative tests when they get on the airplane,” said Perry Cantarutti.


Anyone who tests positive at their departing airport will take another test. What happens if that second one is also positive?

“Then we’ll actually put them in an N-95 mask then they’ll be escorted with EMS off of the premises,” said Dr. Stefen Ammon with Dispatch Health.

Elizondo told Jones it doesn’t bother her to have to take so many tests. She said it’s a small price to pay if we’re going to get rid of the virus and get air travel back to where it was.

“If I have to take 10, I will take 10,” she said. “If that’s what it’s going to take to get on this flight to go wherever, sign me up.”

Delta said passengers will have to pay for the cost of the test before they arrive, but the tests at the airport are included in the ticket.

The first flight to Amsterdam happened Tuesday night while the flights to Rome start Saturday.

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