If you’ve been anxiously waiting to plan a trip to Italy, your wait is over.
In a calculated move to gradually reopen in time for the summer tourist season, Italy now welcomes travelers who arrive on COVID-tested flights from the U.S., Canada, Japan, and the United Arab Emirates. In response, Delta, and then American Airlines, announced they are offering such flights.
“It’s encouraging that the Italian government has taken this step forward to reopen the country to leisure travelers from the U.S. on dedicated protocol flights and further support economic recovery from the global pandemic,” Alain Bellemare, Delta’s executive vice president and president – International, said in a statement.
A Cautious Reopening
Italy was the first European country to experience a COVID-19 outbreak. There still are approximately 200 deaths a day from COVID-19, a U.S. News article reports. On the other hand, after country-wide lockdowns and amid an accelerating vaccination campaign, Italy’s confirmed caseload has dropped to fewer than 10,000 a day, the article notes.
With these numbers in mind, Italy’s Minister of Health, Roberto Speranza, recently signed an order which relaxes entry requirements for travelers arriving from the EU, Great Britain, and Israel. A separate order allows travelers from the U.S., Canada, Japan, and the United Arab Emirates to avoid a quarantine period when arriving in Italy — as long as they arrive on COVID-tested flights.
Delta quickly announced it will offer COVID-tested international flights between the U.S. and Italy.
Here’s how Delta’s program works. Before boarding a flight, travelers must “take a COVID-19 PCR test at a test provider of their choice and provide proof of a negative test result in order to check in for the flight,” Delta explains. “This test is at the customer’s own expense, and the timeframe for testing depends on the flight selected.”
Customers traveling on a Delta flight to Italy will also be required to take a rapid test — at no additional cost — before they depart from the U.S. to Italy.
One important caveat must be emphasized: Proof of having received the COVID-19 vaccine does not exempt customers from testing requirements — or from Delta’s face mask policy.
Delta offers several nonstop COVID-tested routes to Italy. There are flights from Atlanta to Rome five times each week. The carrier also offers daily service between New York’s John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport and Milan. Plus, there are flights from JFK to Rome three times each week — increasing to daily flights in July. Finally, COVID-tested flights are also available on Delta’s trusted partner, Alitalia, between JFK and Rome.
American Airlines recently announced that in response to the change in Italy’s travel restrictions, it is offering COVID-tested flights from JFK to Italy.
Here’s how American’s flights work. Travelers first need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test before a flight, and also again upon arrival in Milan or Rome. After taking a second test at the airport — that produces negative results — travelers can avoid the quarantine period in Italy.
Right now, American offers daily flights between New York’s JFK and Milan. It also offers flights from JFK to Rome three times each week. Finally, American offers flights from Dallas Fort Worth to Rome and “expects those flights to become quarantine-free and open to all travelers in the coming days.”
Know Before You Go
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classifies Italy as a Level 4 country with “very high levels of COVID-19.” The CDC explains that this means “even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants and should avoid all travel to Italy.” If you must travel to Italy, the CDC recommends travelers be fully vaccinated, wear a mask, stay six feet from other people, and avoid crowds.
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