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Delta Launches Contact Tracing for Inbound Travelers to US

Five pieces of information will be shared with the CDC to speed notification of potential COVID-19 exposure

December 7, 2020

Beginning Dec. 15, Delta Air Lines has announced it will be the first US airline to ask customers traveling to the US from an international location to voluntarily provide these five pieces of information to aid contact tracing and public health follow-up efforts:

• Full name

• E-mail address

• Address in the US

• Primary phone

• Secondary phone

By sharing five pieces of information, inbound travelers can help US government and health officials reduce instances of potential exposure and provide travelers with important public health information.

The airline says it is partnering with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to keep international customers informed of potential COVID-19 exposure through contact tracing.

Currently, if a passenger is confirmed to be infectious while traveling, the CDC has to request a passenger manifest from Delta to identify all customers seated two seats around the confirmed case. This information is then transmitted to the appropriate local health departments for follow-up in their own jurisdiction.

The new process aims to streamline contact-tracing efforts by directly and securely transmitting the five requested customer data points to the CDC via US Customs and Border Protection. This will allow the CDC to dramatically decrease the time it takes to notify affected customers via local health departments.

The airline says the customer data collected through this voluntary process is sent to the CDC using established channels between airlines and CBP for the Advance Passenger Information System, assuring the security and privacy of the data.

Customers and those in their itinerary can voluntarily participate in the contact-tracing program if they are:

• Flying on any Delta-operated flight

• A foreign national and/or a US passport holder traveling to the United States as your final destination

The submission of contact information will be required on Delta’s trial program of a new multiple test protocol to enable “COVID-free” flights between the US and Italy. Beginning Dec. 19, Delta is relaunching its route between Atlanta and Rome Fiumicino limited to passengers who are willing to subject themselves to a series of tests for the virus:

• A COVID Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test taken up to 72 hours before departure

• A rapid test administered at the airport in Atlanta before boarding

• A rapid test on arrival in Rome-Fiumicino

• A rapid test at Rome-Fiumicino before departure to the United States

Only passengers who have gone through the testing procedure and whose results are negative will be permitted to board the flights.

“Along with our nine global airline partners, we are working with government agencies, health officials and aviation authorities to offer safer travel at every point in your journey,” the airline said in a statement.