Some U.S. Travelers to Italy Will Be Able to Skip Quarantine With COVID-19-tested Flights

The program is awaiting approval by Italian authorities.

inside the terminal of the international airport of Roma Leonardo Da Vinc
Photo: Matteo Trevisan/NurPhoto via Getty

Some U.S. travelers heading to Rome will be able to skip Italy’s 14-day quarantine next month as part of new pre-flight testing programs with Delta Air Lines and Alitalia.

The new programs will allow travelers headed to Italy (Travel + Leisure’s Destination of the Year) for essential reasons like work or school from Atlanta, New York, and Newark to skip the country’s mandatory quarantine period, The Associated Press reported.

Delta’s program is expected to go into effect on Dec. 19 on flights from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to Rome’s Rome-Fiumicino, according to the carrier. Travelers will have to get a PCR COVID-19 test up to 72 hours before their departure, a rapid test before boarding at the airport in Atlanta, a second rapid test upon arrival at the airport in Rome, and then another rapid test at the airport in Rome before heading back to the U.S.

The program is awaiting approval by Italian authorities.

“Carefully designed COVID-19 testing protocols are the best path for resuming international travel safely and without quarantine until vaccinations are widely in place,” Steve Sear, Delta’s president - international and executive vice president - of global sales, said in a statement. “Safety is our core promise – it’s at the center of this pioneering testing effort and it’s the foundation of our standards for cleanliness and hygiene to help customers feel confident when they fly Delta.”

Aside from Delta’s program, the AP reported participating travelers will have to test negative for the coronavirus within 48 hours of departure as well as upon arrival in Rome.

Rome’s Fiumicino Airport, which offers onsite COVID-19 testing, was the first airport in the world to receive a five-star COVID-19 rating from Skytrax.

The testing protocols run parallel to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines, which recommends travelers get tested three times when flying internationally.

Delta, which has created an interactive map to help travelers navigate restrictions, is not alone in trying to revive transatlantic travel with a comprehensive testing program. British Airways, American Airlines, and United Airlines have each launched pre-flight testing programs for travelers from U.S. cities to London.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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