Delta and KLM's Pre-flight Testing Program Will Allow Americans to Travel to Amsterdam Without Quarantine
Travelers to Amsterdam may be able to skip The Netherlands’ quarantine when Delta Air Lines and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines start their COVID-19 testing program on flights to the European city next week.
This latest flight testing program, set to start on Dec. 15, will allow passengers on select flights from Atlanta to Amsterdam to participate in multiple tests before and after the flight, according to Delta. If passengers continually test negative, they will be exempt from quarantine upon arrival in the Netherlands.
“Creating COVID-free travel corridors, in addition to the multiple layers of safety and hygiene measures we have implemented… will provide customers – and authorities – greater confidence that they can stay healthy when flying,” Steve Sear, Delta’s president – international and executive vice president - global sales, said in a statement.
While the program, which will initially run for three weeks, would allow customers to skip the Netherlands’ quarantine, currently only travelers headed to the country for essential reasons like work or school will be allowed to go.
Passengers taking part in the program will have to take a COVID-19 PCR test five days before their planned arrival in Amsterdam, take a rapid antigen test before boarding in Atlanta, and then take a second PCR test upon arrival in the Netherlands, according to Delta.
“Until an approved working vaccine is available worldwide, this testing program represents the first step towards the international travel industry’s recovery,” Pieter Elbers, the president and CEO of KLM, said in a statement. “All stakeholders need to work together on a systematic approach to rapid testing and build these tests into the passenger experience, so quarantine measures can be lifted as quickly as possible. This is fundamental to restore passengers’ and governments’ confidence in air travel.”
This won’t be Delta’s first planned effort to help Americans skip an overseas quarantine. Next week the carrier also expects to start a similar pre-flight testing program to Rome, allowing passengers to skip Italy’s mandatory quarantine.
Similarly, British Airways, American Airlines, and United Airlines are experimenting with testing passengers for the contagious virus before they board flights to London in an effort to kickstart transatlantic travel.
Delta has also partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help with contact tracing for international travelers, and next week will begin asking passengers flying to the U.S. to voluntarily provide their names, email addresses, where they will be staying in the U.S., and phone numbers so they can be reached.
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.