Delta Air Lines launches industry’s first contact tracing for travellers returning to U.S.


  • By sharing five simple pieces of information, customers can help U.S. government and health officials reduce instances of potential exposure and provide the traveller with important public health information
  • Delta leads industry effort to track global pandemic, protect customers
  • The submission of contact information will be a required element of Delta’s COVID-19 testing program enabling quarantine-free entry to Italy beginning Dec. 19     

Delta is partnering with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to keep international customers informed of potential COVID-19 exposure through contact tracing. Along with nine global airline partners, Delta is working with government agencies, health officials and aviation authorities to offer safer travel at every point in the journey.

Beginning Dec. 15, Delta will become the first U.S. airline to ask customers travelling to the U.S. from an international location to voluntarily provide five pieces of data to aid contact tracing and public health follow-up efforts, including:

  • Full name
  • Email address
  • Address in the U.S.
  • Primary phone
  • Secondary phone

Independent studies have shown that the many layers of protection Delta has already put in place are effectively minimising the risk of COVID-19 transmission, and contact tracing adds one more important layer to our efforts to ensure safety throughout travel,” said Bill Lentsch, Delta’s Chief Customer Experience Officer. “We want customers to feel safe when they return to travel, and this voluntary program is another way we can provide additional reassurance to customers and employees alike.”

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

  • Flying on any Delta operated flight
  • A foreign national and/or a U.S. passport holder travelling to the United States as their final destination

Under the new process, Delta is working with the CDC to streamline contact-tracing efforts by directly and securely transmitting the five requested customer data points to the CDC via U.S. Customs and Border Protection. This will give the CDC access to the data in moments, dramatically decreasing the time it takes to notify affected customers via local health departments.

By connecting with customers more quickly and providing public health follow-up, health authorities can help reduce instances of potential exposure and slow the spread of the virus.

Currently, in the event of confirmed COVID-19 case with travel while infectious, the CDC requests 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, with each department taking responsibility for passengers in their own jurisdiction.

Data is central to Delta’s vision for the future of travel, and the airline understands its vision is only as good as the trust customers place in Delta to protect their identity and information. All data submitted by customers through this voluntary collection process is sent to the CDC using established channels between airlines and U.S. Customs and Border Protection for the Advance Passenger Information System. Delta will retain this information for no longer than is necessary to achieve the contact tracing and public health follow-up objectives, or as required by Customs and Border Protection.

Protecting customers’ security and privacy are top priorities for all Delta employees, and customers can be confident their information will be treated with the same level of care it takes for their safety throughout their travel journey.

Contact tracing required for Atlanta-Rome testing programme

Last week Delta announced a partnership with the Aeroporti de Roma and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to launch a first-of-its-kind trans-Atlantic COVID-19 testing programme that will enable quarantine-free entry into Italy. Participating customers who are eligible to travel will be granted an exemption from quarantine restrictions on arrival into Italy.

As part of this pilot programme, contact-tracing information collection will be mandatory for all customers flying to the U.S. This pilot and the ongoing contact-tracing efforts are crucial steps to resuming international travel safely.

Contact tracing bolsters the Delta CareStandard

Contacting tracing is one of the latest ways of ensuring the safety of employees, customers and their communities. From blocking middle seats through March 30, 2021, requiring masks throughout the travel experience and rolling out more than 100 actions for travellers’ safety – Delta CareStandard – Delta is continuing to adapt as the pandemic evolves.



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