DECEMBER 2, 2020

At Ovation, we remain committed to providing excellent service to our valued clients throughout the COVID-19 global pandemic. Click the link below to view our travel resources guide which includes traveler health & safety information, interactive risk maps, client communications, travel management best practices, webinar recordings and more regarding COVID-19.

Delta Air Lines has announced that it has partnered with Aeroporti di Roma (FCO) and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) for a first-of-its-kind trans-Atlantic COVID-19 testing program that will enable quarantine-free entry into Italy. Starting December 19th, Delta’s trial will test travelers and crew on newly relaunched flights from Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport to Rome-Fiumicino International Airport. The tests will exempt from quarantine on arrival in Italy all US citizens permitted to travel to Italy for essential reasons, such as for work, health and education, as well as all European Union and Italian citizens.

To fly on Delta’s COVID-tested flights between Atlanta and Rome, travelers will need to test negative for COVID-19 through the following:
  • 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

Travelers also will be asked to provide information upon entry into the US to support CDC contact-tracing protocols. Delta has engaged expert advisors from Mayo Clinic, a global leader in serious and complex healthcare, to review and assess the customer-testing protocols needed for Delta to execute a COVID-tested flight program.

With holiday travel in full swing and airport passenger traffic at its highest since the start of the pandemic, December is shaping up to be one of the busiest travel months in 2020. Travelers should continue to be aware of the different travel restrictions set in place throughout the country (e.g., quarantine requirements, negative COVID-19 test requirements, state-specific travel forms). While some US states have no restrictions on travel, other state-specific COVID-19 safety information, including possible face covering mandates in public settings, is relevant for travelers. States such as Hawaii, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon and Pennsylvania have updated their travel advisories since last month. Click "Read More" below for a comprehensive list of state-specific travel restrictions and safety mandates currently in place across the US as assembled by CNN.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is reporting that a record-breaking 1,176,091 travelers flew on Sunday after the Thanksgiving holiday, reports Business Insider. It's the first time since March 16th that daily traffic numbers have been that high. From November 19th to November 29th, those days each saw over 900,000 travelers, four of which saw over one million travelers for a total of 10,381,904 travelers. The same period in 2019 saw 25,898,477 travelers. It took airlines seven months to get back to one million travelers in a single day with October 18th seeing 1,031,505 flyers pass through security checkpoints at US airports. The day quickly proved to be an outlier; however, as it took another month and a popular travel holiday for the daily traveler count to rise back to similar levels.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says anyone who traveled for the Thanksgiving holiday should get tested for COVID-19, reports Travel Pulse. The agency is suggesting going for a test three to five days after returning home, and staying home seven full days even if you test negative. Almost 1.2 million people traveled via airplane on Sunday, the biggest aviation day since early March for domestic airlines. Despite improved sanitization at airports, health officials have said travelers should assume they've been infected, urging people to get a COVID test.

Additionally, the CDC is warning Americans against all travel to Mexico as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the country. According to the CDC website, the agency assigned Mexico its highest advisory, saying travel there “may increase your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19.” The warning comes as US airlines bolster their winter schedules with flights to popular beach destinations in Mexico.

The UK’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) has announced its collaboration with four transatlantic carriers for pre-departure Covid-19 testing study, reports Airport Technology. In an attempt to resume international aviation routes, the industry-funded study commissioned by the airport will use real-world data from American Airlines, British Airways, United Airlines and Virgin Atlantic to demonstrate the effectiveness of pre-departure testing for travelers. The concluding report will be shared with governments on both sides of the Atlantic. The study will help in providing a better understanding of how pre-departure testing could safely eliminate the need for self-isolation on arrival. Heathrow will have access to anonymized testing data created by each of the separate pre-departure trials being carried out by participating airlines. Given the number and scale of the carriers involved in the trial, it is considered to be the biggest pre-departures testing study in the country, claimed the airport.

American Airlines has announced that it has partnered with the government of Chile to offer travelers access to VeriFLY, a new mobile app designed to help travelers understand COVID-19 documentation requirements and enable them to securely store and display their test results digitally. Beginning December 7th, travelers between Miami and Santiago will have access to VeriFLY in order to expedite airport processing. The carrier already has been testing the app for travel to Jamaica. American will also begin giving travelers to Chile access to at-home COVID-19 tests via its partner LetsGetChecked. The same provider currently is supplying tests for American travelers to Belize, Grenada, St. Lucia and Hawaii. Travelers to the US Virgin Islands will also be able to take advantage of the at-home testing option in December.

Denver International Airport (DEN) has introduced a new Live Agent pilot program, allowing travelers to have direct video interaction with a customer service agent without being present physically, reports Airport Technology. By using the DEN Live Agent program, travelers will be able to receive airline and ground transportation information, locate a shop or restaurant, navigate the airport and more. To help travelers navigate the airport, Live Agent enables them to use their device camera so that they can be pointed out the correct direction, landmark and signage. Travelers can utilize the services between 6:30 am to 6:30 pm via iPads, DEN’s website or text messaging.

Boeing’s 737 MAX is poised to make its first public appearance with media onboard since being grounded for over a year, as one of its biggest customers, American Airlines, seeks to prove it is safe for travelers, reports Reuters. Wednesday’s planned flight from Dallas, Texas, to Tulsa, Oklahoma, comes weeks before the first commercial passenger flight on December 29th and marks the first time anyone besides regulators and industry personnel have flown on the MAX since the grounding. American Airlines Chief Executive Doug Parker said on Instagram he had flown on the MAX with his wife and airline colleagues on Tuesday “with the utmost peace of mind.” Last month, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) cleared the jet following design changes and new training.