Delta Launches Industry’s First Contact Tracing for Travelers Returning to U.S.

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 (CDC) to keep international customers informed of potential COVID-19 exposure through contact tracing. 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.

Beginning Dec. 15, Delta will become the first U.S. airline to ask customers traveling 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.

“Independent studies have shown that the many layers of protection Delta has already put in place are effectively minimizing 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 our contact-tracing program if they are:

  • Flying on any Delta-operated flight
  • A foreign national and/or a U.S. passport holder traveling to the United States as your 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.

All data submitted by Delta 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.

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