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First fully COVID-tested Delta flight - allowing the bypass of quarantining - departs Atlanta for Amsterdam

The airline says it is the first in the United States to offer quarantine-free flights between the U.S. and Europe.

ATLANTA — Delta says the first fully COVID-tested flight has departed from the United States to Europe, in a bid to restart air travel during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a news release, the Atlanta-based airline said it has introduced new testing protocols on flights between Hartsfield-Jackson and destinations in Europe that would exempt passengers from having to quarantine upon arrival.

According to Delta, its first fully-tested flight took off from Atlanta Tuesday, Dec. 15 headed to Amsterdam in the Netherlands. It plans to roll out a similar one to Rome, Italy Dec. 19.

In order to bypass quarantining, Delta said all passengers on the flights must test negative for the virus between three and five days before arrival to their destination, as well as in a rapid test taken before boarding in Atlanta. 

A second test will be administered upon landing, and once a negative result is received, passengers will be cleared.

Both trial programs will be available to passengers permitted to travel to the Netherlands or Italy for "essential reasons" like specified work, health or education purposes. The price of testing at both airports will be included in the price of the ticket, according to Delta.

The airline said it is the first in the United States to offer quarantine-free flights between the U.S. and Europe, which have both been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Delta said since the start of the pandemic, it has put in place more than 100 safety initiatives, including blocking middle seats through March 30, 2021 along with mask compliance.

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