Much of the world has been impacted by the pandemic in some form. The travel industry has been heavily impacted by people unable or fearful to utilize forms of mass transportation, such as a train, plane, or cruise ship.
Airlines are trying to make travel as safe as possible, such as Delta requiring face masks at all Delta touchpoints. You may not wear a face shield as a suitable option for a mask, however, it may be worn in addition to a mask. Face masks with an exhaust valve are not approved as an acceptable form of protection while traveling on any Delta or Delta Connection operated flight. Children under the age of 2 are exempt from wearing a face mask.
After each flight Delta crews use electrostatic sprayers to sanitize aircraft interiors from floor to ceiling with a high-grade disinfectant. Cleaning crews then perform extensive manual cleaning procedures to wipe down cabin surfaces including seats, consoles, seatback screens, windows, doors, lavatories, and other high-touch areas of the cabin. Even with all these measures, I still bring my own wipes and clean the surfaces in my immediate area.
As of January 12, 2021, the Center for Disease Control has issued an order requiring all air passengers (even passengers who have been vaccinated) arriving in the United States (US) from a foreign country to get tested no more than 3 days prior to your departure. You must present a negative test result or documentation indicating you have recovered from SARS-CoV-2 (the disease known as Covid-19) before boarding the flight. Ensure you are tested with a viral test (NAAT or antigen test) to determine your status and have a copy of the results. The negative test result should include information that identifies the passenger, specimen collection date, type of test, and the test was performed three days before the flight. A positive test result must show the test was done within the 3 months before the flight. You may present the airline with either a paper copy or electronic copy of your result. Without proof a negative test result you will be denied boarding on the flight.
If you have more than one connecting flight to the US your test must be completed in the 3 days prior to your first flight in you itinerary, but only if your connecting flights were booked as a single passenger record with a final destination in the US and each layover is no longer than 24 hours in length. If your connecting flight to the US is booked separately or a connection in your itinerary lasts longer than 24 hours you will then need to get tested within the 3 days before your flight arrives into the US. Furthermore, if you flight is delayed and causes your test to fall outside of the 3-day pre-departure testing window requirement you will need to get re-tested. Lastly, any flight entering the US even for a connection will require testing before departure.
This new order will go into effect on January 26, 2021 at 12:01am Eastern Standard Time (EST). This new order applies to all air passengers (2 years of age and older) traveling into the US including US citizens and legal permanent residents. The new CDC order does not apply to air travelers flying from state to state nor from a US territory or possession to a US state.
There is quite a bit of information out there, please check with the CDC and the airline you plan to travel with for up-to date information. Delta has a link on their site or you may enter https://www.delta.com/us/en/plan-your-next-trip/where-we-fly into your URL to explore which states and countries are open for travel, new guidelines that are applicable, and when you can travel with Delta in the coming months. As Delta has indicated on the site, some countries have imposed temporary entry requirements, such as limiting entry to citizens, permanent residents, and select visa holders, or restricting to essential travel. Delta recommends checking with your destination’s embassy or immigrations office to confirm you are eligible to travel and any connecting airport destinations applicable to your itinerary.
Passengers should be prepared to show travel requirement documentation at check-in, prior to boarding, and upon arrival. Documentation includes but is not limited to country specific pre-departure travel documents, Covid-19 test results, and travel health insurance that includes Covid-19 related medical issues.
In closing, right now is a challenging time for travel, however, if you do your research, prepare for the worst, and expect the best you should be fine. Those who may travel to an international destination and who must physically go into to work, just a heed of cause as many employers are following CDC recommendations and requiring employees to quarantine and provide a negative Covid-19 test result.
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