American Airlines (AA) and Delta have confirmed that they are now allowing passengers to travel to Italy for any reason on certain routes.
“With the recent change in Italy’s travel restrictions, any customers, whether traveling for leisure or essential business, are eligible to fly on American’s flights from New York to Italy starting May 16”, AA stated.
Delta Air Lines stated that its Covid-tested flights between the US and Italy “will open to all customers effective May 16th, following the Italian government lifting entry restrictions enabling American leisure travelers to visit the country for the first time in more than a year.”
The announcements came shortly after Italy’s Foreign Minister stated in a Facebook post on Friday evening that the country is ready to welcome US tourists again – but only if they arrive on a Covid-tested flight.
“Travel for tourist purposes will be allowed from the USA, Canada and Japan, countries with which we’re strengthening Covid-free flights,” Di Maio wrote.
“We are thus opening up to safe tourism from all the G7 states after more than a year.”
“Until now, with Covid-free flights, it was not possible to come to Italy for tourism from non-EU countries. Now we’re reopening to this opportunity, which allows safe travel without quarantine.”
Taking these flights allows passengers to skip quarantine on arrival in Italy, provided they test negative for coronavirus at both ends of the journey.
Di Maio’s social media statement came amid a raft of changes to the Italian travel rules under two new Health Ministry ordinances on Friday, and following more than a week of announcements by Italian ministers which have left hopeful US tourists unsure of whether to book summer flights or cancel them.
While Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has said the country wants to cut quarantine for vaccinated tourists from the United States, Canada and Japan, there has been no confirmation yet of when rules could be relaxed for any visitors other than those on the special Covid-tested flights.
Delta stated that American travelers will be able to board the Covid-tested flights regardless of vaccination status.
There are no exemptions to the testing requirement for those who are vaccinated.
The US airline, which currently operates Covid-tested flights in partnership with Italian airline Alitalia, also confirmed that it plans to increase the number of flights from next week, and the number of routes from July.
The carrier plans to launch three more of the special routes in time for summer, including two to Venice, which will soon equip its airport for the arrival of Covid-tested flights according to the Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza.
Naples airport is also expected to be able to accept Covid-testing flights this summer.
AA is expected to make more of its routes, including Dallas-Rome, Covid-tested within the coming days.
Other airlines may now follow suit and begin offering Covid-tested flights to Italy.
While Di Maio stated that Italy will also allow tourists to arrive on Covid-tested flights from Canada and Japan this summer, it is not yet known which airlines will be operating Covid-tested flights from these countries, or when they’ll begin.
How do Covid-tested flights work?
Travelers must undergo a series of coronavirus tests to be allowed to enter Italy on the special flights.
Testing protocol varies by airline. Delta says it requires passengers to provide proof of a negative PCR test result, taken no more than 72 hours before departure.
Passengers must then test negative in a rapid antigen test at the airport before boarding and they must get tested again immediately on arrival at their destination
All travelers must also fill in a digital location form before boarding: the Digital Passenger Locator Form (dPLF).
Passengers will then receive an email with a QR code, which must be given at the check-in desk in order to be allowed on the flight.
Also during check-in, you must provide a completed self-declaration form, which is specific to these Covid-tested flights.
If all the tests come back negative, you’ll be able to enter Italy and enjoy a quarantine-free trip. If you test positive on arrival, you will need to quarantine in Italy.
A pre-travel Covid-19 test is also required before returning to the US regardless of vaccination status.