MIAMI– SkyTeam partners Delta Air Lines (DL) and KLM (KL) will offer COVID-19 tested flights from Atlanta to Amsterdam beginning December 15. The route will run four-times-weekly for an initial three week period. If successful, the airlines may look to extend the program further.

This trial route will be offered in addition to an existing daily service between Hartsfield-Jackson (ATL) and Schiphol Airport (AMS). Customers will still have the option of booking the daily flights, which are not included in the trial program and will require a quarantine upon arrival.

As a result of a massive worldwide spike in COVID-19 cases, the Netherlands have imposed a mandatory 10-day quarantine for travelers arriving from outside the country. Regulations such as these continue to cause massive damage to the airline industry.

In late November, Delta became the first airline to fly quarantine flights to Rome–a popular destination that has been crippled by the effects of COVID-19.

Delta and KLM aircraft sitting side-by-side. PHOTO: Delta Air Lines

Details of the Trial Service

Customers traveling on a DL or KL COVID-19 tested flight will be required to take a series of three tests.

  1. Standard PCR nasal swap test taken five days prior to arrival in AMS.
  2. Rapid antigen tests prior to boarding at ATL.
  3. Standard PCR test immediately upon arrival at AMS.

“This is an important step to validate that test regimes make safe and responsible air travel possible while reducing the need for travel bans and long quarantine measures”, said CEO of Royal Schopol Group Dirk Benschop.

Until a viable vaccine can be approved and distributed, mass testing appears be the best solution for travelers looking to exempt themselves from mandated quarantine periods.

“Creating COVID-free travel corridors, in addition to the multiple layers of safety and hygiene measures we have implemented through the Delta CareStandard, will provide customers – and authorities – greater confidence that they can stay healthy when flying” said DL Executive Steve Sear.

If successful, DL may look to expand this service to additional markets in Q1 2021 and beyond.

Featured Image: Delta Airbus A330-300 on approach at ATL. PHOTO: Nicholas Vitolano/Airways