Delta Air Traces to start contact tracing for worldwide passengers

  • Delta Air Lines is introducing a voluntary contact tracing program for international arrivals in the United States.
  • Passengers will be asked for their full name, email address, contact numbers, and US address to be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • CEO Ed Bastian announced in the same announcement that the airline will fail to meet its goal of daily losses of $ 10 million for the fourth quarter and fall below it by up to $ 4 million.
  • You can find more stories on the Business Insider homepage.

Delta is taking on contact tracing in the sky as the latest initiative in the fight against COVID-19, making it the first American airline to do so, the airline said on Thursday.

International travelers entering the US are asked to provide five pieces of information as part of the program to help health officials find contacts. Most of the information Delta searches for is already required in order to book a flight. This includes a passenger’s full name, primary and secondary phone numbers, US address, and email address.

Participation in the program is voluntary, but it can help notify passengers if they have been exposed to the virus during their trip and provide additional data to local health authorities and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Stop spreading. For passengers using Delta’s new quarantine-free flights between Atlanta and Rome, contact tracing consent is required upon their return to the United States.

The service is only available to passengers flying on Delta-operated flights with a final destination in the United States.

Passenger data is transmitted to the CDC and the health authorities via customs and border protection. Delta is currently working with CBP to operate its biometric check-in and boarding systems at its international hubs.

Delta flyers are required to submit a health declaration upon check-in stating that they have no primary symptoms of COVID-19, including a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or greater, feverish sensation, new persistent cough, and shortness of breath or breathing difficulties.

A COVID-19 positive traveler, or even someone exposed to the virus, must also wait 14 days from the time of their diagnosis or exposure before boarding a Delta plane. Most airlines have these declarations by now, and Frontier Airlines goes as far as to run temperature checks on boarding.

However, asymptomatic passengers could spread the virus without knowing it. Because of this, all major U.S. airlines, including Delta, now require face masks on board, and some ban passengers who fail to comply with these regulations. Delta alone banned over 400 passengers in late October, including the Navy SEAL, which killed Osama bin Laden and Robert O’Neill.

A matter of public health or saving the bottom line?

Airlines are walking a fine line as confidence in air travel remains low due to fears of the virus and new lockdown orders. It took US airports seven months to see more than a million passengers in a single day. It took another month for the Thanksgiving flyers to take to the skies.

While all of the measures airlines are taking have made air travel safer, and low flight attendant incidence rates are considered a key barometer, airlines have another motive for stopping this pandemic: it’s good for business.

Continue reading: Airline employees have lower COVID-19 rates than the general population – and airline CEOs say this is proof that it is safe to fly

In the same Reuters announcement on Thursday of the airline’s new contract tracking program announcement, CEO Ed Bastian said the airline will miss its daily cash burn target of $ 10 million. Delta will instead see losses of between $ 12 million and $ 14 million per day in the fourth quarter, with Bastian directly citing an increase in cases across the country as the reason for the decline in demand.

Airlines are also rushing to take part in the COVID-19 vaccine airlift. The sooner this pandemic is over, the sooner the journey will resume. Robert Walpole, vice president of Delta Cargo, told reporters in a briefing Thursday that the Federal Aviation Administration has given permission to carry six times the amount of Pfizer vaccine on its largest aircraft, the Airbus A350-900 XWB and A330-300, have granted.

United Airlines flew the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine to the US in late November as the drug company prepares for an expected emergency clearance from the FDA. Delta has flown test flights and expanded its vaccine handling infrastructure at key hubs in preparation for the upcoming mass shipment efforts for the drugs that will end the pandemic.

However, where some airlines drew the line during the pandemic, it is blocking the middle seats. JetBlue Airways, Hawaiian Airlines and Southwest Airlines have all announced an end to their seat blocking policies. Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines are the only two major US airlines blocking medium seats through 2021.

Continue reading: The United CEO argued that there was no problem with airlines burning tens of millions of cash a day for months

Southwest’s decision to fill its aircraft followed a $ 1.2 billion loss in the third quarter. CEO Gary Kelly said the seat blocking policy cost the airline $ 20 million in lost revenue over the summer.

However, Delta recently announced an extension of its mid-seat lockout policy until March 30, 2021, but raised tariffs to account for the loss of capacity. And despite the increased losses in the fourth quarter, Bastian still expects Delta to break even in daily operations in the spring.

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