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Italy Is Now Open to All U.S. Leisure Travelers on COVID-Tested Flights

By Michelle Baran

May 17, 2021

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Venice is actually attainable now.

Photo by Shutterstock

Venice is actually attainable now.

As of May 16, quarantine-free flights to Italy are available to all U.S. passengers with negative COVID test results.

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The wait is over to seek la dolce vita—leisure travelers from the United States can now travel to Italy.

On May 14, the Italian government issued a new decree stating that Italy will be expanding the availability of what it calls “COVID-tested flights” to all American passengers effective May 16. Until now, these flights have only been available to those traveling for approved essential reasons. Another order issued in tandem stated that travelers from Europe, the United Kingdom, and Israel no longer need to quarantine in Italy if they test negative for COVID-19.

In light of the new development, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines are making their quarantine-free flights to Rome and Milan available to all customers who submit to the COVID-19 testing requirements. Delta made the announcement on May 14, and American followed suit on May 16.

The move marks the first time that Italy has opened up to U.S. leisure travelers since March 17, 2020, when European Union leaders closed their external borders to limit the spread of COVID-19.

It also comes as somewhat of a surprise since earlier this month Italy’s Foreign Affairs Minister Luigi Di Maio stated that Italy was looking to open up to U.S. travelers with COVID-tested flights beginning in June.

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To fly on the COVID-tested flights from the U.S. to Italy, all customers are required to complete mandatory testing, both before departure and on arrival, regardless of their vaccination status. After receiving a negative test result on all tests, customers will not need to quarantine in Italy and can resume their travels.

These are the exact testing requirements:

  • Take a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test no more than 72 hours before departure
  • Take a rapid antigen test at the airport in the U.S. prior to boarding
  • Take a rapid antigen test on arrival in Italy

Travelers will also need to take a COVID-19 test no more than three days prior to their return flight to the United States to satisfy the U.S. testing requirement for international arrivals.

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Delta’s COVID-tested flights actually date back to December 19, 2020, when Delta partnered with Rome Fiumicino International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to exempt passengers who could enter Italy for essential reasons to bypass the otherwise required quarantine as long as they submitted to a series of COVID tests both before and after their flight.

The current and forthcoming options for nonstop COVID-tested flights to Italy with Delta include service between:

  • Atlanta and Rome—five times a week (and daily as of May 26)
  • New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP)—daily
  • New York and Rome—three times a week (daily as of July 1)
  • New York and Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE)—starting July 2
  • Atlanta and Venice—starting August 5
  • Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) and Rome—starting August 5

All Delta flights to Italy are operated in conjunction with partner airline Alitalia. Flights to Rome and Milan take place on 293-seat Airbus A330-300 aircraft, while the other routes will be operated by the 226-seat Boeing 767-300 planes. All feature lie-flat Delta One seats, Delta Comfort+, and regular economy seats.

American has been offering COVID-tested flights from New York to Milan since April 2, and from New York to Rome since May 8. Those flights are now available to all passengers, whether traveling for leisure or essential purposes.

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American flights from New York to Milan take place daily and the Rome flights from New York have service three times per week. American also operates flights four times per week between Dallas–Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and Rome and expects those flights to become available to all travelers in the coming days, the airline said in a May 16 statement.

The Italian government’s May 14 decree stated that COVID-tested flights would ultimately be allowed from Atlanta; Boston; Chicago; Dallas; Los Angeles; New York; Newark, New Jersey; Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. They must arrive at Rome Fiumicino, Milan Malpensa, Venice, or Naples International Airport (NAP).

Additional reporting by Julia Buckley. This article originally appeared on May 14, 2021, and has been updated to include current information.

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