Delta pioneers industry’s first contact tracing for travelers to US

Delta Air Lines is teaming up with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to keep international customers informed of possible Covid-19 exposure via contact tracing.

On December 15, 2020, the American carrier became the pioneer U.S. airline to require passengers traveling to the States from an international location to voluntarily provide basic data to aid contact tracing and public health follow-up initiatives. Those information are: full name, email address, U.S. address, primary phone, and secondary phone.

“We want customers to feel safe when they return to travel and this voluntary program is another way we can provide additional reassurance to customers and employees alike,” said Delta’s Chief Customer Experience Officer Bill Lentsch.


Contact tracing process

Under this initiative, passengers and those in their itinerary can voluntarily participate in the contact-tracing program if they are flying on any Delta-operated flight and if they are foreign nationals and/or U.S. passport holders traveling to the U.S. as their final destination.

By connecting with passengers more quickly and providing public health follow-up, health authorities can help reduce instances of potential exposure and slow down the spread of the virus.

Presently, if a passenger is found to travel while infectious, the CDC asks for a passenger manifest from Delta to identify and contact passengers seated two seats around the infected individual. The information is then conveyed to the appropriate local health departments for follow-up, with every department taking responsibility for passengers in their jurisdiction.

Privacy assurance

“Protecting our customers’ security and privacy are top priorities for all Delta employees and customers can be confident their information will be treated with the same level of care we take for your safety throughout your travel journey,” Delta said in a released statement.

Delta is set to resume flights between Manila and the U.S. on January 2, 2021. Flights to Seattle and Atlanta will be operated via Seoul-Incheon—Delta’s trans-Pacific hub (a joint venture with Korean Air). The route will use the carrier’s newest international aircraft, Airbus A330-900neo and will feature Delta One Suites, Delta Premium Select, Delta Comfort+, and Main Cabin.