Delta is making it easier for its US customers to navigate evolving travel requirements with new Covid testing options and digital tools. Olivia Palamountain reports
With travel restrictions still in full force, it will be a while yet before most of us are booking flights and planning trips abroad. However, one thing is certain – Covid tests and the ensuing admin will be here to stay – in the short term, at least. (To read more about the “Traveller Testing” trend, download our 2021 Travel Trend Forecast.)
The good news is that airlines recognise the headache this will cause and are acting to make life easier for travellers.
Delta customers in the US will soon be able to purchase at-home Covid-19 tests to administer both prior to departure and on the way home, to soothe anxieties regarding finding a testing location while travelling.
According to reports in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Delta will provide a pack of six tests for US$150 (plus taxes and shipping). The kits will allow travellers to take a test before they leave home and then “pack another with them to comply with negative-test requirements before their trip back to the US,” the airline said in a statement.
(It’s worth bearing in mind that travel restrictions and test requirements vary by country so passengers need to confirm the type of test required at every destination prior to travel.)
Since December 2020, American Airlines has also been offering at-home testing. According to Business Traveller, AA extended its at-home testing programme to all domestic passengers bound for US destinations with Covid-19 travel restrictions. Offered in partnership with health testing company LetsGetChecked, a PCR test kit costs US$129 and takes about 48 hours on average to receive results.For those who prefer to be tested in-clinic, Delta’s dedicated Covid-19 labs page lists nearby testing locations for an in-person appointment prior to travel.
Customers can also find a link to the Skyteam directory of testing centres within the countries that member airlines serve (Delta partner airlines will also be able to leverage the testing solutions offered, either at-home or in-person).
Delta joins the likes of Hawaiian Airlines, whose loyalty scheme members can swap air miles for pre-travel Covid tests, and Finnair, which has partnered with a private healthcare company to offer discounted Covid-19 testing with results ready in 24 to 36 hours, in its pledge to make flying in the age of Covid as smooth as possible.
Digital innovations are ameliorating Delta’s travel experience too. Customers can already use an interactive travel map to plan and book their next trip with up-to-date details on where the airline flies and travel requirements and restrictions at each destination. Soon, they will be able to directly upload and verify their documents at check-in via Delta channels too.
Beginning with US-entry flights, and in partnership with TrustAssure, Delta customers will have access to “Ready to Fly” screen on mobile devices that will indicate the customer has provided a verified Covid test.“Customers have more travel information coming their way than ever before – with updated Covid-19 testing requirements to digest, new forms to complete and different digital experiences to download and navigate,” says Bill Lentsch, Delta’s chief customer experience officer.
“From simplifying testing to developing an integrated suite of tools on delta.com, we’re continuing to introduce additional features meant to enhance the existing experience and strengthen the airline’s position as a leader in charting the global recovery.”
With new testing requirements in place for travel into the US, Delta Vacations is also making it easier for customers to book with confidence by only selling hotels outside of the US that offer on-site testing for travel until March 2021.
This will ensure customers who book international travel through Delta Vacations have on-site support for testing and can return home safely.