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As of yesterday, 1 April, Delta started to offer quarantine-free flights between New York JFK and Rome Fiumicino, and from today, 2 April, it will offer the same service between New York and Milan Malpensa. Now, American Airlines is set to follow suit.
American Airlines Brings Back Its JFK – Italy Flights
American Airlines will restart its service between New York JFK and Milan Malpensa from 4 April on the following schedule:
AA198 JFK 19:10 – 09:05+1 day (Daily)
AA199 MXP 11:10 – 14:15 JFK (Daily)
A little over a month later (8 May), American Airlines plans to restart flights between New York JFK and Rome Fiumicino with the following 3/week service:
AA236 JFK 16:55 – 07:15+1 day (Mon, Thu & Sat) – 777-200
AA235 FCO 09:40 – 13:05 JFK (Tue, Fri & Sun)
The airline has now confirmed that customers on these flights will “enjoy quarantine-free travel” courtesy of an arrangement that the airline has put in place with the Italian authorities and the respective airports.
Avoiding Quarantine Through Testing
Interestingly, the testing procedure that Delta has in place for its flights between NYC and Milan/Rome requires flyers to be tested three times – twice before departure and once upon arrival – if they are to avoid quarantine in Italy, but the information released by American Airlines appears to suggest that its passengers will only need to be tested twice.
American Airlines hasn’t provided us with any specifics with regards the testing that will be needed (its entire press release is embarrassingly vague on this service), but based on what we know Delta’s passengers have to go through, we can assume the following:
- The first test will have to be a COVID Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test taken up to 72 hours before departure or a rapid test administered at the airport in New York-JFK before boarding (we’ll have to wait for American to confirm which it will be).
- The second test will be a rapid test on arrival in Milan Malpensa or Rome Fiumicino
In Rome and Milan customers will be asked to make their way to a testing facility within the airport terminal where medical professionals will administer a rapid antigen test. If this is negative, they will not need to quarantine.
Customers also will be required to provide information prior to entry into the U.S. to support CDC contact-tracing protocols.
Not Open To Everyone
It’s key to note that these ‘quarantine-free’ flights will not be a way for all US citizens to travel freely to Italy (and therefore Europe). What American has failed to mention is that these tests will only offer a quarantine exemption for US citizens who are permitted to travel to Italy for essential reasons, such as work, health, and education as well as all European Union and Italian citizens arriving from the United States.
If you’re not a citizen of the EU and you were hoping that this would be your chance to get over to Europe, you’re out of luck.
American Airlines is set to offer quarantine-free flights from New York to Milan and Rome when services restart on 4 April and 8 May respectively. At the time of writing, this doesn’t offer access to Italy to anyone who didn’t have access already, but it may be something that’s kept in place when borders start to open up as a way of trying to keep the virus from spreading out of control (again).