Delta launches the industry’s first contact tracing program for customers traveling to United States.

The U.S airline is partnering with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to keep international customers informed of potential COVID-19 exposure through contact tracing.

Delta will ask customers to voluntarily provide five pieces of data to aid contact tracing and public health follow-up efforts, including their full name, email address, address in the U.S, primary phone, and secondary phone.

Delta’s Chief Customer Experience Officer Bill Lentsch says that Independent studies have shown that the many layers of protection Delta has already put in place are effectively minimizing the risk of COVID-19 transmission, and contact tracing adds one more important layer to our efforts to ensure safety throughout travel. “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.” 

Customers and those in their itinerary can voluntarily participate in Delta’s contact-tracing program if they are flying on any Delta-operated flight or a foreign national and/or a U.S. passport holder traveling to the U.S as final destination.

Under the new process, the airlines is working with the CDC to streamline contact-tracing efforts by directly and securely transmitting the five requested customer data points to the CDC via U.S. Customs and Border Protection. This will give the CDC access to the data in moments, dramatically decreasing the time it takes to notify affected customers via local health departments.

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

Currently, in the event of confirmed COVID-19 case with travel while infectious, the CDC requests a passenger manifest from Delta to identify all customers seated two seats around the confirmed case. This information is then transmitted to the appropriate local health departments for follow-up, with each department taking responsibility for passengers in their own jurisdiction.