It appears the airline industry is ready to move forward and break free from the significant pressure Covid has put on its businesses over the last year. To do this, airlines have to convince people to start traveling again.
And what better way to do this than to offer a taste of the days of yonder?
That's why Delta and Alitalia are now offering “quarantine free” flights between the US and Italy, according to FT. They are the first flights between the U.S. and Europe not subject to quarantines in months.
Passengers on "select flights" from Atlanta to Rome will no longer have to self-isolate if they test negative for Covid 3 times on their flight. They are going to be asked to take a PCR test 72 hours before departure and then rapid tests at both the Atlanta and Italian airports.
This comes as part of a broader push by airlines to allow this type of testing to replace quarantine restrictions.
Airlines and airports are also pushing for a softening of rules about takeoff and landing slots into next year. The rules, during normal operations, dictate carriers could lose slots if they aren't used 80% of the time.
The rules have been suspended due to Covid but are due to come back online at the end of March. Three major aviation bodies are calling for the rule to be waived for another 6 months.
The Airports Council International, International Air Transport Association and the Worldwide Airport Coordinators Group said in a joint statement said: "The existing slot rules were never designed to cope with a prolonged industry collapse."
While it's not a flash flood-style reopening of travel as it once was, the quarantine-free flights and continued flexibility from airports could mark two of the first necessary and preliminary steps the industry has to take in order to help itself start normalizing heading into 2021.