Volcanoes and geysers, glaciers and hot springs – Iceland is back on the map for U.S. travelers beginning May 1, as the country reopens for the first time since 2019.
Delta is the first U.S. airline to resume service to Iceland, restarting nonstop flights from New York-JFK to the capital, Reykjavik, and with a new service from Boston to be added from May 20 and the resumption of nonstop Minneapolis flights one week later from May 27.
While Delta maintained service to core European hubs including Paris, London, Rome and Amsterdam throughout the pandemic, Iceland is the first country in Europe to permit non-essential travel for Americans who have been vaccinated or have a certificate of COVID-19 recovery. For those eager to explore Europe once more, other countries are following suit, with Greece gearing up to welcome Delta customers by the end of May.
PLANNING AND PREPARING
After more than a year’s hiatus, a great deal of work has been done behind the scenes to safely restart Delta’s Iceland services. From bringing back its airport customer team, training maintenance technicians, selecting a catering contractor, and ensuring aircraft have been certified and crew rostered – these are just some of the operational steps to ensure everything is ready for takeoff.
Customers arriving at Keflavik International Airport will notice added layers of protection – part of the global rollout of the Delta CareStandard – and will see plexiglass shields, distancing markers, hand sanitizer stations and other measures in place – just as they would find in the U.S.
Delta has also implemented new online tools to help customers navigate international travel requirements, including the Delta Discover Map and Travel Planning Center, providing a one-stop-shop to find entry requirements for each Delta destination.
“Customers are ready to spread their wings, and Delta is excited to help them expand their horizons as markets reopen, taking every precaution to keep them and our employees safe when they fly,” said Roberto Ioriatti, Delta’s V.P. – Transatlantic. “Vaccinations and testing combined with the Delta CareStandard’s rigorous health and hygiene protocols across the travel journey minimize risk, making inbound tourism for other nations – and getting there – safer for everyone.”
ONBOARD, REACHING NEW HEIGHTS
Once on board, customers can sit back, relax and enjoy several amenities, including complimentary films, TV programs and music from Delta Studio at every seat, connecting with friends and family about what it’s like to be back in the sky thanks to Free Messaging, and new menu options, all while secure in the knowledge that their safety and health is at the heart of the operation.
Delta has scheduled a Boeing 757-200 aircraft on flights between New York-JFK and Reykjavik, offering a choice of traveling Delta One, Delta Comfort+, Main Cabin and Basic Economy. All menus have been produced in a COVID-safe environment and adjustments have been made on board to reduce touchpoints without compromising customer service.
“Customers will still experience the same high-quality service Delta is known for, but we’ve made changes that lessen contact and enhance health and safety measures onboard to deliver greater peace of mind,” said Roberto Ioriatti. “Wearing a mask helps keep each other safe and it’s something we’ve all grown used to, while customers have the reassurance of knowing that they are flying on an aircraft that has been intensely sanitized.”
Before departure from the U.S., customers must pre-register online with the Iceland authorities. Delta’s Airport Customer Service teams will also validate new health credentials, including proof of vaccination or a certificate of COVID recovery, before customers can fly. These checks are another important step to ensure the safety of Delta’s customers, crews and the local markets themselves as they reopen to international travelers. Health credentials will be checked again on arrival in Iceland and customers will also be required to take a PCR test and self-isolate until they receive a negative result later that day.
The most up-to-date requirements, as well as details on acceptable vaccine types and documents can be found in Delta’s Travel Planning Center. There, travelers can also find resources for COVID-19 testing in Iceland, which may be required for return trips to the U.S.
“The Iceland authorities reopening to non-essential travel meeting entry requirements is a milestone both for Delta and international aviation,” said Roberto Ioriatti. “We have been eagerly awaiting this news. With our domestic operation well on the road to recovery, seeing Iceland reopen gives us hope for the summer and shows the progress the U.S. has made on the vaccine rollout.”
As Iceland takes off, attention now turns to Greece to where Delta will resume service ahead of the Memorial Day weekend and other international destinations that are working to reopen their borders soon.