“We will retain this information for no longer than is necessary to achieve the contact tracing and public health follow-up objectives, or as required by Customs and Border Protection,” Delta said.
The airlines and federal authorities started talking early on in the coronavirus crisis about how to handle contact tracing of passengers, but could not agree on a plan at the time.
In early March, airline CEOs met with President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and federal officials and discussed more effective contact tracing. At issue was whether the government or airlines should be responsible for collecting the information and sharing it with the CDC.
While airlines have some contact information for frequent fliers, they don’t necessarily have it for their passengers who book flights through an online travel booking site, for example.
Delta now says contact tracing adds another layer to its efforts for safe travel. The airline is also testing employees for COVID-19 and announced Thursday it will expand that to weekly testing and will offer at-home test kits to all of its U.S. employees.