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USA to Italy and Return – Covid Documents and Comments

USA to Italy and Return – Covid Documents and Comments

Old Dec 21st, 2021, 03:43 PM
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USA to Italy and Return – Covid Documents and Comments

DH and I recently flew MXP-FRA (Lufthansa) and FRA-SFO (United). I thought it would be helpful to share our experience.
Covid Testing:
A rapid antigen test 24-hours prior to departure from MXP is required to enter the US. Not all pharmacies in Milan do tests and few are open on Sundays. Many of the free testing sites have closed. Testing at MXP was not available. We needed a test on Sunday. Our hotel made an appointment at a private clinic that cost 50 Euro per test. We got a signed document (in English) with our negative test result before we left the clinic and by 9pm we received and electronic copy (in English and Italian) with QR code. We also had protored Binax tests with us in case we couldn't get test appointments or got stuck overnight in Frankfurt.

Check-In MXP:
Although on-line check-in was supposedly available to us, we were never able to upload our required documents and get electronic boarding passes. This was very different than what happened when we departed the US. Twenty-four hours prior to departing the US (on United) we uploaded pdf files of our Covid test results, Covid Vaccination Cards and passports. We were deemed “travel ready” and electronic boarding passes issued. We carried both electronic and paper copies of our test results and vaccination cards.

Knowing we'd need to stand in line at the ticket counter at MXP, we arrived 2.5 hours early. As expected, there was a line. The Lufthansa agent wanted the following: Passport, paper copy of Covid test results, paper Covid vaccination cards, and a signed copy of the CDC Attestation Form. We were completely unaware of the need for the CDC form until seeing the requirement while attempting to check-in on-line. Thankfully, there was a link to a pdf of the form and our hotel was able to print it. You can't fill out the form and save it digitally. We were given printed (but not electronic) boarding passes for our two flights.

Transiting FRA:
FRA requires everyone to wear N95 or equivalent masks.

We had just over two hours in FRA. We spent some time wandering and browsing the shops but essentially proceeded directly to our departure gate. We were glad we did. United required that all passengers go through a document check. All the documents we showed in MXP were reviewed again and no electronic copies were accepted. The paper boarding passes were scribbled on and we were deemed “travel ready” with a special little sticker.

Passports and paper boarding passes were reviewed again by the gate agent before the boarding passes were scanned. The flight departed about 30 minutes late, due to “cargo delays” according the the announcement.

In Italy:
We were in Alto Adige, Trentino and Milan. While we were there, these areas were all coded “white zone”, the least restrictive of the four Covid risk categories issued by the Italian government.

A “Green Pass” (proof of vaccination/recovery) was required to enter hotels, restaurants, bars, shops, museums and outdoor Christmas markets. The US CDC Vaccination card is an acceptable alternative. We were asked to show the electronic version of our CDC card everywhere we went except the Christmas market near the Duomo in Milan.

Masks were also required in these locations, on public transportation and everywhere (including walking the streets) in Milan. My unscientific estimate was over 90% compliance.
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Old Dec 21st, 2021, 08:44 PM
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Very good information, thank you for taking the time to share your experiences.
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Old Dec 21st, 2021, 10:51 PM
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This is all so helpful--thanks wanderfrau. If my experience returning on the coming Tuesday is different I will share anything relevant. (BTW, on our flight from the US to Rome at the end of October, despite hours of trying to load the various Covid-ready travel documents to the Luftansa site, we were unable to do so. After hours of frustration and the inability to get someone on the phone at Luftansa, I checked on various on line platforms, eg, twitter, and there loads of posts about this problem, tips for resolving (such as using MS/MRS/MISS/MR after your name--none of which worked for us and did not for many people). We gave up and just got to the airport very early with e- and hard copies and all was perfectly fine and easy. So, this time I will try again as our flight approaches, but will be less stressed if the site is still buggy, and will just get to the airport early with e and hard copies in hand. Great to know re the attestation form from United--I just downloaded it and will go to the print shop across the street before the Xmas shop closures to have it printed out (we are at an airbnb so no access in house to a printer). thanks again!
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Old Dec 30th, 2021, 04:38 AM
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Quick update: flew from Rome to Frankfurt on Luftansa and Frankfurt to the USA on United on Dec 28. All went very smoothly—both with the rapid antigen test at an Italian pharmacy the day prior and then with the travel itself. Had all documents in hard copy and electronically. Screening was rigorous but quite efficient at both the Rome and the Frankfurt airports. The attestation documents that both Luftansa and United required were easy-we had printed them at at print shop in Rome the day prior and filled out, but at both airports the staff just asked us the questions on the forms and typed in the results. (We were told that too many people were showing up without hard copies so they were dealing with them as part of the questions asked at the flight check in.) We felt relaxed and prepared for the flight given the info provided in this post in in others.

Feeling less Covid-safe now that we are back in the US given that-although our city has in indoor mask mandate—it seems largely to be ignored at least based on my day of errands yesterday, and we have had trouble booking Covid test appointments for 3 and 5 days after our return (just to be sure we are OK). We did finally get appointments booked, but I couldn’t help but recall how easy it was to walk two blocks to get a test in Rome w/o an appt with results 10 minutes later. We do have a few at home tests but are saving them—given that they are in short supply—for emergency situations in case the bottlenecks around buying new ones aren’t resolved soon.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2022, 02:18 PM
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We flew from Rome to JFK, and back, for the Christmas holiday. We have a longish train trip to Rome, so we always spend the night there to make sure we get there in time for our flight. We made an appointment to get tested at FCO airport the day before, because for entering the US, the test must be made no longer than 24 hours before the flight. The testing was very efficient. I had printed out the required CDC form for entry to the US at home before going to Rome. We had also got tested two days earlier, because we didn't want to learn we had Covid after traveling all that way from home. We had to leave home more than 24 hours before the flight, so couldn't get the definitive test where we lived.

We flew on Delta. I was able to upload our vaccination and Covid test documents to the Flyready site (in which Delta participates) from my phone, in the hotel, with only about half an hour of hassle. I must say that the Delta app doesn't make it easy to find where you can upload the documents. They mention the Flyready service several times, but without providing a link, which is only found buried in an unlikely submenu.

Although I had checked in online, we were given paper boarding passes at the bag drop counter. The whole thing took less than five minutes, because all the documents were online. No one ever asked to see the CDC form, either in Rome or at passport control in the US.

At Kennedy airport, we were confronted by the longest line at passport control that I have ever seen, and I've passed through JFK many times. They must be very short of personnel. We waited for over an hour in a hot, crowded, poorly ventilated hall, and I was worried we'd catch Covid there. I felt really sorry for the elderly travelers and parents with small children. They must be very short of personnel, which is maybe why they didn't ask to see the CDC form. In any case, the form doesn't have any information tha

I wanted to get tested after arrival, to avoid contagion of fragile relatives, but at-home Covid tests were all sold out, and getting appointments for tests was problematic, so I decided it was best to leave the scarce appointments to people who really needed them. We were very careful the entire time, and never ate out once. We ordered takeout several times. I also avoided meeting no-vax relatives, of which I have a few.

Of course, we needed Covid tests to return to Italy, either PCR tests within 72 hours of departure, or rapid tests within 24 hours. Since there was no testing site at the airport, and nothing near where we were staying, we made an appointment for a PCR test. Of the three possible days we could be tested, only one had an available appointment, about 48 hours before the flight. The results took almost 24 hours to arrive, so we were lucky we hadn't booked the following day. My daughter had been tested at the same site a week earlier, and had her results in an hour. There's a very high demand for tests at the moment, and a shortage of personnel.

Uploading our documents was a real problem on this end. I spent two hours trying to do so, with various glitches and not a little cursing. I finally got that taken care of and got a confirmation that we were all set to go. To return to the EU, you need to fill out a Passenger Locator form, four pages long, but mostly blather. This can't be uploaded to the Flyready site, but the instructions said you could just keep a QR code on your phone. My daughter, with whom we were staying, suggested we should probably have paper copies of everything. I didn't think it was necessary, as I had got a confirmation email for two of the documents, and the QR code for the third, but my daughter printed them (six pages per person, all told).I also had difficulty with the online checkin, because I am a dual citizen, required by law to enter the US with a US passport, and to enter Italy with an Italian passport. Delta has no inkling that a person could have two passports, so I needed to change my citizenshio and passort number on the Delta Personal Information page. Then they refused to check me in, probably considering me a suspicious character, and instructing me to check in with an agent. However, I was able to check in my husband, an undiluted Italian, and then magically it checked me in as well.

It was not at all clear where we were supposed to go at JFK. I thought we had only to drop our bags, and a Delta employee directed me to the bag drop line. It turned out that internationaI travelers needed to have all their documents checked, so the online checkin wasn't worth the effort. Also, again, we needed a paper boarding card. It's a good thing my daughter had printed the vaccination and Covid test documents, because they were not on the Delta website, or maybe the agent was looking in the wrong place. I told her that I had uploaded them and had a confirmation, and she said with a smile, "Of course you did, but where did they put them?" She also checked our EU Passenger Locator Form, with the QR code on my phone. This whole process toolk a while, and we were holding up a queue of domestic travelers who really just needed to drop their bags.

We had priority boarding, but at the gate, we learned that we needed to have our temperatures checked, and had to get in a long line to have that done. The gate agent said she had announced it several times, but we were seated right by the gate, and I was listening carefully to every word. A little stamp of approval was applied to our boarding passes because our temperatures were normal. By this time, our priority boarding was worthless, of course, as they were boarding all rows. I wondered why so many people were waiting to get their temperatures measured at the last minute, if it had been announced so many times.

The flight was uneventful. In both directions, there was rigourous control of masks. (In Rome, a young man was refused entry to the train tracks because he had a surgical mask instead of a FFTP (or K95) mask. He was directed to a pharmacy to purchase the right kind of mask.)

My suggestions are:
  • Get an appointment for your Covid test well ahead of the deadline. I've read that slow return of results, because of high demand, has caused some passengers to miss their flights. I would not suggest walking up to a testing site without an appointment given the level of demand.
  • Make sure you read, at least a week in advance, all available official guides to the documents required and the rules regaring documents and testing. That would be the CDC web site for entering the US, and the equivalent country site for European countries. For Italy, it's the Italian health agency. Don't depend on my word or that of any other tourist advice site; I'm just here to give you an idea of the process. You'd really be in a pickle if you had to fill out the passenger locator form at the airport (four pages!) The form asks for your official residence, your domicile, and where you'll be staying for the first 14 days. In my case, all three were the same, but I had to fill them out separately.
  • I suggest carrying hard copies of everything.
  • It really saved us no time at all on the return trip to upload our documents, and probably not a whole lot on the outgoing trip. I'm not sure the online checkin saved time either.

It's interesting that there is no vaccinaton requirement to enter the US, just a negative Covid test. To enter Italy, you need either a vaccination or proof of recent recovery from Covid, and a negative test..

I hope this is helpful.

Last edited by bvlenci; Jan 2nd, 2022 at 03:05 PM.
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Old Jan 12th, 2022, 02:18 PM
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Thank you, very informative! Travel is so different now any personal experience is of value.
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