Should airlines require COVID-19 tests ahead of domestic flights? The idea’s being kicked around

ATLANTA — This is something sparking a lot of debate that could have a big impact on your next trip.

Should all passengers on flights within the United States be required to get a COVID-19 test before getting on board?

It’s something officials in the Biden administration are discussing.

Channel 2′s Justin Wilfon has learned there’s already been a lot of pushback on this from the airline industry.

Delta’s CEO Ed Bastian is not happy about the idea. Right now, any traveler in the domestic terminal can get on a flight without a COVID-19 test, and Bastian wants to keep it that way.

“It would be a hassle for a lot of people, I think,” traveler Maddie Elliot said as she was waiting for her flight at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport Thursday night.

“I feel like it would create more safety, but at the same time, I feel like a lot of people would just not do it and not go anywhere,” traveler Abi Minnear said.


“I think it would stop a lot of other people though. I’m just not that hardheaded,” Elliot said.

It’s a debate that took flight this week after several Biden administration officials raised the idea of requiring domestic passengers to get a test.

“I think it would be a horrible idea for a lot of reasons,” Bastian said in an interview with CNN earlier this week.

Bastian believes testing requirements would drive customers away from an already struggling industry.

“It would also take about 10% of the testing resources that this country needs to test sick people, away from those people. It’s hard to get tests. There’s days of delays still. I think it would be a logistical nightmare,” Bastian said.

The Delta CEO said flying is already safe with few reports of virus spread on planes.

Last summer, Delta took Wilfon on board a plane to show him the airline’s safety measures, including the spraying of electrostatic disinfectant.

Delta also remains the only airline blocking the middle seat.

But Atlanta travel agent Sharna Brown said testing requirements could bring passengers an extra layer of comfort.

“Boarding a plane, a flight, and knowing that everyone on this flight has tested negative for COVID, it absolutely does create a greater sense of security – peace of mind,” Brown said.

Testing is already required for passengers boarding many international flights, and Brown said the testing process worked for her clients.

“The few that I’ve had who have traveled internationally said that the process went smoothly for them,” Brown said.

Biden is expected to meet with executives from the four major airlines on Friday. We’ve asked Delta if Bastian will be one of them and we’re still waiting on an answer.

The CEO of Southwest Airlines has also come out as being strongly opposed to testing for domestic flights.