- The U.S. lifted a pandemic travel restriction, providing relief to the tourism industry and families who had been divided by the rules since the crisis began.
- The ban, implemented by then-President Donald Trump in early 2020 and later increased by Vice President Joe Biden earlier this year.
The U.S. lifted a pandemic travel restriction that had been in effect for more than a year and a half, providing relief to the tourism industry and families who had been divided by the rules since the crisis began.
Passengers arriving from London on British Airways Flight 1 (the very same number as the Concorde) were welcomed by cheers from airline personnel and balloons at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.
Some business travellers have stated that they are willing to forego video chats in favour of in-person meetings and work.
co-founder of luxury watchmaker Bremont, Giles English, which operates a store in Midtown Manhattan, said, “We’ve been itching for two years to get out and meet our staff.”
While video technology is “wonderful,” English told CNBC shortly after arriving at JFK on British Airways Flight 1 that “face-to-face is very vital.”
Katherine Donnelly, 52, of London, who flew in on that flight, said she hasn’t been to New York in more than two years and is looking forward to seeing her ailing aunt.
“I can’t wait to see her,” she expressed her excitement.
The ban, implemented by then-President Donald Trump in early 2020 and later increased by Vice President Joe Biden earlier this year, barred travellers from 33 countries, including the United Kingdom, much of Europe, China, Brazil, and South Africa.
Travellers can now fly into the United States with proof of full Covid-19 vaccination, while there are exemptions for children under 18 and passengers from countries where vaccination is scarce.
Beginning in the spring, European countries reduced requirements for overseas tourists, including U.S. citizens.
Although airlines and other travel industry firms on both sides of the Atlantic lobbied the Biden administration to reopen borders, U.S. officials did not reciprocate.
“It’s a day we wished would come sooner, but we’re thrilled to be back after 604 days of not being able to go to the United States,” said British Airways CEO Sean Doyle, who’s on the carrier’s first trip to the United States after the restrictions were lifted Monday.
Since the Biden administration announced that the limitations would be lifted, airline CEOs have reported increasing bookings.
In an interview with CNBC at John F. Kennedy Airport, American Airlines’ chief revenue officer Vasu Raja said that bookings from Brazil and the United Kingdom have increased by around 70% in the last week, with the majority of them for flights in the fourth quarter. In addition, British Airways and the airline collaborate to provide service to the United Kingdom.
According to Raja, American and British Airways are increasing London service and hope to return to pre-pandemic levels in early 2022.
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