After 20 months of the US being closed to many countries of the world (like the UK, European countries, and China), that travel ban has now dropped. Flights have already started their journey with people onboard who had been unable to travel during this period.
The US Travel Ban is Over
Flight are already en-route to the US and somewhat fully loaded with tourists from the UK, Europe, and others. In fact, it is such a big deal that UK rivals British Airways and Virgin Atlantic rolled down parallel runways this morning and took off for NY at the exact same time as their passengers eagerly looked forward to reconnecting with family and friends.
Flight Bookings Are Up – and Still Going Up!
I can tell you this, based on my searches over the past few weeks – people from Europe are definitely excited about this and booking travel to the US again in big numbers. United Airlines said they saw sales jump 30% right after the announcement of the ban dropping. And it has just kept growing since then.
I will be on a flight from Europe tomorrow to the US to check for the blog what the new process looks like and how the airlines are handling all of it. As a US citizen, I have been free to travel to the US throughout this time and having EU residency, I also have not been halted in my travel to Europe during this time. So, this trip will be to observe for those that wonder what will take place in the coming weeks as well as report what the process is for Americans now that this has changed a bit as well.
New Requirements May Cause Some Confusion and Chaos – Plan Ahead!
For Americans that are fully vaccinated, a negative PCR or rapid test will continue to be needed for travel, taken sometime within the 3 days before departure to the US. For unvaccinated Americans, that testing window shrinks to just 1 day before departure to the US.
Between the requirement for all foreign visitors to be fully vaccinated and tested and these new parameters for handling Americans that are both vaccinated and unvaccinated, I can tell you that I would not be surprised at all to find long lines and somewhat confused passengers/airline employees along the way. The US has dumped the checking for all of this into the airlines’ laps so airlines had to get all of this out to their employees.
And, remember, this is not just impacting the UK/China/Europe/etc – while the travel ban has been dropped, it also instituted the requirement for all foreign visitors to be fully vaccinated and this means that the millions of people who had been able to travel to the US before this will now need to be fully vaccinated to travel, as well as get tested. So, this could be a bit messy around the world!
In the several flights I have flown between Europe and the US in the last 20 months, I can tell you that flying economy has not been bad at all! Last year, my family and I had just 25 or so other passengers with us in the economy cabin which meant that each of us had our own row. 🙂 Pretty nice! Couple this with the fact that some airlines were kind of using the pandemic as an excuse to serve up way sub-part meals in business class and you really didn’t need to spring for the extra miles/cost for business over economy.
No More Empty Economy Cabins!
That is changing now! I am flying economy tomorrow so I can see exactly what it is like in comparison and going by the claimed seats, my flight is already 4x as full as this same flight was when I took it last time. No full row for me tomorrow!
For those who are looking forward to seeing loved ones and maybe even hitting up tourist spots in the coming holiday season, welcome back to the US! I hope it is everything you had remembered, though certain places will have more restrictions in place than the last time you were there!
If you are traveling to the US this week from anywhere in the world, plan on getting to the airport earlier than ever as lines may move much slower!