After nearly 20 months, the United States is finally reopening to international tourists today.
The unprecedented travel ban, implemented in March 2020 in response to the pandemic, has allowed travelers from the UK, EU and various other countries around the world to enter the US for just one handful of “essential reasons”.
From November 8, entry restrictions were lifted for all fully vaccinated arrivals.
To celebrate, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic organized this morning a historic simultaneous take-off from both London Heathrow runways.
Both planes are bound for New York.
“It really does make it feel like proper travel is back – and back to something like normalcy,” said Mark Jones, The independentcorrespondent who takes the first BA flight to the United States. “Except I’m A LOT more excited than I would normally be on a business trip.”
Follow all the latest updates below.
Virgin Atlantic US flight set to beat BA to New York
Virgin Atlantic flight VS3 – the airline’s first London-NYC flight since the United States travel ban was lifted – is set to land ahead of British Airways’ equivalent service.
The two flights took off in tandem from Heathrow this morning.
VS3 is currently off the coast of Canada, having flown over Newfoundland, with an estimated time of arrival at JFK airport at 10:47 a.m., according to FlightRadar24.
BA001 is expected to land six minutes later at 10:53 am.
Helene coffeyNovember 8, 2021 1:53 PM
Delta saw flight bookings increase 450% after US reopening announcement
Today’s Delta flights are expected to operate at full capacity, with a total of 205 transatlantic flights scheduled for November.
The carrier is also increasing its flights on European routes this winter, notably from London to Boston, Detroit and New York JFK; Amsterdam to Boston; Dublin to New York JFK; Frankfurt to New York JFK; and Munich-Atlanta.
“I applaud the administration’s decision to welcome foreign nationals back to the United States from November 8,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said of the reopening.
“International air travel is essential to the global economic recovery and to the US tourism industry. Delta employees are excited to play their part in reuniting families for the holidays and reconnecting the world after more than 19 months apart. “
Lucy thackrayNovember 8, 2021 1:24 PM
Why I can’t wait to have a fall reunion with NYC
With the United States now reopened to fully vaccinated tourists, I’ll be one of the first to book my return trip to one of my favorite cities, New York.
I typically visit New York City about once a year, often in late spring, when the bloom sweeps over Central Park and unexpected heat waves prompt al fresco dining – or in the fall, when the fall foliage makes the most of it. even more charming town and that exploring on foot is always a pleasure.
But this time I will come back as soon as there is an opening in my agenda, for my first trip in over two years.
Lucy thackrayNovember 8, 2021 12:58 PM
Onboard BA’s A350
I’ve flown to New York on a jumbo, a Concorde and even a 707. But the A350 I’m on right now is the best of the bunch.
It’s funny when you remember all the fuss around Dreamliners and A380s… yet this more humble little workaholic is taking over flight paths.
Mark JonesNovember 8, 2021 12:23
Florida Vacation Demand Stronger Than Ever, BA Says
Claire Bentley, chief executive of BA Holidays, says city trip bookings suffered during Covid – people want the safety and security of resorts, and they want more vacations to make up for the extra hassles that come under the form of tests and paperwork.
Car thefts in the United States have struggled – but demand in Florida is higher than ever (all those trips to Disney World long promised…).
The exception to the rule of cities is, unsurprisingly, New York. Interest was strong even when you couldn’t go. It is unlike any other city, she believes.
Better deal? BA is offering £ 479 for three nights including hotel. Claire’s favorite New York experience? The circular line (we agree that just because it’s touristy doesn’t mean it’s not great).
Mark JonesNovember 8, 2021 12:13
British Airways wants to dominate the US market
On board British Airways’ first London-New York flight after the United States travel ban was lifted, BA CEO Sean Doyle is confident the airline will dominate transatlantic travel.
He says BA will be the first European carrier to the United States before the end of 2021.
Mark JonesNovember 8, 2021 11:47 AM
Britons to spend around £ 176million on US flights
Britons are expected to spend around £ 176million on US flights over the next three months, according to personal finance comparison site finder.com.
Jon Ostler, CEO of finder.com, said: “British travelers will applaud the recent end of the US travel ban after nearly two years since the US government imposed the ban internationally. during the pandemic.
“While many are expected to be reunited with family and friends across the pond, our latest research has shown that of the 6.3 million Britons who plan to travel in the next three months (November to January) , an estimated 12% are expected to spend an average of £ 176million on flights before January.
“I have no doubt that we will see an increase in the number of British travelers booking their holidays and flying to the United States in no time at all.”
Helene coffeyNovember 8, 2021 11:15 AM
Passengers cheer on BA flight as it syncs with Virgin
BA and Virgin flights coordinated their takeoffs from Heathrow to New York to the cheers and cries of passengers on board.
Here is the moment when the two planes took off side by side from the two airport runways:
Applause as BA and Virgin launch rare duel takeoff for New York
Mark JonesNovember 8, 2021 10:52 AM
US hotel bookings up 63%
With the US borders reopening to the UK and Europe today, Hilton has already seen a 63% increase in bookings.
Simon Vincent, Executive Vice President and President, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Hilton said: “Since the announcement of the planned reopening of the US borders, we have seen renewed interest from European customers and Brits planning to visit our US hotels.
“Hilton research data reveals the extent of this demand, with a 63% increase in digital bookings in the five weeks following the announcement of plans to ease restrictions. We have seen similar trends across Europe, with inbound demand from US customers increasing as travel rules lifted.
“The reopening of the US border signals the next important phase of recovery for the industry, and we look forward to welcoming a new dawn of international travel. “
According to Hilton data, the top five US cities by search and reservation are:
- new York
- Washington DC
Helene coffeyNovember 8, 2021 10:48 AM
What are the US testing rules?
The rules and recommendations on testing for travel to the United States have been widely misinterpreted. This is the right image.
Completely vaccinated? Do a lateral flow test on the day of travel or on one of the previous three days. For example, with a flight at 3 p.m. on Saturday, you can take a test anytime from Wednesday to Friday, or on Saturday itself.
The United States Centers for Disease Control recommends that you take a second test between three and five days after your arrival, but it is not required.
Unvaccinated, aged 2 to 17 and traveling with a vaccinated parent? Exactly the same as for vaccinated adults, except that post-arrival testing is mandatory, not just recommended.
More information in our full explanation of the new travel rules.
Simon calderNovember 8, 2021 10:19 AM