Demand For U.K.-U.S. Flights Surge After White House Commits To Relax Covid Travel Restrictions
Demand for travel from the U.K. to the U.S. has surged after the White House announced Monday that international tourists who are fully vaccinated against coronavirus will be permitted to enter the U.S. for the first time in more than a year starting in November, two of Britain’s largest airlines told Forbes.
Virgin Atlantic told Forbes in a statement Tuesday that it had a 600% overnight jump in bookings to the U.S. compared to the same time last week, with the most popular destination being New York City.
Flight bookings to popular vacation spots with warm weather have also surged, Virgin Atlantic said, with flights to Orlando up elevenfold, Miami up ninefold and Las Vegas up eightfold.
British Airways, the U.K.’s flag carrier, told Forbes in a statement that searches on its website for flights and holiday packages for U.S. destinations had jumped significantly, with searches up 2,000% for Thanksgiving dates compared to the same period last week, and a 900% jump for dates around Christmas.
BA told Forbes it does not share numbers of travel bookings, but said the most popular U.S. destinations for travelers from the U.K. include New York, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago.
Interest in travel to the U.S. has also increased in Europe, with German carrier Lufthansa telling Forbes in a statement bookings to the U.S. had jumped 40% since the announcement, and that it expects demand for travel from Germany to Florida to increase this winter.
Before the coronavirus pandemic battered the travel industry in 2019, New York to London was the most profitable air route in the world. British Airways earned almost $1.2 billion in 2018 from its popular New York JFK and London Heathrow flights, making it the first billion-dollar flight route according to a study from OAG, a U.K.-based global travel data provider.
International tourists will be able to enter the U.S. for the first time in 18 months starting in November if they show proof of vaccination along with a negative Covid-19 test taken within three days of the U.S.-bound flight, the White House said Monday. The majority of nonessential travel to the U.S. by travelers without U.S. citizenship or residency has been banned since early last year during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic cost the U.S. travel industry $492 billion in cumulative losses, according to the U.S. Travel Association. International spending fell by 76% in 2020 compared to the previous year.
U.S. Will Require Foreign Visitors Be Fully Vaccinated Against Covid (Forbes)
Billion-Dollar Route: New York-London Is King Of The Top 10 Airline Flights By Revenue (Forbes)