Europe’s airlines have seen a surge in bookings overnight as the United States of America revealed that it would reopen to fully vaccinated tourists. The news will be extremely welcome by airlines who have been campaigning for the US to reopen to their passengers for months.
Towards the pandemic’s start, the United States banned travelers from Europe, the UK, and a handful of other countries. At the time, these were hotspots for the COVID-19 virus. However, as cases dropped in such countries, the ban wasn’t revised, leading to anger from airlines and passengers.
A huge surge in bookings
Since the US government’s announcement, airlines in Europe have seen a huge surge in bookings. British Airways was one of the first to reveal as much. Just hours after the announcement was made, BA said it had seen a 700% increase in flight searches for the United States.
Rival airline Virgin Atlantic also saw a similar impact. This morning the airline revealed that bookings to the United States had increased by 600% overnight compared to a week earlier.
Unsurprisingly, New York had the highest increase in bookings as the airline’s flagship route. However, holiday destinations also benefited. Orlando bookings increased by 11 times, while Miami was up nine times and Las Vegas increased eight times. Commenting, the airline’s CEO, Shai Weiss, said,
“We are simply not Virgin without the Atlantic. After 18 months of uncertainty, we cannot wait to welcome our customers back onboard, flying them safety to their favourite US destination.”
The past week has been a double whammy of good news for British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. Not only did they receive notice that the United States would be reopening to their customers on Monday, but they also saw changes closer to home. On Friday, the UK Government revealed that it would be relaxing its COVID-19 related travel rules for vaccinated individuals, though they will become more challenging for the unvaccinated.
What about Lufthansa?
It is not only the UK airlines that are excited about the US reopening. Lufthansa has also seen positive booking changes. The German flag carrier observed a slightly more modest booking increase than Virgin Atlantic at 40%.
The airline’s CEO, Carsten Spohr, revealed that the United States was its most profitable market during its last quarterly results, even despite the ongoing restrictions. With passengers allowed to travel once more, the airline should see a decent financial boost.
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Spohr called the news a “major course-setting event on our way out of the crisis”, adding,
“The removal of travel restrictions to the USA is not only a major step out of the crisis for our airlines but also terrific news for the transatlantic partnership. As of November, families and friends will finally be able to see each other again, and business partners will be able to reestablish and deepen relationships in person.”
Have you booked a flight to the US following the rule change? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!