The Clock Is Ticking: Will The US Open To Europe In Early November?

After a lengthy wait, next month should see the US reopen to travelers from Europe. The country announced in September its plans to allow vaccinated passengers from previously banned nations to enter, with November being touted as the month in which this would happen. However, as the reopening approaches, the exact date for this remains unknown.

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When will American and BA be able to take European passengers to the US? Photo: Getty Images

The story so far

The US’s entry ban for European travelers has been a hot topic throughout the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It has been of particular interest to hybrid carrier JetBlue, whose new transatlantic routes from New York to JFK to London’s Gatwick and Heathrow Airports have been launched in a challenging climate for this lucrative corridor.

After all, they can presently only be used by US travelers, following the UK’s reopening for vaccinated passengers from ‘amber list’ countries in August. UK and European passengers will have to wait a little longer to try out these exciting new services, with JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes stating in August that he feared the US wouldn’t reopen until November.

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JetBlue went ahead with its UK launch despite the ban. Photo: Sumit Singh | Simple Flying

The following month, the country announced that this would indeed be the case. The US revealed in September that it would be lifting its ban for vaccinated individuals from previously banned countries, such as those in Europe, in November. This led to a strong booking surge. However, with reopening on the horizon, the matter still seems uncertain.

Exact date remains unknown

The uncertainty regarding the US’s forthcoming reopening for vaccinated European passengers has arisen following an interview with UK Transport Minister Grant Shapps. According to Reuters, the Secretary of State told Sky News this morning that the exact date of the reopening remains unknown. This is due to the need to iron out certain technicalities.

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The UK has been open to vaccinated US travelers since August. Photo: Getty Images

Shapps has remained in contact with his US counterpart and the country’s ambassador on the matter. He added that it is not that the country doesn’t want to proceed with its reopening, but rather it is still yet to work out exactly how to go about it. Regarding the date, he later told Times Radio that “they’re still saying to me, early November.”

However, there are some doubts as to whether ‘early November’ remains a realistic target. As seen in the tweet above, the amount of work still required may render this unlikely, with the exact reopening date potentially occurring later in the month.

The idea that the US would be unable to deliver on its proposed November reopening could cause frustration among airlines and their passengers. A Daily Telegraph source reportedly told the publication that “I think a line will be crossed if this is not sorted by Thanksgiving on November 25th.” Whether the matter is wrapped up by then remains to be seen.

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British Airways will reintroduce the A380 on certain US routes in December. Photo: Getty Images

Key to the A380’s return at BA

The US’s forthcoming reopening has been a key part of British Airways’ decision to bring four of its Airbus A380s back into service. As Simple Flying reported this week, the UK flag carrier will initially deploy the ‘superjumbo’ on services to Los Angeles and Miami.

Outside the US, Dubai is also on the cards, following potential familiarization flights to Frankfurt and Madrid. BA will reintroduce the A380 in December, which gives it time in terms of potential delays to the US’s reopening. Nonetheless, with families and friends across the Atlantic having been apart for so long, all involved will be hoping for a timely resolution.

When do you think the US will reopen to European travelers? Are you planning to visit the States in the coming months? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.