WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States expects an influx of international visitors crossing its borders by air and land on Monday after lifting travel restrictions for large parts of the world’s population first imposed at the start of 2020 to fight the spread of Covid-19.
United Airlines expects about 50% more inbound international passengers on Monday compared to last Monday, when it had around 20,000.
And Delta Air Lines chief executive Ed Bastian warned travelers should be prepared for the initial long lines.
“It’s going to be a bit sloppy at first. I can assure you that there will unfortunately be queues, ”Bastian said, adding that“ we will sort it out ”.
Long queues expected at airports due to vaccination document checks
Delta said that in the six weeks since the announcement of the reopening of the United States, it saw a 450% increase in bookings at international outlets compared to the six weeks before the announcement.
White House spokesman Kevin Munoz said on Twitter, “As we expect strong demand when the United States lifts its current restrictions on air and ground travel on Monday, we are taking essential steps to prepare. by providing additional resources. The Biden administration has organized several calls with US airlines to prepare for the influx of additional travelers who will begin arriving at US airports and has warned travelers crossing Canada and Mexico by land or ferry to be prepared for longer waits starting Monday.
For Bhavna Patel, a flight from London will take her to New York on Monday to see her first grandchild after more than a year of watching him grow up via FaceTime.
The rules have banned most non-U.S. Citizens who, in the previous 14 days, have visited 33 countries – Europe’s 26 Schengen countries without border controls, China, India, South Africa , Iran, Brazil, Great Britain and Ireland.
Business group US Travel said countries accounted for 53% of all foreign visitors to the United States in 2019, and border communities have been hit hard by the loss of tourists crossing through Mexico and Canada. The group estimates that the decline in international visits “has resulted in a loss of export revenues of nearly $ 300 billion” since March 2020.
US airlines are increasing flights to Europe and other destinations that have been affected by the restrictions. Airlines are planning events on Monday with executives meeting some of the first flights.
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and United Airlines President Brett Hart are hosting an event at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on Monday to mark the reopening. Airlines will check vaccination documents for international travelers as they currently do for Covid-19 test results. At land border crossings, US Customs and Border Protection will ask if travelers have been vaccinated and will verify certain documents on the spot.
Children under 18 are exempt from the new vaccine requirements. Non-tourist travelers from nearly 50 countries with nationwide vaccination rates of less than 10% will also be eligible for the exemption.
Posted in Dawn, le 8 November 2021