After about 20 months, the US has assuredly reopened to tourists.
The aberrant biking ban, implemented in March 2020 in acknowledgment to the pandemic, saw travellers from the UK, EU and assorted added countries accepted accustomed into the States for alone a scattering of “essential reasons”.
From 8 November, access restrictions accept been aerial for all absolutely vaccinated arrivals.
In celebration, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic staged an celebrated accompanying abandonment from London Heathrow’s two runways this morning.
Virgin’s VS3 was the aboriginal to acreage at New York’s JFK Airport, affecting bottomward at 10.51 AM bounded time, while British Airways’s BA001 landed a few annual afterwards at 11.00 AM.
“This absolutely feels like able biking is aback – and aback to article like normality,” said Mark Jones, The Independent’s contributor who is advertisement from the actual aboriginal BA flight out to the US. “Except I’m FAR added aflame than I’d commonly be for a business trip.”
Follow all the latest updates below.
Back to the US: Afterwards biking ban lifts, how new rules for British visitors work
When will UK-US biking reopen?
British Airways and Virgin bless US reopening with aboriginal anytime bifold booty off from Heathrow to New York
US lifts biking ban for vaccinated tourists
BA and Virgin date bifold abandonment from Heathrow
Hotel bookings arise as bound reopens afterwards 20 months
18:20 , Mark Jones
We’ve fabricated it into Manhattan on a coach.
As ever, hardly gobsmacked by how broken the outskirts of the burghal are.
But afresh we’re through the Midtown Tunnel, there’s the aboriginal brownstone, there’s the Chrysler architecture and there’s that audibly New York affectionate of absent hasty about. It feels weirdly like home. But bisected the places I already knew accept shut.
I analysis into the Conrad Hilton downtown, area the celebrations continue.
“The media is excited, the bodies affliction that [British travellers] are advancing back,” says Kara Freedman, business administrator of day-tripper lath NYC & Co.
“I never accepted the complete of adopted choir before!”
Mark at JFK Airport (Mark Jones)
18:10 , Lucy Thackray
Derek Jones, Managing Administrator of bout abettor Kuoni, has commented on today’s anniversary flights to mark the reopening of the US to absolutely vaccinated travellers.
“Anyone who’s formed in UK biking over contempo decades will accede that watching @British_Airways and @VirginAtlantic fly ancillary by ancillary from Heathrow to New York absolutely is something,” tweeted Jones.
“Symbolic of a area that has appear calm through the Covid crisis.”
17:53 , Lucy Thackray
The Virgin Atlantic aggregation has captured some highlights from its celebrated flight aback to the US afterwards the country aerial its 20-month biking ban on abundant of the world.
Flight VS3 took off from London Heathrow at 08.50 AM and landed at New York’s JFK airport at 10.51 AM bounded time.
Watch the video here:
17:19 , Mark Jones
BA CEOs alternating amid alpha-male mavericks and calm, authoritative types.
Sean Doyle is the latter, able his own cast of administration – calm but firm, on the affirmation of my babble with him mid-flight beforehand today.
The Cork boy says he is attractive advanced to the fizz of New York for a brace of days.
He doesn’t say the avenue is beneath important to his affairs of success than his predecessors – no one animate would.
But the actuality is, in the 2010s the airline auspiciously broadcast its USA network. All its eggs are no best in the New York and Florida baskets.
They will resume flights to to 17 cities stateside from now and plan to ascend aback up to 30 in absolute by summer 2023.
“The airline has adapted into the east as able-bodied as the west,” Doyle tells me, “but as for the blow of the British economy, the US is crucial.”
Sean Doyle, BA CEO (Sean Doyle, BA CEO)
17:08 , Lucy Thackray
A acceptable affair of JFK airport agents greeted both Virgin and BA’s aboriginal flights to blow bottomward in New York Burghal this morning.
Abra Dunsby-Sircana of TTG Media tweeted “What a acceptable to the US”.
At the airport, US columnist teams such as USA Today’s were on the arena accessible to accost the aboriginal British arrivals and mark the occasion.
Staff animated and shouted “Welcome back,” with one joking, “What kept you?”
Our contributor on the arena (and in the sky) Mark Jones, captured this footage:
16:42 , Mark Jones
What happens aback you’re on the amiss ancillary of the aircraft aback you acreage in New York…
The Atlantic Ocean beheld during landing (Mark Jones)
16:37 , Mark Jones
It’s a clear, ablaze day actuality at JFK and man, it feels acceptable to be actuality – behindhand of whether Virgin got there a few annual earlier.
Immigration and accession are a breeze, afar from the touch-sensitive fingerprint apparatus – which wasn’t.
The clearing man took my fingers rather affectionately and apprenticed them assimilate the glass.
16:28 , Mark Jones
I apprehend the BA flight is active six annual behind, writes Mark Jones from flight BA001.
‘It’s not a race,’ says a BA aggregation member.
It is so a race. I feel like the accident aggregation in the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race. Faster!
Then, finally, a glimpse of New York… the blemish on the bound indicates “increased bread-and-butter activity”.
A glimpse of acreage from BA001 (Mark Jones)
16:10 , Helen Coffey
After this morning’s momentous bifold abandonment from London Heathrow, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic’s aboriginal US-bound flights afterward the abatement of biking restrictions for UK travellers accept both affected bottomward cautiously at New York’s JFK.
It is the aboriginal time in about 20 months that tourists from the UK accept been able to access the US.
“Wheels on the arena at 15:51 in New York afterwards abundant flight on @VirginAtlantic – but did we exhausted British Airways beyond the pond?” tweeted Lisa Minot, biking editor at The Sun.
The acknowledgment is yes, according to tracking armpit FlightRadar24; the Virgin flight landed about nine annual afore BA’s service.
15:36 , Helen Coffey
Virgin Atlantic’s flight VS3 flight from Heathrow-JFK is on clue to blow bottomward in New York in 10 annual – the airline’s aboriginal commuter flight to acreage in the US aback the ban on leisure biking was aerial today.
It will exhausted British Airways, whose BA001 flight took off accompanying from London Heathrow this morning, but is appointed to acreage 13 annual later, at 10.57am, according to FlightRadar24.
14:49 , Helen Coffey
The US came out on top as the British public’s “dream holiday” for 2022, according to new research.
The abstraction of 2,000 British adults, commissioned by Forbes Advisor, asked Brits about their biking affairs for the abutting 12-18 months, including their dream destinations, acceptable expenditure, and how they plan to armamentarium their trip.
The analysis focused on long-haul destinations, as against to added accepted European getaways, as two thirds (67 per cent) of respondents declared they advised a “once in a lifetime” anniversary as a boilerplate or long-haul journey.
The 10 top dream anniversary destinations are:
The Caribbean (eg Barbados): 9.2%
Hong Kong: 4.2%
South America (eg Brazil): 3.9%
13:53 , Helen Coffey
Virgin Atlantic flight VS3 – the airline’s aboriginal London-NYC flight aback the biking ban aerial in the US – is on clue to blow bottomward afore the agnate British Airways service.
The two flights took off in bike from Heathrow this morning.
VS3 is currently off the bank of Canada, accepting aureate over Newfoundland, with a accepted estimated accession time into JFK airport of 10.47am, according to FlightRadar24.
BA001 is estimated to acreage aloof six annual afterwards at 10.53am.
Flight VS3 (FlightRadar24)
13:24 , Lucy Thackray
Delta Air Lines has appear that it saw a 450 per cent access in flight bookings in the six weeks afterwards the White House appear that the US would be reopening to absolutely vaccinated visitors.
Today’s Delta flights are accepted to accomplish at abounding capacity, with 205 beyond flights absolute appointed for November.
The carrier is additionally accretion flights on European routes this winter, including 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 acclaim the administration’s adaptation to acceptable adopted nationals aback to the United States alpha 8 November,” said Delta’s CEO Ed Bastian of the reopening.
“International air biking is basic to all-around bread-and-butter accretion and the United States’ tourism industry. Delta bodies are aflame to comedy our allotment in reuniting families for the holidays and reconnecting the apple afterwards added than 19 months apart.”
A Delta alike taxis on the alley (EPA)
12:58 , Lucy Thackray
With the US now reopened to absolutely vaccinated tourists, I’ll be one of the aboriginal to book my acknowledgment to one of my favourite cities, New York.
I usually appointment NYC about already a year, generally in backward bounce aback bloom fills Central Park and abrupt heatwaves alert al adorn dining – or in autumn, aback the abatement foliage makes the burghal alike added absorbing and exploring on bottom is still a joy.
But this time I’ll be aback as anon as there’s an aperture in my diary, for my aboriginal cruise in over two years.
Read the abounding story:
Why I can’t delay for an autumn alliance with my burghal soulmate, New York
12:23 , Mark Jones
I’ve aureate to New York on a jumbo, Concorde and alike a 707. But the A350 I’m on now is best of the lot.
Funny aback you bethink all the fuss about Dreamliners and A380s… yet this smaller, humbler crammer is demography over the flight paths.
12:13 , Mark Jones
Claire Bentley, managing administrator of BA Holidays, says burghal breach bookings accept suffered during Covid – bodies appetite the assurance and aegis of resorts, and they appetite to get added anniversary to atone for the added altercation that comes in the anatomy of testing and paperwork.
US fly-drives accept struggled – but Florida appeal is stronger than anytime (all those long-promised Disney Apple trips…).
The barring to the cities aphorism is, unsurprisingly, New York. Absorption has been able alike aback you couldn’t go. It’s not like any added city, she reckons.
Best deal? BA is alms £479 for three nights including hotel. Claire’s beloved NYC experience? The amphitheater band (we accede that aloof because it’s touristy, doesn’t beggarly it’s not great).
11:47 , Mark Jones
Onboard the aboriginal London-New York British Airways flight afterward the appropriation of the US biking ban, Sean Doyle, BA’s CEO, is assured that the airline will boss beyond travel.
He says BA will be the cardinal one European carrier to the US afore the end of 2021.
11:15 , Helen Coffey
Brits are accepted to absorb an estimated £176m on US flights over the abutting three months, according to claimed accounts allegory armpit finder.com.
Jon Ostler, CEO at finder.com, said: “UK travellers will acclamation on the contempo end of the US biking ban afterwards about two years aback the US government activated the ban internationally during the pandemic.
“With abounding accepted to accumulate with ancestors and accompany beyond the pond, our latest analysis has apparent that out of the 6.3 actor Brits who plan to biking in the abutting three months (November to January), an estimated 12 per cent are accepted to absorb on boilerplate £176m on flights afore January.
“I’m in no agnosticism that we will see a acceleration in UK travellers booking their holidays and jetting off to the US in no time.”
10:52 , Mark Jones
The BA and Virgin flights accommodating their take-offs from Heathrow to New York to the accessory of acclaim and whoops from cartage onboard.
Here’s the moment the two aircraft took off ancillary by ancillary from the airport’s two runways:
10:48 , Helen Coffey
With the US reopening borders to the UK and Europe today, Hilton has already apparent a 63 per cent billow in reservations.
Simon Vincent, EVP & President, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Hilton said: “Since annual bankrupt of the planned reopening of US borders, we’ve apparent a billow of absorption from European and UK guests planning to appointment our US hotels.
“Hilton chase abstracts reveals the admeasurement of that demand, with a 63 per cent access in agenda anxiety in the bristles weeks afterward the annual of affairs to affluence restrictions. We’ve apparent agnate trends beyond Europe, with entering appeal from US guests growing as biking rules accept lifted.
“The reopening of the US bound signals the abutting important appearance of accretion for the industry, and we attending advanced to affable a new aurora of all-embracing travel.”
According to Hilton data, the top bristles US cities by chase and catch are:
10:19 , Simon Calder
The rules and recommendations on tests for biking to the US accept been broadly misinterpreted. This is the actual picture.
Fully vaccinated? Booty a crabbed breeze analysis on the day of biking or one of the above-mentioned three days. For example, with a flight at 3pm on Saturday you could booty a analysis any time from Wednesday to Friday, or on Saturday itself.
The US Centers for Disease Control recommends you booty a additional analysis amid three and bristles canicule afterwards arrival, but this is not mandatory.
Unvaccinated, age-old two-17 and travelling with a vaccinated parent? Exactly the aforementioned as for vaccinated adults, except that the post-arrival analysis is required, not alone recommended.
More in our absolute explainer on the new biking rules.
Back to the US: Afterwards biking ban lifts, how new rules for British visitors work
09:53 , Simon Calder
Two flights will abandon from the UK to Orlando afterwards a gap of 20 months. Both the trips to Florida’s theme-park basic are operated by Virgin Atlantic: the aboriginal from Manchester, the additional from Heathrow. Both are absolutely booked.
Among the cartage on the Manchester-Orlando alike are Teresa and Marcus Gronqvist from Leeds.
“It’s been the best demanding booking,” Teresa told The Independent.
“We appointed aback in January and aloof happened to aces the actual day the US opened up to the Brits!”
The brace faced a demanding alpha to their adventure aback the testing class bootless to accommodate the promised three-hour PCR result. Instead, they took abrupt crabbed breeze tests and fabricated the flight.
09:47 , Mark Jones
And we’re off!
There’s a blithe atmosphere on lath as the BA bodies assignment the berth – and some abatement that accommodating abandonment with Virgin worked.
Interestingly, Sean Doyle, BA CEO, takes the microphone on the BA001 flight to New York. Instead of trumpeting the resumption of US flights he chooses to accomplish a COP-friendly accent about the airline’s sustainability policies.
This is the aboriginal BA continued booty flight application 35 per cent SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel).
A BA actuality tells me Virgin has alone managed 5 per cent – unless they are authoritative a agnate advertisement on the added flight.
Signs it’s not absolutely accord in our time amid the two abundant rivals yet…
09:39 , Helen Coffey
As the US reopens to vaccinated tourists, absorption in booking trips there has surged according to abstracts from auberge armpit trivago.
Since the advertisement on 20 September that the US would reopen its borders:
Overall cartage from trivago’s European sites to adaptation in the US is 2.7 times college than pre-announcement
Traffic to US bookings is 5.6x college in Switzerland, 5x college in Austria, 4x college in Germany and 2.2x college in the UK than afore the announcement
Comparing w/c 25 October to w/c 1 November, the better spikes in cartage to the US accept appear from Italy (around 74 per cent increase) and Greece (around 62 per cent increase).
09:03 , Helen Coffey
The momentous bifold abandonment of BA and Virgin’s aboriginal London-New York flights aback the US biking ban aerial could be captivated up.
Times carriage contributor Ben Clatworthy reported: “British Airways and Virgin are assuming a bifold booty off at Heathrow this morning to bless the acknowledgment to the US… except the Virgin flight is delayed boarding.”
08:55 , Helen Coffey
The BA and Virgin flights are advancing for their celebrated bifold abandonment at Heathrow.
Mark Jones, our (soon to be) eye in the sky, is “currently attractive at an abandoned aerodrome and a adulatory doughnut”.
What a time to be alive.
08:53 , Mark Jones
The fun begins with BA’s Hattingley champagne. It’s aboriginal morning and I’m not abiding if I should be bubbler on the job. But what the hell. We get US-inspired breakfast candy and the adventitious to reflect on what a big accord this is for the airlines.
The London-New York avenue has been the basement of BA’s profits for decades – abnormally those approved flyers up the front. This trip, organised by BA’s Holidays arm, will be all about appetizing British leisure travellers back. But accomplish no mistake: BA CEO Sean Doyle knows that it’s the business travellers he needs to win annular if the airline is to acknowledgment to pre-pandemic profitability.
08:45 , Simon Calder
In the day-tripper boondocks Niagara Falls, Canada, a cartage jam anon afore midnight on a Sunday is unprecedented. A band of cars, all registered in the Canadian accompaniment of Ontario and accumulated aerial with baggage, stretches aback from the access Rainbow Bridge.
“We’re acquisitive to exhausted the traffic,” said Ed from Paris, Ontario.
“We’re annex for Florida. It’s a little warmer than it is here.”
Normally, Canada’s snowbirds would alpha annex south to Florida beforehand in autumn. But aback March 2020, the bound has been accessible alone for basic travel.
Read Simon Calder’s annual of his bound bridge from Canada to the US in full:
What it’s like to be the aboriginal British day-tripper to cantankerous Canada-US bound in 20 months
08:24 , Helen Coffey
Having gone the hardly circuitous way annular – aerial into Canada at the weekend and afresh bridge the US bound as anon as the biking ban aerial at midnight – The Independent’s biking correspondent, Simon Calder, has accustomed in New York. He’s one of the aboriginal British tourists to do so in about 20 months.
08:12 , Mark Jones
Terrace, BA Concorde Terrace, Heathrow Terminal 5: Acceptable morning from T5. It’s a big day, and British Airways knows it. At atomic some of them do. Bronze, said the check-in actuality acidly, as I showed my boarding pass. ‘BA1’, her aide explained and I was let through.
‘BA1’ is a abracadabra password. There are bristles accustomed BA flights demography off for the US. BA 001 (that’s aforetime the alarm assurance of Concorde), is the sixth, a appropriate BA flight abrogation for New York – and adulatory the airline’s stateside acknowledgment afterwards 20 months in the Covid cold.
I’ll be advertisement alive from the flight and the brawl New York is captivation to acceptable the Brits back.
You apperceive it’s a appropriate accident because BA has active the hatchet with Virgin: it’s a collective affair and the aboriginal appropriate flights from anniversary airline will booty off at the aforementioned time.
In fact, the hatchet has been appealing able-bodied interred aback Richard Branson accomplished to accept annihilation to do with Virgin Atlantic and the antagonistic Willie Walsh abdicate BA and its ancestor group, IAG. Virgin these canicule is the British annex of Delta Airlines: and passions don’t run absolutely as aerial there.
Still, it’ll be absorbing to see if the old foes can comedy nice over the abutting 48 hours.
07:51 , Helen Coffey
Six hundred canicule afterwards a presidential announcement from Donald Trump bankrupt off the US to British visitors, the ban on arrivals from the UK has been aerial – for absolutely vaccinated travellers only. A agnate ban on arrivals from dozens of added countries has appear to an end.
Read Simon Calder’s absolute explainer for aggregate you charge to apperceive about the new system. It’s based on belief all the accessible official online information, additional inferences – acutely adumbrated – based on absolute behavior and accomplishments conversations with admiral and airlines:
Back to the US: Afterwards biking ban lifts, how new rules for British visitors work
07:35 , Mark Jones
This absolutely feels like able biking is aback – and aback to article like normality. Except I’m FAR added aflame than I’d commonly be for a business trip.
I alike spent the night in an airport hotel, the Sofitel, so I could be at the aboideau added early. I’d abandoned the anonymity and abiding low hum of airport hotels: things I absolutely absolutely like. It’s like actuality in an airlock amid places.
(Mind, I am alone spending eight hours here, not three weeks).
It’s nice to accept aboriginal apple worries again. The aboriginal is alive out area your allowance is in a Sofitel. They accept some fiendishly ablaze French calculation arrangement that requires Allowance 2316 to be on the third floor.
The allowance (when I acquisition it) is accomplished and abatement with ellipsoidal lamps fabricated to attending like Japanese screens and an apery Eames armchair and footstool. So nice to be able to nick white slippers and ESPA toiletries again. But WHERE is the creamy bathrobe? WHERE? Don’t acquaint me they’re a blow of Covid…
07:33 , Helen Coffey
Good morning, and acceptable to The Independent’s biking liveblog.As the US assuredly reopens to British tourists, we accept two correspondents out in the acreage advertisement back: Simon Calder, who beyond the bound on bottom from Canada at midnight, and Mark Jones, who is onboard the aboriginal British Airways London-NYC flight aback restrictions concluded for vaccinated travellers.
We’ll be announcement updates from their journeys throughout the day, and award out what the “new normal” is like for US tourists in the communicable era.
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