United States authorities have announced the lifting of some travel restrictions on Monday, allowing international tourists to enter the region from 33 other countries with the requirement of having been fully vaccinated.
The announcement comes after nearly two years since the implementation of travel bans by former United States President Donald Trump's administration. The administration enforced the regulations to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic within the region from other nations that were also struggling with the disease.
Lifting of Travel Restrictions
The list of countries whose travelers were not allowed to enter the United States included China, India, the majority of Europe, and land travelers from Canada and Mexico. United States President Joe Biden signed a proclamation on Oct. 25 that aimed to revoke the suspensions and limitations on entry into the country.
The new rules that were announced affect non-U.S. citizens who were coming into the country by air travel, non-U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, lawful permanent residents, or immigrants. However, travelers are still required to show proof of vaccination from the coronavirus disease before being allowed to board a flight to the U.S., CNET reported.
However, there are exceptions to the rule, such as people who have recently recovered from the infection in the last 90 days. These individuals are not required to show proof of test for the coronavirus, only documentation that shows they have fully recovered from the illness.
The announcement caused a surge of international travelers trying to get into the United States on Monday. The travel ban lift resulted in lines forming at the Canada and Mexico borders before daybreak. Others were quick to board flights from Europe, including dueling departures from London's Heathrow airport.
For people younger than 18, U.S. officials require them to show a recent negative test for the coronavirus infection before being allowed to board a plane to the region. Travelers trying to enter the United States via land or ferry for non-essential reasons must be fully vaccinated.
Despite warnings from federal officials regarding possible long queues at entry points to the United States, there have been very few delays as visitors continued to enter by land and air, USA Today reported.
Surge of International Travelers
During a late October travel industry conference, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said that the first few months of reopening travel borders would be messy. He added that will surely be long lines of people trying to get into the United States.
Many Delta flights scheduled to arrive on Monday were completely packed with high load factors in the following weeks. The airline company has observed a massive 450% increase in international bookings in the six weeks after announcing the reopening of the U.S. travel restrictions.
In an interview, the Lufthansa Group said that its carriers were operating 31 flights to the United States on Monday, which were all fully booked. On the other hand, Virgin Atlantic revealed that its flights were 98% full as others, including Swiss Air and British Airways, said passenger volume on flights going to the United States was high, CNN reported.