Airlines are experiencing a surge in demand for trips to the US after the White House confirmed it will scrap its ban on fully vaccinated Britons.
Fully vaccinated travellers from the UK and EU will be able to fly to the United States from November in a “new system for international travel,” announced by President Biden’s administration last night.
British Airways said the number of potential customers searching for holidays to key US destinations in the hours after Monday’s announcement was up 700% compared with the same period last week.
Popular locations include New York, Orlando, Las Vegas, Miami, Los Angeles and Boston.
Virgin Atlantic saw a 91 per cent increase in bookings in the single hour following the announcement, with its CEO Shai Weiss describing the move a “major milestone” for the aviation industry.
Compared with the same period a week earlier, demand for flights to Miami was 12 times higher.
The number of bookings to Los Angeles and Orlando increased six-fold.
Demand for trips to New York was five times higher than last week.
Travel industry analysts have warned that the new demand will trigger a rise in fares, for the first time since March 2020.
According to research firm Hopper, return flights between the US and Europe, including the UK, cost an average of £410 pre-announcement. This was the lowest price recorded in five years.
White House Covid-19 co-ordinator Jeff Zients announced on Monday that foreign visitors will be permitted to enter from November if they demonstrate proof of vaccination and a negative test taken in the past three days.
US chief medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci has suggested that British travellers who have been vaccinated with the AstraZeneca (AZ) jab will be allowed into the US.
Dr Fauci told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I don’t believe there’s any reason to believe that people who have received the AZ vaccine should feel that there is going to be any problem with them.”
He added: “Given that we have a substantial amount of information on the AZ vaccine – again without being definitive about it – I would predict that there would not be a problem there.”
He noted that the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) national public health agency will make the final decision on which vaccines will be recognised for US entry.
UK travel firms also enjoyed a spike in bookings on Friday and over the weekend after the UK Government announced plans to ease its own travel restrictions.
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