Today marks the day when millions of tourists who have been barred from entering the country for more than 20 months will be welcomed back to the U.S.
According to data collected by Cirum, a company that specializes in data and analytics for aviation and travel, during the first week of the reopening airlines in both sides of the Atlantic will operate 1,560 flights
This represents only 58% of the 2,708 departures in the same week in November 2019, before the pandemic caused havoc on the airline industry.
The first flights will be operated by 24 US airports and 31 European airports. Leading the way is JFK with 337 flights, followed by Newark with 185, Chicago 148, Washington Dulles 118, and Miami with 110.
Heathrow, one of the world’s busiest airports, will serve 408 flights from Europe, followed by Paris CDG with 181, Frankfurt 176, Amsterdam 135, and Istanbul with 85.
On the other hand, the lack of digital technology to help travelers pass through customs could overshadow this great news for the tourism industry.
Experts predict that this fact may result in significant bottlenecks now that the COVID-19 test and vaccination certificates’ verification has doubled the amount of time a person should spend in the airport.
“[U.S. Customs and Border Patrol] requires that the airlines are responsible for verifying vaccination records and test results before allowing [international travelers] to check-in,” says Sherry Stein, head of technology for SITA Americas.
According to a recent report published by The Family Vacation Guide, at least 10 US airports saw an average of 20% flight delays between July 2019 and July 2021.
Given that these data reflect airports’ situation when the country was closed to 38 nations, flight delays and airport congestion could be about to get worse when thousands of new tourists start arriving today.
Once EU travelers arrive in the U.S. they should be aware that certain states still mandate visitors to wear face masks in indoor public venues.
In some cities like New York and San Francisco customers must present proof of vaccination to access indoor public spaces such as restaurants and bars.