British Airways and Virgin Atlantic react as US travel ban lifted for UK travellers

US travel is back for UK holidaymakers from November – latest updates from airlines including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic ahead of borders reopening to vaccinated visitors

New york city skyline with Empire State Building, View from the Rockefeller Center viewing platform 'Top of the Rock'
The USA is lifting its travel ban for vaccinated Brits in November

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have welcomed the news that the USA is reopening borders to Brits later this year.

The country will be welcoming back fully vaccinated Brits from early November, marking the end of a travel ban that has been in place for nearly 18 months.

Under the current rules, the USA’s borders are closed to anyone who has been in the UK within the previous 14 days, meaning that holidays were off the cards for Brits.

That included destinations that have always been popular with UK holidaymakers such as Orlando, New York, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

According to an ABTA spokesperson, the USA “is by far our most popular long haul destination and in a normal year attracts almost five million visitors from the UK”.

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are among some of the major airlines which offered direct flights between the UK and USA, with both having still operated a small number of flights. (The USA had a handful of exemptions under the travel ban such as American nationals).

Sean Doyle, British Airways CEO and Chairman said: “Today’s news, which will see our two nations reunited after more than 18 months apart, marks a historic moment and one which will provide a huge boost to Global Britain as it emerges from this pandemic.

“We are immensely grateful to the Prime Minister and his Government for all the hard work that’s gone into securing this deal with the US, and which builds upon last Friday’s announcement on the lifting of many travel restrictions. Our customers should now feel that the world is re-opening to them and they can book their trips with confidence.”

Meanwhile Shai Weiss, Virgin Atlantic’s CEO said that the announcement was a “major milestone to the reopening of travel at scale, allowing consumers and businesses to book travel to the US with confidence”.

Las Vegas has always been a hit with party-goers


Getty Images/Westend61)

He added: “As the UK forges its recovery from the pandemic, the reopening of the transatlantic corridor and the lifting of Presidential Order 212F acknowledges the great progress both nations have made in rolling out successful vaccine programmes.

“The UK will now be able to strengthen ties with our most important economic partner, the US, boosting trade and tourism as well as reuniting friends, families and business colleagues. We are thankful to Prime Minister Johnson and the UK Government, the Biden administration and our industry partners for their collaboration.

“The US has been our heartland for more than 37 years since our first flight to New York City in 1984. We are simply not Virgin without the Atlantic. After 18 months of uncertainty, we cannot wait to welcome our customers back onboard, flying them safely to their favourite US destination.”

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