Off to the USA?

By | Category: Travel destinations

Today, the USA opens its borders to many international visitors.

The USA is likely to see more visitors from the UK if airline announcements are true

You will know about this if you have ready newspapers this morning or listened to radio or tv news bulletins this morning.

Airports – particularly Heathrow – British Airways and Virgin Atlantic sent out the PR people to get as much coverage of the border opening as they could. And judging by that coverage, they succeeded pretty well.

From today some 33 countries will resume flights to USA destinations for fully vaccinated people so airlines around the world are celebrating the fact and particularly those in Europe.

Why Europe?

Because the transatlantic flights tend to be the most profitable as they tend to have more premium class tickets sold on them.

As we mentioned in September when it was announced that the USA would open up, this is the opening that European legacy airlines have been waiting for.

The hope amongst many airlines and tour operators is that this heralds the return of long-haul travel in a big way. They have a lot riding on how numbers over the next six months look and in particular if premium seats sell well.

Indeed IAG (the owners of BA, Iberia and Aer Lingus) says that nearly all IAG transatlantic flights are sold out for Monday, with November and December pre-bookings above 2019 levels.

A week or so ago, the group said that booking rates have soared by 167% since the November 8th re-opening was announced, with new bookings across the pond being at 96% of 2019 levels. The important figure is the 96%. That suggests that flight numbers at least in the short-term are nearly back to “normal.”

We have been used to the selective releasing of data by the travel industry during the pandemic so it would be better to wait until the brouhaha over today has subsided and we can see just how bookings performed over a month or two.

For the leisure traveller, there should be plenty of seats as by next month British Airways along will be linking to 23 different American cities.

If we don’t see an upturn in visitor numbers going to – especially – New York, California and Florida then news of a strong bounce-back will have been over-egged.

If we do then it will show a confidence amongst leisure passengers to get in the air again.

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