Virgin Atlantic reported a 600 percent increase in flight bookings to the United States, and British Airways reported an increase in searches after the United States announced that it would lift restrictions to allow fully vaccinated passengers from the United Kingdom and most European Union countries to travel to the country beginning in early November.
Bookings increased dramatically overnight compared to the same time last week, as the US government stated on Monday that the 18-month travel restriction imposed by Donald Trump in the early stages of the outbreak would be lifted.
According to Virgin Atlantic, the majority of bookings were to New York, while traditional leisure areas were also popular with vacationers. Flights to Orlando increased elevenfold, bookings to Miami increased ninefold, and demand for Las Vegas increased eightfold.
The airline’s chief commercial officer, Juha Järvinen, stated, “Following the progressive liberalization of travel restrictions, we’ve seen demand surge to many of our global destinations, but the United States has always been our heartland.” We are simply not Virgin without the Atlantic, and I am overjoyed that we are finally able to return to this country that means so much to us.”
British Airways, the second major UK carrier that flies to the US, has recently resumed cross-Atlantic bookings. It is running a flash sale on flights until Tuesday at midnight, with return tickets to New York starting at £320 for travel beginning in January and Los Angeles starting at £349 beginning in November.
In the days leading up to Christmas, BA reported an almost 900 percent spike in searches for flights and package holidays to key US destinations compared to the same period the previous week. Searches for flights and Thanksgiving vacations increased by nearly 2,000 percent. New York, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago were among the most popular destinations.
MoneySuperMarket showed a 174 percent increase in the number of queries for travel insurance policies for vacations to the United States compared to the previous week.
Following a year of restrictions, many more passengers, according to Virgin Atlantic, were treating themselves to cabin upgrades and extra legroom seats. Its premium class, which includes pre-departure refreshments and a more roomy 90cm (38in) seat pitch, was the most booked cabin on its aircraft.
UK travel requirements have also been loosened in recent days, including the elimination of costly PCR tests for the fully vaccinated, resulting in an overall increase in demand for flights and travel.
Flights to the Caribbean have increased by 50% since last week, with Virgin Atlantic’s newest route to St Vincent and the Grenadines, slated to start on October 13, being the most booked Caribbean trip. Barbados was close following, helped by October half-term and Christmas bookings. Bookings to Jamaica and St. Lucia have also more than doubled.