Virgin Atlantic has reported a 600% surge in flight bookings to the US and British Airways reported a jump in searches after the US said it would lift restrictions to allow fully vaccinated passengers from the UK and most European Union countries to travel to the country from early November. Bookings jumped overnight after the US government announced on Monday the end of the 18-month travel ban first imposed by Trump in the early stages of the pandemic.
Virgin Atlantic said most bookings were to New York, while typical leisure destinations were also popular with holidaymakers. Orlando flights were up 11 -fold, Miami bookings rose nine-fold and demand for Las Vegas was up eight-fold.
Juha Järvinen, the airline’s chief commercial officer, said: “Following the gradual relaxation of travel restrictions, we’ve seen demand increase to many of our global destinations, but the USA has always been our heartland.” British Airways, the other major UK carrier flying to the US, has also started taking cross-Atlantic bookings again. It has a flash sale on flights until midnight on Tuesday, with return deals to New York starting at £320 for travel from January, and Los Angeles from £349 from November.