VThe irgin Atlantic website temporarily crashed as the British rushed to book flights to visit the United States for the first time in over a year.
The White House is considering lifting the general 18-month ban on foreign travelers from entering the country. The ban was introduced by former President Donald Trump at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Virgin Atlantic reported that its site briefly crashed around 4 p.m. as the British attempted to book flights to popular destinations such as New York, Washington and Las Vegas.
He said bookings jumped 91% within an hour of the announcement.
Travel site Skyscanner immediately reacted to the news. He reported a 54% increase in site traffic following the announcement compared to the same period last week.
The United States is currently the seventh most searched destination in the world on Skyscanner. The most popular dates for UK travelers are November 25th or around Thanksgiving.
Martin Nolan, Traveler Rights Expert at Skyscanner, said: “Following last week’s travel update, this is great news for all travelers who have been waiting to visit the United States for more. a year and a half. Searches for key US destinations like New York and Orlando have remained high throughout the pandemic, despite restrictions preventing bookings as people dreamed of seeing family and friends or visiting some of the states’ most popular destinations. -United.
“Travel between the UK and the US is a significant part of tourism for both countries, particularly between London and New York. While travelers have continued to seek flights between the UK and the US in large numbers throughout the pandemic, the majority of fares booked have been mostly short-term essential travel.
“With the option for transatlantic travel now open, we expect a lot of this research will turn into bookings very quickly as friends and families plan to reunite and vacationers head to their places. favorite. “
The news has been hailed by airlines and travel experts.
Shai Weiss, CEO of Virgin Atlantic, said: “The announcement by the US government that fully vaccinated UK visitors will be able to enter the US from November is an important step towards reopening large-scale travel, allowing consumers and businesses to book trips to the United States. with confidence.
“As the UK recovers from the pandemic, the reopening of the Transatlantic Corridor and the lifting of Presidential Order 212F recognize the great strides both countries have made in rolling out successful vaccination programs. The UK will now be able to strengthen its ties with our most important economic partner, the United States, by boosting trade and tourism as well as bringing together friends, family and work colleagues. We thank the UK government, the Biden administration and our industry partners for their collaboration.
“The United States has been our heart for over 37 years since our first flight to New York in 1984. We just aren’t Virgin without the Atlantic. After 18 months of uncertainty, we look forward to welcoming our customers back on board, taking them safely to their preferred US destination. “
Sean Doyle, CEO and Chairman of British Airways, said: “Today’s news, which will see our two nations reunited after more than 18 months of separation, marks a historic moment and will give a huge boost to the World Great Britain at the end of this pandemic.
“We are extremely grateful to the Prime Minister and his government for all the hard work that has gone into securing this deal with the United States, and which builds on last Friday’s announcement to lift many travel restrictions. Our customers must now feel that the world is opening up to them and they can book their trips with complete peace of mind. “
The news will undoubtedly be well received by airports like Heathrow.
Earlier, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “delighted” that US President Joe Biden “restores transatlantic travel”.
He added, “It’s a great boost for business and commerce, and it’s great that family and friends on both sides of the pond can come together.
About 3.8 million British nationals visited the United States each year before the pandemic, according to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.