Airlines resume DFW to Europe flights; vaccines often needed
The airlines want to reconnect the US with Europe and other international destinations, even if the COVID pandemic continues to throw obstacles in the way.
Lufthansa resumed service from DFW Airport to Frankfurt on May 1st. In most cases, most Americans are still unable to enter Germany or many other European Union countries without lengthy quarantine, but the resumption of service has not yet been completed.This is seen as a big step as Lufthansa is widely used to connect passengers to places like Israel, India and West Africa.
Travel to India will be banned from Tuesday due to a COVID outbreak in that country, the White House said on Friday.
While travelers will soon find a growing number of international options, there is a catch in many cases.
Travelers not only have to be tested for COVID before departure, they also have to comply with the entry regulations at their destination. In many cases – Greece, Iceland and Israel are good examples – visitors are allowed to enter without quarantine if they provide evidence of COVID vaccination.
Despite the obstacles, airlines are confident that travel restrictions between the US and Europe will move towards normal by the summer – especially for those who are vaccinated.
“In general there is optimism in Europe,” said Tal Muscal, Lufthansa spokesman from the USA.
American Airlines, based in Fort Worth, plans to fly from New York’s JFK Airport to Tel Aviv, Israel, starting May 6. American Airlines also plans to fly from JFK to Athens, Greece, starting June 3rd.
American and its Oneworld Alliance partner British Airways are also working hard behind the scenes to expand connections between the US, London and other UK destinations. Every airline currently flies a daily non-stop route from DFW Airport to London’s Heathrow Airport, although most passengers are banned from entering the UK due to COVID restrictions unless they are willing to spend 10 days in a home or managed quarantine hotel to stay.
British officials said they hope to open their doors to Americans who have been vaccinated from mid-May.
According to USA Today, United Airlines has announced plans to fly to Croatia, Greece and Iceland from July. Delta Air Lines also plans to serve Iceland.
If European countries don’t ease restrictions soon, they may miss out on much of the traditional summer tourism season.
American Airlines officials warned that even if routes to Europe opened immediately, it would likely take months for flight seats to be occupied. Unlike domestic travelers, who often purchase airline tickets 30 to 60 days in advance of a flight, international travelers often take much longer to arrange their travel plans.
“For some of these long haul markets, the booking curve is much longer even for business travel. Even if the markets reopened, much of the actual shopping window for the summer is actually over, ”said Robert Isom, president of American Airlines Group Inc., on a recent earnings call. “So we’ll be smart about how we increase capacity to make sure we can match a full demand profile with the aircraft.”
To satisfy the appetites of many Americans who have been stuck at home for more than a year and love to travel, American Airlines has added flights to domestic destinations such as Orlando, Florida, Asheville, NC and Jackson, Wyo.
Also, Americans will be flying more wide-body aircraft from Miami to destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean, where US visitors are welcome, as long as they follow local COVID practices. Destinations are Cali, Colombia, Lima, Peru and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
“Throughout the pandemic, our trademark has been creating a schedule based on what customers tell us they want and need,” said Brian Znotins, US vice president of network planning, in an email. “And today they tell us that they are ready to travel again. With our summer program, we can offer our customers the best network and continue to greet them safely in the sky. “
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Gordon Dickson joined the Fort Worth Star Telegram in 1997. He’s excited about the hard news coverage. His beats include transportation, growth, urban planning, aviation, real estate, jobs, and business trends. Originally from El Paso, he loves food, football and long car trips.