US lifts International travel ban and Britons flock to America
Monday, 8th November 2021
Source : Travelport International Operations Limited

Eager to reunite with American family and friends, US-bound flight bookings for Thanksgiving weekend jump 2,200%.

  • The U.K. is the most excited to get back on the road, with US-bound flights from the U.K. searched more than US-bound flights from all other European countries, combined
  • The need to go NOW makes November 2021 the most popular month for US-bound travel from the U.K.; Most popular departure date for US-bound flights is today, 8 November
  • Leisure travel is back: Orlando, New York, Miami, Las Vegas and Los Angeles are the new top five US-destinations for Brits
  • Compared to pre-pandemic numbers, the U.K. has recovered 68% of its outbound international travel, with numbers rapidly increasing and currently the highest they have been since the pandemic began

After nearly two years, today, the US has reopened its borders to fully vaccinated international travellers arriving via air from the 26 Schengen countries in Europe, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran, Brazil and, of course, the United Kingdom. 

Research from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) estimated that the US economy could have lost up to $40 million a day just from the lack of U.K. visitors alone. Travelport, a global technology company that powers travel bookings for hundreds of airlines and thousands of hotels worldwide, released the below trend data highlighting the U.K.'s excitement to trek back across the pond.

Travel trends highlighting the surge in US-bound flight bookings from the U.K. as the United States welcomes back international visitors.

U.K. Leading Europe and the World in US-Bound Travel

  • Following President Biden's first US travel announcement on 20 September that fully vaccinated travellers from the U.K. and the EU would be allowed to enter the US starting in November, it was travellers from the U.K. who were most keen to visit. In the 24 hours that followed, US-bound flights originating from the U.K. were searched more than US-bound flights from all other European countries, combined.
  • Flight bookings followed a similar trend, with the U.K. booking more US-bound flights than Germany, Italy, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Ireland, Switzerland and Denmark combined.
  • After President Biden's second announcement on 15 October when even more countries were added to the approved list, the U.K. stayed on top as the number one country searching and booking flights to the US, resulting in a 108% increase in bookings from the week prior to the first announcement.
  • Relative to the announcements, the U.K. has recovered 68% of its outbound international travel, a higher percentage than countries such as France and Germany. Numbers continue to increase daily and are at their highest rate since the pandemic began.

The Need to Travel Now

  • In the 24 hours following the first announcement, U.K. travellers searched more than 1.4 million flights from London to New York, making it the most popular US-bound route searched.
  • In the week following the first and second US travel announcements, November 2021 was the most popular month for US-bound flight bookings. The most popular departure date for US-bound travel was today, 8 November – the first day the restrictions lifted. The majority of November flight bookings were to New York, which ranked number 2 overall in popularity for Brits.
  • In the 24 hours following each announcement, US-bound flight bookings for Thanksgiving weekend increased by 1,600% and 2,200% respectively.
  • Solo travellers and couples were the most ready to get away, with an increase in flight bookings of 279% and 231%, respectively, following the second announcement.

Chasing the Sun

  • The first US travel announcement still held a high degree of uncertainty around when in November the ban would be lifted. As such, Orlando became the number one US destination for Brits, with August 2022 as the most popular month for travel to Florida – just in time for Disney World's 50th Anniversary celebration. Prior to the pandemic, this sunny locale would have ranked #2.
  • Following behind Orlando (#1) and New York (#2), Miami ranked third, Las Vegas fourth and Los Angeles fifth for Brits.
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