It’s been nearly two years since people could hop across the pond to see their family members in the United States. After months of waiting and agonizing over the future, international travel finally resumed this week and with the return of international flights into the US from almost everywhere in the world comes the opportunity for people to reconnect after almost two heartbreaking years apart. 

International Travel Brings Families Back Together

International Travel

It’s been what feels like a lifetime, but families across the oceans are finally reuniting, nearly two years later. On November 8th, the United States resumed international flights into the country after a series of historic pandemic restrictions. Fully vaccinated travelers are now again welcome in the United States.

The airlines have warned customers to expect chaos and long lines, but most people don’t seem to mind. After so long apart, they’re just happy to be back together. CBS’s WLNY shared, “Travelers CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge spoke to didn’t mind. They said they would do anything to finally see their loved ones again on American soil.

‘It was the best day of my life,’ Jhuly Soares told Duddridge.

Soares was picking up her mother, Maria, at the airport after she landed from Brazil, seeing her for the first time in what she said felt like forever.

Adriano Silva was also overjoyed to see his mother, who arrived on the same flight.

‘One year and nine months,’ he said. ‘It’s good, it’s great!’”

And that story has played out in dozens of international hubs across the country. Families hugging again for the first time in what feels like forever, and friends who met during the pandemic meeting face to face for the first time. 

British Airways + Virgin Atlantic Team Up for a Big Moment

International Travel

Across the pond, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic teamed up for a largely symbolic but cool gesture. In the first ever simultaneous take-off, a British Airways jet and Virgin Atlantic jet took off on parallel runways to mark the momentous resumption of travel. On one plane was Sean Doyle, Chairman and CEO of British Airways, who sent a statement to customers, which read in part: “For nearly two years the Atlantic has felt more like a brick wall, separating two great nations from each other.

It was the right thing to do to prioritise public health, but we know that the global closures have come at a cost to our economies, our families and our mental health, which is what makes today such a pivotal moment for us all.

This morning our first flight to New York will take to the skies in a synchronised departure on parallel runways alongside our friends at Virgin Atlantic. Together, even as competitors, we have fought for the safe return of transatlantic travel – and now we celebrate that achievement as a team. Some things are more important than one-upmanship, and this is one of those things.”

It was a remarkable gesture for both of the British companies to launch their first flights together and could be a sign of things to come as business bask in the relief of the world returning to normal. 

Las Vegas Pulls Out All the Stops

Meanwhile stateside, Las Vegas pulled out all the stops to welcome visitors back from around the world. Vegas never does anything by half measures and this resumption of international travel would be of course no exception. The LVCVA shared a statement regarding the exciting milestone: “‘Today is a watershed moment for Las Vegas as international borders open and we welcome overseas visitors back to the destination,’ said Steve Hill, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. ‘In addition to being a world-class leisure destination, our major tradeshows and conventions draw large international delegations, and we are very optimistic about the opportunities that lie ahead.’”

Although Vegas does a healthy dose of domestic tourism every year, in 2019 they welcomed nearly 6 million international travelers. So the ability to bring them back in this year is a source of great celebration for the desert city. 

They’re not the only ones. In cities across the country like New York, Miami, Los Angeles, and others, hospitality and entertainment industry professionals are celebrating the next step as the world returns to normal. Families are embracing, businesses are booming with hotel bookings at record highs – everything’s looking just a bit brighter this month.