On Monday, a surge of international travelers rushed into the United States since the COVID-19 travel ban has come to an end and people from several countries started rolling in, nearly after 600 days when they were restricted from entering the U.S. Which means for more than 86 weeks or approximately 20 months.
Sufficient duration of time for the birth of grandchildren, or for couples to forget about how many nights they had to get into sleep to FaceTime calls together with their partner. Duration is more than enough to leave behind the expectation in a U.S. vacation or honeymoon following having to postpone plans again and again.
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Well before daybreak, lines started building up at the Canada and Mexico borders, and excited travelers have taken flights from Europe, along with dueling departures from Heathrow airport in London. The U.S.-Mexico border is generally the buzziest border crossing of the world, with nearly 350 million people crossing yearly.
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On Monday afternoon, the gentle leaving for international travelers at JFK Airport finished since arrivals pumped up following a fairly peaceful morning.
The visitors coming from England on Virgin Atlantic confirmed queues of about two hours to clear Customs and Border Protection processing as a result of approaching several flights from the United Kingdom. CBP authorities had cautioned that queues would surge from current levels due to the returning of international passengers.
The 58 years old head of safeguarding for Stoke City F.C., Paul Richards, came on a Virgin Atlantic flight from London at 3:35 p.m. ET for holiday and also for the celebration of the 21st birthday of his son. Eventually, he kept waiting for nearly two hours before being able to enter the country.
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Since he waited, he said “No point in getting irate, the queue will still be there,”.
A 42-year-old police officer, Marc Evans, arrived from Manchester, England, together with his spouse and two children to visit family for the first time in 20 months, apparently waiting for over an hour.
Evans took to Twitter stating that they have a friend who is waiting to pick them up from the airport, “It was a PR stunt to show the USA was back open but it seems they weren’t concerned about the queues at customs.”
Evans stated he was annoyed since his family has been said to wait as the rest of the families with children have managed to escape the queue. He said there are “no staff around to help.”
According to Evans, the issue goes beyond a vexing wait. “Other people were getting connecting flights and told to stay in line,” he stated.
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On Monday afternoon, when the first U.K. passengers reached Las Vegas, McCarran International Airport has ensured to provide them a “fabulous Las Vegas welcome.”
End with waving showgirls since the plane brought to its gate and free of cost T-shirts and hats encouraging the new slogan of the city, “What happens here, only happens here.”
37 years old Karl Watson of London plans to spend his week in Nevada by going to visit national parks and watch a Bryan Adams performance. But you know what was his first stop? A bar.
He said, “First of all, I’m going to get drunk.”
Watson stated lasting out customs and security was a lengthy procedure, with the queues that continued to take over an hour to roll up, yet the Las Vegas airport was, however, “buzzing” with eagerness as the plane landed.
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Watson said “Everyone on the plane was cheering when the plane landed,” adding further “Usually when people clap I’m like, shut up, you don’t do that when a bus parks. But this time, it was exciting. It was cool.”
64 years old Ann Kirk of Birmingham, England who arrived in Las Vegas along with her husband Mark said “It’s just such a fun place. Vegas never stops.”
Both of them made a plan to spend five weeks in the U.S., although that’s nothing in comparison to vacations of two to three months as they were accustomed to taking before the travel restrictions.
Usually, the couple spends their maximum time at their owned home in Lake Havasu City in Arizona, and have already planned their next visit for February.
Mark Kirk said “It’s the warmth. The heat. The sunshine.”
Further, it was added by Ann Kirk “We’ve missed it.”
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Reaching at Hartsfield-Jackson’s Atlanta International Airport from Korea, 26 years old, Seongbin Woo, stated his traveling journey for his first visit to the U.S. was “not that smooth,” majorly as he had to hustle to bring backtest results before departing Seoul.
However, Korean visitors were not restricted from entering the U.S., anyone reaching as of Monday has to adhere to new protocols, along with displaying vaccination proof.
He said, “I heard that everyone here is not wearing masks, so it’s good for me because I am tired of masks.” Further adding that now also he is stressed regarding turning sick.
30 years old, Ivana Pedroso had been in tears since she met with her parents as they returned from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Pedroso is a graduate student at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and lives in Greensboro, North Carolina.
She was able to go to Brazil multiple times, but this was the first time when her parents will be able to have a look into the house she purchased.
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Pedroso said “It’s great. Exciting. I have been waiting for this moment for two years because she doesn’t know my house,” adding “They don’t know where I live. So, I’ve been waiting for this moment for two years.”
Pedroso stated that for her graduation in December, her parents will be there, on a vacation that they’ve been postponing for the past two years. Her parents stated that the flights and border control checks went hassle-free, and they were sure they would be alright.
“She was a little bit nervous, but since they followed the protocols and all the companies, Delta Airlines, and the airport followed the protocols with COVID, everything was OK,” Pedroso stated about her mother. “Sanitizers and masks all the time. They’re good.”
Deb Halleck, 61, waiting for “my guy”, put on a Manchester United jersey while waiting for Stephen Donnelly to land in Atlanta from England through Amsterdam. Putting on an identical jersey.
Donnelly strode from the terminal and took her into his arms that looked like to make time stop. Both of them had been friends for years but they realized this summer they felt more.
“We’ve just been friends and recently, more than that, so just excited,” Halleck stated just before he landed. “I can’t wait.”
They’ve communicated over the phone every single day and FaceTimed since July. They used to make dinner together every week, long-distance, and share a meal. Donnelly also gets her flowers and clicks a picture and sends it to her weekly.
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What are they planning now? Donnelly said “She’s in charge. I just go with the flow.”
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Julien Yomtov of Paris stated that he went through multiple irritating deferments while departing France, starting at security and afterward again since the plane took off after a delay of an hour.
He stated he’s eager to return to Las Vegas, traveling through Los Angeles, to play in the World Series of Poker, which he generally does yearly along with his brother.
“The experience was stressful because the employees are (not) ready to welcome so many travelers,” he said. “Hope in LAX it will be easier.”
However, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is one of the most active airports in the world, the international terminal’s arrival hall on Monday, which was mostly peaceful and somewhat empty till the early afternoon.
Several fellow passengers formed ties to other cities, and those who made Atlanta their final stopover explained their trips as hassle-free and even “better than before.”
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In Los Angeles, Jan Hutten sneaked into his sister-in-law Jeannette Gross for a surprise hug, starting a family reunion after waiting for three long years. His wife Henny joined them with a hug of her own, grabbing her sister since the Huttens came from Amsterdam for a stay of three weeks.
Both of them had made attempts to visit four times earlier but were bound to keep postponing as a result of the underway restrictions on traveling.