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Flights: Why can I fly to the USA from the UK?

Flights have been seriously disrupted and most countries have issued travel advisories and outright bans to restrict the spread of coronavirus. Due to the measures implemented around the world, the airline industry has lost roughly £755bn ($880bn). So why can you still fly to the USA from the UK?

Donald Trump banned all travel from the UK to the US earlier this month.

Previously the US President had issued a travel ban from the Schengen area of the European Union, but later extended it to include the UK.

This move prompted the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to advise against all but essential travel to the US.

The travel restrictions came into effect at 3.59pm GMT on March 17.

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Currently, the USA has the third-highest number of cases around the globe, with 26,892 confirmed cases.

Of these cases, 348 people have died, while 178 people have recovered, leaving 26,366 active cases, 1,612 of which are in a serious or critical condition.

The UK meanwhile has the 10th highest number of cases.

In total, there are 5,018 reported cases in the UK, of which 233 have died and 93 have recovered.

This means there are 4,692 active cases of which 20 are in a serious or critical condition.

The travel ban saw thousands of flights across the Atlantic cancelled, with several airlines affected.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice reads: “The US authorities announced on 14 March that travel restrictions imposed previously on Schengen zone countries would now be extended to the UK (and Ireland).

“From 23:59 Eastern Daylight Time on 16 March (03:59 GMT 17 March) it will not be possible for many British nationals to enter the USA.

“We therefore advise against all but essential travel to the US, due to the travel restrictions.”

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However, some travellers are still permitted access to the USA from the UK.

President Trump has suspended most flights from Europe to the USA for the next 30 days.

No one who has been in the UK in the last 14 days will be permitted into the USA.

But this ban does not apply to US citizens.

US citizens who have been in the UK in the last two weeks will still be allowed to travel to the USA.

However, they must use one of 13 airports, including:

  • Boston-Logan International Airport (BOS), Massachusetts
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Illinois
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Texas
  • Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), Michigan
  • Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), Hawaii
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Georgia
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York
  • Los Angeles International Airport, (LAX), California
  • Miami International Airport (MIA), Florida
  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), New Jersey
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO), California
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Washington
  • Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD), Virginia.

What will happen once you arrive?

When travellers arrive they will proceed to standard customs processing.

They will then continue to enhanced entry screening where the passenger will be asked about their medical history, current condition, and asked for contact information for local health authorities.

Passengers will then be given written guidance about COVID-19 and directed to proceed to their final destination, and immediately home-quarantine in accordance with CDC best practices.

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