As many countries in Europe open to U.S. visitors, the question of how the Americans will reach their destinations is being answered by airlines.
The slow but now-steady rate of reopening to tourism took another big stride on Friday as the European Union acted to lift a ban on U.S. travelers pursuing non-essential travel.
The recommendation that its 27 members fall in line boosts hopes for increased tourism, though the specifics of the updated guidelines will largely be left to the individual countries.
Some of the world’s major airlines already have pushed to produce new trans-Atlantic service.
Delta Airlines began service to Reykjavik, Iceland, from Boston late last month. And nonstops from Minneapolis began May 27.
The airline also likely will add flights from Washington, D.C., to Athens for the months of July-October. Service to Athens from Newark began earlier this month.
Italy, Spain, Croatia and Germany are among the countries at the forefront of the international reopenings.
American Airlines, too, is in on Athens. American boosted its service from Philadelphia beginning in August, and, in September, will move up the re-introduction of its routes to Rome from both Philadelphia and Chicago. Originally expect to resume a year from now, those will be available again in September.
Travel bans have pushed airlines’ pandemic losses to more than $32 billion, combined, for major carriers Delta, United and American.
Tourists and airlines can’t wait to get started.
A CNBC story said American, which normally would need a year to properly launch a new international route, is acting quickly.
“Those timelines have all been compressed. People weren’t booking eight and 12 months in advance. They were booking two to three months in advance,” said Brian Znotins, American Airlines’ vice president of network and schedule planning, added his team is “moving at light speed.”