Ready to fly again: Travel agencies expect strong rush as US lifts brakes


Travel agencies expect a strong rush to the United States after restrictions on fully vaccinated travelers from some countries, including India, were lifted on November 8.

This decision will benefit holders of long-term tourism, business and work visas. In addition, new and additional Air India and American Airlines flights are expected to provide better travel options.

Visa appointments (for new applicants) have been reduced as part of local Covid-19 measures and there is no clarity yet on their normalization.

“The US update on accepting fully vaccinated Indians without quarantine starting November 8 is a welcome development for our business travelers as well as the family and leisure segments. Flight capacity is currently limited to flights under the air transport bubble. Fares which are already more than 60% above pre-pandemic levels may well see a further increase, ”said Indiver Rastogi, President and Group Head (Global Business Travel), Thomas Cook India.

Round-trip economy class fares for non-stop flights on the Delhi-Newark / New York route for travel between November 10 and December 30 are priced at Rs 90,000 to Rs 120,000. On certain dates, however , round trip tickets are a little cheaper around Rs 70,000.

On Friday, the White House announced the lifting of Covid restrictions for vaccinated travelers from 33 countries, making life easier for those traveling between the two countries.

Those inoculated with Covid-19 vaccines approved by the FDA or WHO would be accepted. Joe Biden’s administration would separately issue orders and guidance documents to implement the new travel policy.

Travel restrictions for Indians went into effect on May 4 as the country grappled with the second wave of the Covid pandemic.

These restrictions meant that holders of a tourist or business visa had to spend 14 days outside India in order to enter the United States. But the restrictions did not apply to U.S. citizens and permanent residents, among others. Students whose classes started after August 1 were allowed direct entry.

While November-December is traditionally the peak season for travel to India from the United States, this year there can also be a rush on outbound flights.

“International travel will gain momentum with the drop in daily Covid-19 cases across the country and the relaxation of travel standards by major global destinations, including the United States. The prices will be higher the first days. We expect their rationalization after about a week, ”said a spokesperson for Yatra.com.

Prashant Pitti, co-founder of EaseMyTrip, said: “There is an almost 50% jump in demand for flights in the United States and we hope more routes and options will be available soon. There has been a significant increase in air fares in the recent past and from now on the fares have stabilized. We hope this trend continues as we expect more flight options. “

Currently, Air India and United Airlines offer non-stop flights to the United States from Mumbai and Delhi. From November 3, Air India is increasing the frequency on the Delhi-Chicago route from six to seven per week. American Airlines is launching new services between New York and Delhi from October 31 and between Seattle and Bangalore from January 4.

“The US government’s decision to lift travel restrictions is a positive development and must now be followed by an increase in visa services to India. Visa appointments have been restricted due to local Covid-19 measures and personnel issues within the US State Department, among others. This has had an impact on tourism, business and work visa applicants, ”said Poorvi Chothani, managing partner of LawQuest, an immigration law firm.

“New H-1B visas have been issued to those who qualify under the national interest exception policy. However, thousands of people are approved and eligible to apply for an H-1B visa and have not been able to join their new jobs in the United States. Improved visa services in India are essential for people to travel to the United States, ”she added.

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