Yesterday, hundreds of passengers waited at JFK Airport for several hours. Three planes arrived on the same day that the US border was reopened.

Frustrated travellers lashed out at officials as they attempted to plan the flight from Manchester. Weary customers were flocked into customs.

One person posted video footage from the chaos via social media, showing masked men queuing up in huge lines while they waited for their entry into the country. This was the 600th day since the flyer arrived.

Over 10,000 people flew yesterday from London to New York City, marking the first day that the US border opened to international traveller since the outbreak of coronavirus.

British Airways took 8,600 travellers on 26 aircraft while Virgin Atlantic ferried a further 4,500 customers on ten shuttles into JFK as figures soared back to pre-pandemic levels.

Britons broke down as they were reunited to their American friends. Some ran away from the planes, others running back on the planes with stories about the 20-months apart.


Any country can allow its citizens to travel to the USA if it is permitted by law.

1) Completely vaccinated 

2) Get a negative COVID-19 Test within 3 Days of Arrival in the US 

What vaccines have been approved? 

Johnson & Johnson








Who does not need to get vaccinated but is it someone who has been exempted?


The vaccination of children under the age 18 is not required, but anyone over two years of age must be administered a negative test within 3 days. 

A negative blood test is not required for children under 2 years of age. 

Exempted Countries 

Travelers from less developed countries that have received vaccinations at or below 10 percent may enter the USA, but only a limited number can do so. They must also get vaccines if they remain in America for longer than 60 days.

The countries include; Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria, Armenia, Myanmar, Iraq, Nicaragua, Senegal, Uganda, Libya, Ethiopia, Zambia, Congo, Kenya, Yemen, Haiti, Chad and Madagascar  

Exemptions for medical reasons 


People in COVID-19 vaccine trials 

National Interest Exemptions 

* Religious exemptions are NOT accepted * 

JFK, however, was furious on social media by travellers who were stuck in massive queues as a result of a mixup of flights and JFK’s first day at the dawn of US travel.

A Twitter user posted a video showing the traffic backlog and blamed the three flights landing simultaneously from Manchester Airport, UK.

He said, “20 month closed lot of time to get it right. JFK Airport queues were a disgrace. Three planes landing simultaneously from Manchester is absurd.”

When asked how long it had taken him to wait, he replied: “Two hours, Mate, that’s pathetic.” All of us were sweating. We are now close to Manhattan.

Paul Richards, age 58 and head of safety for Stoke City FC said he waited 2 hours after his Virgin Atlantic flight leaving London.

USA Today asked him to clarify that there was no need for anger, as the line will continue. Marc Evans (42), a policeman, flew to Manchester with his wife and their two children. They waited over an hour.

He said: ‘It was apparently a PR stunt to show the USA was back open but seems they weren’t concerned about the queues at customs.’

Rob Walsh shared the following on Twitter: “Great. The queues at JFK can be bad enough even without having two planes touch down simultaneously.

Ed Bastian, chief executive of Delta Air Lines had warned that things would be slow at the beginning. You can be sure that there will be some lines. He added, “We will get it sorted.”

Although it is not clear how many Customs Border Patrol and Transportation Security Administration officers were present at the airports to handle the crowds of people, a spokesperson confirmed that there were approximately 25,000 agents across the US.

Heathrow also received numerous complaints on social media for long queues, waiting times and ‘appalling service’.

Southampton resident Dr Esther Clift wrote this tweet: “Beside me with appalling service from @BritishAirwaysT trying get my beautiful mum on a plane! AthenrowAirport is still waiting for my flight!

“She has been through security,” said the consultant practitioner. But we are both in tears… this is not a good experience!’

Adam Thompson is an aviation professional who said online, ‘@HeathrowAirport someone should inform your airport assistance personnel a long-distance connection is nice license for leaving a customer waiting.

Puja Bhattia also said that “Opting to fly via @airvistara wasn’t less than an absolute nightmare for me. There was absolutely no assistance at @HeathrowAirport.

The staff doesn’t take care of the medical condition of passengers and provides little assistance. I hope @TataCompanies do not make @airindiain into a Vistara now.’

According to reports, long queues formed at Heathrow Terminal 3 when eager travelers checked in for their flights. However, they faced lengthy waits.

Flyers were also disappointed when they reached the border. The supply chain crisis was continuing to cause shortages in food and beverage sectors.

Owner of Ilili, a Lebanese restaurant on 5th Avenue, Philippe Massoud told the BBC: ‘Cutlery, plateware, glassware, take-out containers, paper products… you name it, it’s across the board, even toilet paper.’

Allison patiently waits for her in-laws to come off the London Heathrow flight  Her in-laws are from Somerset, England and had not been allowed to visit in 20 months

Allison patiently waits for her in-laws to come off the London Heathrow flight  Her in-laws are from Somerset, England and had not been allowed to visit in 20 months 

These are the flights that took off from the UK to fly to the US yesterday 

Yesterday, there were total of 66 departures from UK airports to the US.

There were 63 from Heathrow, plus two each from Gatwick or Manchester.

There were 20 flights to New York, including 17 from JFK and three to Newark.

Los Angeles (6, Chicago (7 and San Francisco (4 were the next highest).


  • New York JFK 14
  • Chicago 7
  • Los Angeles – 6
  • San Francisco – 4
  • Newark – 3.
  • Atlanta, 3
  • Boston – 3
  • Dallas – 3
  • Miami – 3
  • Washington – Washington 3
  • Greenville – 2
  • Houston 2
  • Philadelphia, 2
  • Seattle, 2
  • Charlotte – 1
  • Denver – 1
  • Detroit – 1
  • Las Vegas, 1
  • Orlando – 1
  • San Diego – 1

TOTAL – 633




Despite chaotic scenes, chief executives at Virgin Atlantic and BA maintained their positive outlook. Shai Weiss (Chairman of Virgin Atlantic) stated: “It has been 600 days since US borders were closed for UK nationals.

“To see people arrive early to catch a flight, grandchildren visiting grandparents, family members reuniting and people taking care of elderly persons and businesses reconnecting, it’s a day to celebrate for the entire industry and Virgin Atlantic.

He described the transatlantic route as “one of the most significant in the entire world”. He said, “Virgin Atlantic would not be Virgin without it being the Atlantic.”

Sean Doyle (British Airways’ British Airways counterpart) earlier stated that Mr Weiss had’moment of celebration’ following’more than 600 day of separation.

And passengers were generally in high spirits, as loved ones and friends wept as they embraced for the first time in 20 months at JFK.

As they waited for the arrivals to leave, others helped up placards that contained sweet messages like “we miss you for two years”

After watching Kai grow up over the last two years via Facetime, Bhavna Patel flew to London to meet her grandchild Kai.

Kushal Patel, her son met Ms Patel with her daughter Bindiya at the BA airport. They hadn’t seen each other since 2018.

Kushal stated to that they were trying to bring my mother from London. It took a year for FaceTime and Kai pictures.

He said, “This is a breather of fresh air for us all. Especially since we see each other only 2-3 times per calendar year.

“My mother hadn’t met Kai until today, and it felt so wonderful to see him again. My sister and I will be there for 10 days.

Christian Marcelia 26, stated that he felt excited but also nervous about flying to New York with his girlfriend to meet her for the first-time.

He explained that his girlfriend is from there so they have been living together for about two years. She said, ‘I’m going to her home to see her family for first time.

The couple has been together for close to two years. They spent the majority of time traveling on different continents as a result of travel restrictions caused by pandemics.

Richard Clark looked forward to meeting his American counterparts before he left for San Francisco to do business.

Briton is a Software Engineer for an American Company and stated that this was the first time in the past two-and a-half-years that he had been to the US.

He stated that despite being at work for many years, and the fact that he was at home as a result of his long history of travel, this would be a refreshing change in scenery.

Demaine Erebara and her younger brother wait for their aunt and uncle to arrive from London on Monday morning after two years apart

Demaine Erebara, her younger brother and their aunt and uncle wait in London for Monday morning. 

Jill Chambers (right) of Manchester, England is reunited with her sister Louise as passengers arrive from the first British Airways flight to arrive since the U.S. lifted pandemic travel restrictions on November 8 in New York City

Jill Chambers from Manchester, England (right) is seen with Louise when passengers board the first British Airways flight that arrived since November 8th in New York City.

Bhavna Patel reunites with her son, Kushal, daughter-in-law Anisha (left) and meets for the first time her grandson, Kai. Kai, Kushal and Anisha live in America whereas Bhavna lives in the UK with her daughter Bindiya (right) . They flew over on the first BA flight on Monday and told at the arrivals hall how happy they were to be together again. 'We’ve been trying to get my mother here from London after a year of FaceTime, sending pictures of Kai. This is a breath of fresh air for all us, especially that we all normally see each other 2-3 times per year. My mother had yet to meet my son, Kai, until today and it feels so good to her again too. She’s going to be here for the next 10 days along with my sister,' Kushal said

Bhavna and Kushal Patel’s daughter Anisha, Kushal (left), reunited with Kai for the first-time. Kai, Kushal & Anisha are American while Bhavna is in the UK with Bindiya (right). On Monday, they flew on their first BA flight and shared with in the arrivals hall that it was great to see each other again. “We have been trying to get my mum here from London for a long time after spending a lot of FaceTime sending Kai photos and video. It’s a relief for us all, considering that we only see each other about 2-3 times per calendar year. Kai was my first meeting with Kai’s mother, which felt so wonderful to me. Kushal shared that my sister and she would be joining me for the next 10 day.

Kushal Patel and wife Anisha and son Kai and sister Bindiya and mother Bhavna. Kushal lives in the US and hasn't been home for a year and half

Kushal Patel with wife Anisha, son Kai, and siblings Bindiya (mother Bhavna). Kushal is currently living in the US, and has not been back for over a year.

Passengers arrive at JFK from Heathrow on board Virgin Flight VS3. It is the first tourist flight from the UK to arrive in 20 months

Virgin Flight VS3 carries travellers to JFK, arriving from Heathrow. The first time a UK tourist flight has arrived in JFK for 20 months. 

Louise Erebara (52), emigrated from Manchester to the USA 34 years ago. She was one of those who had to wait at JFK Terminal 7 to see if their flight would arrive.

Covid meant she had been unable to see her siblings Jill Chambers and Mark Chambers for close to two years.

Jill and Mark traveled from Darwen (near Manchester) to London on Sunday. The couple stayed the night in a hotel and then boarded their flight at Heathrow at 8 AM.

Demaine, the 13-year-old girl of Demaine, expressed excitement at being reunited to her aunt and uncle at

She said, “You FaceTime, but it’s different,” and clutched a Union Flag as well as a sign to her younger brother. It all feels so overwhelming. It’s almost like we have won the lottery.

Because Louise, her five-year old son Bowie, is still unvaccinated and the couple do not want to travel abroad until Bowie has been vaccinated, they haven’t visited the UK to see them.

Becca Akhurst, husband and wife, said that they couldn’t believe it was happening, before flying to Orlando, Florida.

Ashford, Kent-based couple, aged 31, said, “This trip was a long wait – we finally return to Orlando after five cancellations.”

“This will be an emotional journey and we were relieved to receive our negative results just a few days before.

“We are stunned that this has happened, but we look forward to taking in every second and sharing them with friends.”

Relatives hug at JFK Terminal 7 on Monday morning after the first flight of unrestricted travelers arrived from London Heathrow, 20 months after the restrictions were put in place

On Monday, after the arrival of the first non-restricted traveler from London Heathrow 20 months ago, relatives hugged at JFK Terminal 7.

Families reunite on Monday morning at JFK after 20 months of Covid restrictions. Those who arrived had to prove they were fully vaccinated and have a negative COVID-19 test

After 20 months of Covid restrictions, families reunited at JFK on Monday morning. All those who came had to be vaccinated, and they also needed to have passed a COVID-19 screening.

Louise Erebara, 52, waits for her sister and brother-in-law from Darwen, near Manchester. She has lived in the US for 34 years but has been separated from her British family throughout the pandemic

Louise Erebara (52), waits to see her brother and sister-in-law, Darwen, in Manchester. She is a British citizen who has lived in the USA for 34 years. However, she was separated from her British family during the pandemic.

A man carrying a British passport arrives to applause at JFK on Monday morning on one of the first tourist flights from the UK

One of the first tourists flights to the UK from Monday sees a British citizen arrive at JFK.

Five-year-old Bowie Erebara waits for his aunt and uncle to arrive at JFK on Monday from Heathrow. They have been separated for nearly two years by the travel ban that was finally lifted

Bowie Erebara is five and waits on Heathrow for his uncle and aunt to come by JFK Monday. Their separation had been nearly two years due to the ban on travel that was eventually lifted.

To meet increased travel demand, airlines have increased the number of flights between UK and US to accommodate this increase in flight times. According to Cirium, there are 3,688 flights between these countries each month.

Although it is 21% higher than October’s, the number of deaths remains at 49% below November 2019’s pre-pandemic levels.

According to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, around 3.8 million British citizens visited the US each year before the pandemic.

However, Covid has made it impossible for anyone to get in since only American citizens and green-card holders have been allowed.

Only 17% of the world is affected by these bans. However, 53 percent US tourists visited those countries in 2019

For travel income to be back to the level it was in 2024, it will be a long time. The travel ban resulted in the loss of over 1 million jobs, both at airports as well as among carriers.

Foreign travellers need to be fully immunized.

Travellers who have not been fully vaccinated are eligible for a limited exemption. While children are not required to be vaccinated, those who arrive between the ages of two and seventeen must undergo a coronavirus testing within three to five working days.

People who are fully vaccinated when they travel from the US or the UK to be able to take the test within the first 24 hours of their arrival.

Nicky Kelvin, head of Points Guy UK travel specialists told MailOnline that the USA took a bold decision at the beginning of the pandemic to prohibit certain individuals from certain countries from entering the USA.

The US made no adjustments to their restrictions throughout the pandemic. Instead, they kept the same rules in effect and did not attempt to modify or relax restrictions due to Covids being lower in the UK.

“This suggests that the US’s recent announcement about opening its borders was a final decision. There shouldn’t be any chance for them to reverse course and shut down their borders to travelers in the near future.

“But, we know that any situation could occur and therefore recommend anyone planning to visit America to check the Government website and keep track of updates provided by their selected airline.

Keep Uncle Sam happy: All you need to keep America’s famously rude border guards happy. From jab rules to visa requirements.

Daily Mail Escape has all the information you need about travel to the U.S. and how to make its border guards, notoriously inpatient, happy.

Get your Fit-to Fly Certificates ready for you!

Are we really able to go to America?

Not immediately — but from Monday we can, as President Joe Biden has lifted the long-running blanket ban on UK tourists. However, there’s one caveat.

How do you explain that?

To travel, you must have all necessary vaccinations.

Are you vaccinated but not allowed to go?

For diplomats and aircrew, as well as officials from the United Nations, there are exceptions.

Do you have any additional requirements?

Yes. A Covid test must be taken and the results of that test must be submitted within 3 days. You can choose to have an antigen/lateralflow test or aPCR. Your name must appear on the test certificate along with at least one other “identifier” such as date of birth, passport number or your passport number.

You can either get your test certificates in electronic or printed form. These are available to be presented at border official check-in upon arrival and for departure.

This can I be done with an NHS-tested test?

It is almost certain that it will not. This is because the U.S. Border Control wording on this is unclear. Therefore, it is important that you book and pay for private testing at a registered medical lab. Prices for antigen/lateral flow tests are cheapest, varying from £25 to £50. You must have the test taken by a laboratory — you cannot complete a test at home without supervision as these are open to fraud.

How about testing done via Zoom/Video while the medical staff observe it?

This is acceptable.

How do I prove that I am fully vaccinated?

The NHS Travel Covid Pass suffices. The ‘QR code’ must be shown to the airline upon arrival and officials, in either digital or printed form.

If the AstraZeneca vaccin has yet to be approved by Mexico, is it accepted?

Yes. The Centers for Disease Control in America accepts Oxford AstraZeneca jabs because they have been approved and certified by the World Health Organisation.

Consider the kids?

A fully-vaccinated adult must accompany children aged under 18. Children between 2 and 18 years of age traveling together are exempted from this requirement. However, anyone two-17 years old must pass a PCR test or lateral flow within 3 days. A test must be taken within one day for children under the age of 18 who are travelling alone.

Are you looking for anything else?

Yes. Yes. Every tourist who wishes to travel to America must fill out an ESTA form. These cost £9 and should be completed at least 72 hours prior to travel. Apply via

Are you required to use a mask for flying?

Yes — and also at U.S. airports.

Is it necessary to have a facial mask on all occasions?

While each state may have its own regulations, public transport requires masks. Children may be affected by some rules that are specific to indoor events. Anyone over the age of 12 years old must show proof that they have had at least one vaccination before being allowed to enter restaurants, cafés, shops and cinemas in New York. Check out for the “Key To NYC” guide.

A list of Coronavirus-Related Restrictions can be found at

How about additional information about U.S. travel regulations?

Visit the U.S. Entry Requirements page at You can also see the “U.S. Visa and Travel FAQs page at

Are flight prices cheap?

Yes. If you book in advance and are flexible on dates, a return to the west coast is from around £400, while New York is from about £340 return. Google Flights and are good options.