Boeing 787-9 has 297 passengers on board.

The aviation crisis is becoming less pronounced, especially at large airports. And you certainly don’t feel it in the planes themselves. This is a deceptive impression. With the number of flights still much lower than it was before the pandemic, airlines have put in machines they can’t fill. The United States remains closed to arrivals from the Schengen area, China, South Africa and Brazil.

The United States “opens” only at the beginning of November 2021. It is not known when exactly, but since Washington announced this several days ago, reservations for transatlantic flights with European airlines have tripled. Passengers will then have to show a full vaccination with one of the preparations accepted in the US, such as Pfizeren BioNtech, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson, a recovery certificate or a negative COVID-19 test result. At the moment, vaccination certificates are not needed for travel, but they are required, for example, by organizers of conferences in the USA, and without them, we simply will not be allowed anywhere.

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USA: Avoid government shutdown

So we travel between Europe and the US according to the rules that are still in effect, and they are completely restricted. At the moment, there are no tourists coming from Europe. The exceptions are Americans, their immediate families, and people traveling on a business trip, who will prove earlier that their presence in the United States is “critical” to that country’s economy. As well as students and people who have a permit to work permanently in this country. And of course they have a valid visa or ESTA.

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Then you have to apply to the US Consulate for a so-called NOT (National Interest Exception). It is also a good idea to have letters of invitation to the countries from the institutions organizing the conference, meeting, return ticket and hotel reservation. With this set of documents, to which we attach a letter describing exactly what we are aiming for, we appear online at the US Consulate at [email protected] gov. The procedure for checking the application takes 15 days, but it happens that the answer is received after a week. If it is positive, it is entered into the system and it is necessary to print it, so as not to risk the situation of a computer system failure. It is already happening. Then the airline we are flying with must contact the Regional Carriers Liaison Group (RCLG) at US Customs and Border Patrol. It’s going on and it’s a big problem if the airport we land at is a port of call for us. Because if something goes wrong, there is unfortunately a quarantine in the United States, and the length of it varies from state to state and city to city. You have to check the number of days you are in isolation in the regulations that change frequently. In the case of New York, it’s 14 days. When the fourth day has passed since the start of the quarantine, you must take the test and continue in confinement until the test is negative.

In any case, no airline in the Schengen area will accept on board a passenger who does not have: NO and negative COVID 19 test results and will not complete the location document. These are all official procedures at check-in for tickets and baggage.

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And after landing, it may also turn out that Border Services will want to check exactly what we want to get into and direct the passenger for more control. It usually takes a few minutes and is “pure fun” compared to a situation where an official suspects, for example, that a passenger is going to work or has the wrong type of visa. There are many of these types of visas.

If the answer to our request for NO is negative, the consulate itself suggests going to another country where you can enter without restrictions (eg Mexico), wait 15 days of quarantine there and then after getting a negative COVID-19 test result (can be antigenic) , but it is better if you have PCR or show convalescent status, you can travel to USA. Without this test, no one would be accepted into the United States today, but we actually travel across the country without any restrictions.

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On the plane, you still need to fill out the site form, in which we provide all the details of travel. After landing a very nice surprise. Because the huge queues for passport control are over.

In the United States itself, it must be remembered that covering the mouth and nose with a mask is absolutely and strictly required. There are no discussions with the cabin crew here, as it could only end badly. The FAA has zero tolerance in this case, and the refusal penalty starts at $9,000, which can certainly make more sense.

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