The Return of International Travel
After close to two years of pandemic-induced isolation and restriction on international travel, the world is getting glimpses of a brighter future. Granted, COVID-19 is still among us, and that brings concerns, but we’re starting to believe that we’ll continue to deal with the pandemic for a while longer, so we might as well figure out a way to cope and carry on with our lives. Nowhere is that more prevalent than in commercial air travel.
A Change in Perspective
That viewpoint seems to be working. Travel restrictions are easing, even though various nations report third and fourth waves of infections and expect more to follow. What brought the change in perspective? The biggest factor is the increased immunization rate. While reaction is mixed and many are hesitant, enough people are getting vaccinated that it’s now becoming safer to consider international air travel once again.
“In the United States, Delta is the only airline not requiring vaccines for employees,” said Andrea Villa of Harper Meyer Miami. Some airlines report sporadic service outages and flight cancellations from time to time. Everyone needs to be flexible and proactive and just get through these times.”
Vaccinations Bring Optimism
Vaccination rates vary widely by country, and even by region within countries. “In Chile, we are one of the most improved countries, regarding vaccines,” said Juan Pablo Marré of Mackenna, Irrrázaval, Cuchacovich and Paz. “The government is giving shots to children now, as well. Compared to other Latin American countries, we are in pretty good shape, and I hope we stay at that level. In a month or two I expect authorities to lift most restrictions. As our summer season heats up, more people will be coming to our country. Incoming visitors must bring their vaccination record with them and have to get a covid test upon landing. That’s a lot easier than it has been in the past.”
A similar sentiment is felt in South Africa, as well. “The upcoming South African summer holiday season should provide a boost with European travelers coming in,” said Haydn Davies of Webber Wentzel, South Africa. “British Airways will have two daily flights from London into each of Cape Town and Johannesburg. Whilst lack of vaccine supply is no longer an issue vaccination rates need to improve quickly and significantly if a fourth wave of COVID-19 is to be avoided – predictions are that a fourth wave will commence in December 2021 or January 2022.”
Feelings of Relief
The return of air travel couldn’t come soon enough for many people. “It feels so good to see people face-to-face again” said Stephan Eriksson of Astra Advokater KB in Sweden. “It’s great to be able to see someone, have a drink and conduct some business. We’re hoping that 2022 will be much better than 2021.”