German airline Lufthansa says new flight bookings from its hubs in Frankfurt and Munich to popular U.S. destinations like New York, Miami and Los Angeles have soared by as much as 300 per cent in recent weeks and that the airline now plans to respond by increasing capacity and adding flights to more destinations including Atlanta and Orlando.
The upbeat assessment comes despite the fact that most German’s have been banned from entering the United States since last March when then-President Trump signed a sweeping proclamation barring foreigners who had been in the Schengen zone from travelling to the U.S.
Without directly calling on President Biden to finally lift the travel ban, Lufthansa Executive Board member Harry Hohmeister said the airline and travellers “need a clear perspective for USA travel now”.
“People are craving for vacation and cultural exchange as well as reuniting with their families, friends and business partners – and, in this context, especially for flights between Germany and the USA” Hohmeister commented.
“Because of the great significance of transatlantic air travel for the global economy, we now need a clear perspective on how travel between the USA and Europe can return on a larger scale.”
Hohmeister argued that lower infection rates and increasing vaccination numbers meant it was now possible for a “cautious increase” in transatlantic travel. That would require the easing of travel bans – in both the United States and Germany.
Currently, Germany only allows unrestricted travel from European Union countries, as well as Australia, Israel, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand.
Airlines on both sides of the Atlantic have urged the Biden administration to lift the travel ban but so far their urgent calls for action have gone unheeded. Some carriers, including American Airlines and United, now even think Europe might be a lost cause for the summer season and are planning to concentrate on their better performing domestic route networks over the coming months.
But even without certainty, Lufthansa is encouraging customers to go ahead and book tickets between Germany and the United States. Like many of its rivals, Lufthansa says it offers “full flexibility” in rebooking options should COVID-19 continue to get in the way of travel plans.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.