Travelers are preparing for an emotional reunion with friends and family on Monday after the US lifted the borders that had been set for more than a year and a half earlier at the start of the Covid-19 epidemic.
At London's Heathrow Airport, Gail and Paul Chamberlain said they were looking forward to meeting their daughter's boyfriend in person as they prepared to take a flight to Los Angeles.
"I'm so glad I can cry," said Gail Chamberlain, 67. "I'm going to buy some wedding dresses. I never thought I could do it with him. "
U.S. citizens and permanent residents have been allowed to enter the U.S. However, travel restrictions meant that tourists, business travelers and family members were barred from entering.
The players entertain passengers at London's Heathrow airport as the U.S. reopens its borders for U.K. tourists Steve Parsons - PA
Travel restrictions barred non-American citizens from traveling from 33 countries - including China, India and much of Europe - and barred entry into the country from Mexico and Canada.
To enter the US, international travelers must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, although it will be different for children under the age of 18 and people who cannot be vaccinated medically. Travelers over 2 years of age must also demonstrate a Covid-19 free test taken within three days of entering the U.S.
Those crossing the country's border from Mexico or Canada will need proof of vaccination but there are no tests. By Monday morning, traffic in many of the border crossings in Canada and Mexico had been suspended.
Connor Giesbrecht drove from Winnipeg, Canada to Fargo, North Dakota first thing Monday. He planned to catch a flight later in the morning to Orlando, passing through Chicago to visit his brother in college.
"By opening the border it makes it easier to see him," said Giesbrecht, 21, who often drives to the US to buy before the epidemic. "It saves a lot of money to drive in the U.S. compared to international flights from Canada. Reopening makes travel much easier."
Following the announcement that the US would reopen the borders, Virgin Atlantic saw a 600 percent increase in US reservations, the airline said in a media statement. Reservations have also risen by about 50 per cent compared to the previous week after confirmation of the reopening date on October 15th.
"It was the worst nightmare we ever imagined."
Commenting on the event British Airways and Virgin Atlantic had two flights simultaneously from London Heathrow to New York's JFK on Monday morning. It was fun at the airport as the artists dressed in red, white and blue costumes entertained the passengers.
"Today is a day of celebration," said chief executive Shai Weiss at the airport.
British Airways chief executive Sean Doyle admitted, saying the airline had seen the enthusiasm of business travelers to get back on the road again.
"Apart from the human condition, it is very important for business and commerce to re-launch this tunnel," he said. "Links are very powerful, and mobility is an important part of allowing that economic activity."
The two airlines marked the reopening of their social media accounts, when Virgin posted a "U.S. cocktail-themed" photo.
Delta said in the six weeks since its reopening the US has seen a 450 percent increase in foreign reservations compared to six weeks before the announcement.
Sarah Solomon, a British, headed to Sanger, Texas near Dallas from London on Monday to visit her daughter who moved there three years ago.
"It was the worst nightmare we could ever imagine," said Solomon, 55. "We didn't know we were going to be separated for two years."