American Airlines aircraft are shown parked at gates at Miami International Airport in April 2019. … [+]
Airlines rushed Thursday to comply with draconian new federal regulations restricting air travel between the U.S. and Europe that will allow just 11 U.S. airports to receive passengers from Europe.
The regulations, announced Wednesday night by President Trump and clarified by the Department of Homeland Security, stipulate that after midnight Friday, U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents returning to the U.S. from most European countries must do so through an approved U.S. airport.
The restrictions do not apply to flights departing Europe on Friday and are scheduled to be in effect for 30 days.
The list of approved U.S. airports is short, confined to just 11 gateways: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Detroit, Dulles, Los Angeles, Newark, Kennedy, San Francisco, Seattle and Honolulu. That leaves out Charlotte, Philadelphia and Miami, which are major hubs for American Airlines.
American said it will rebook passengers scheduled to return from Europe through hubs that are not on the list.
Entry will be barred to non-U.S. citizens and permanent residents who, in the previous 14 days, have visited a country in the Schengen Area, which includes 26 European states. It excludes five European Union members – Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania.
The United Kingdom and Ireland are not part of the Schengen Area.
While American will lose the right to serve key hubs, its abilities to accommodate passengers and to cap financial impacts may benefit from its participation in a trans-Atlantic joint venture with British Airways.
American currently flies 15 daily flights to the Schengen Area. A spokesman said the carrier is evaluating whether it will maintain the flights. Nine flights involve Charlotte, Miami and Philadelphia.
The 15 flights include four flights: Paris via Dallas-Fort Worth, Miami, New York and Philadelphia. Two flights: Frankfurt via Charlotte and Dallas. One flight: Munich via Charlotte. One flight: Amsterdam via Philadelphia. Two flights: Barcelona via Miami and JFK.Four flights: Madrid via Dallas, Miami, JFK and Philadelphia. One flight: Zurich via Philadelphia.
American said it “continues to work closely with U.S. authorities to comply with these new orders while treating all of our customers with respect. American is committed to taking care of any affected customers by assisting them with rebooking options. Our team is proactively reaching out to customers who may be affected by these travel restrictions to ensure they are accommodated.”
Meanwhile, Delta said late Wednesday that it has waived change fees for customers traveling to, from or through Europe and the U.K. through May 31.