Travelers are scrambling after President Donald Trump announced a travel suspension from Europe for the next 30 days to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Here’s what travelers need to know:
What’s included in the ban?
Trump said the administration would restrict “all travel” to the U.S. from Europe, which is reeling from the epidemic, for the next 30 days.
Who is covered by the ban?
The Department of Homeland Security said the order suspends the entry of most foreign nationals who have been in certain European countries at any point during the 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival to the United States.
These countries include Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Trump noted that there will be exemptions for Americans who have undergone appropriate screenings, but did not elaborate.
When does the ban take effect?
Is there another way to catch a flight from Europe to the U.S.?
The United Kingdom will be exempt from the new limits. There are many flights between the U.K. and cities across the continent.
How sudden is this?
The travel suspension announcement is sweeping, but Brett Snyder, a former airline employee who runs the Cranky Concierge travel service, said Delta, American and United had already canceled flights to northern Italy due to earlier restrictions there.
And plenty of travelers had canceled spring flights to Europe out of anxiety, so Europe flights were hurting before Trumps’s ban. United on Tuesday said bookings to Europe were down 50%.
Snyder said it doesn’t matter that Trump only mentioned flights from Europe to the United States, and not flights in both directions. Travelers will cancel flights en masse during the busy spring break travel season.
“If they can’t come home, they’re not going to Europe,’’ he said.
Why is this happening?
Coronavirus is spreading across the continent. Italy has been hit the hardest, with more than 12,000 confirmed infections and more than 800 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. France, Spain and Germany each have about 2,000 confirmed cases.
Where are there other travel restrictions?
The administration has already restricted travel from China and Iran.
What will the travel ban do to the airline industry?
It is likely to make a bad situation worse in the name of public safety.
The travel and tourism industry has taken hit after hit since the coronavirus outbreak began in January. While still early for concrete data, economists and industry executives fear 9/11- or recession-like repercussions.
U.S. airlines began suspending and cutting international flights in late January and have repeatedly added new reductions to additional destinations. Now the cuts are poised to spread to flights within the United States as travelers worry about the risks of flying anywhere, not just abroad.
United Airlines last week said it will cut its domestic seat capacity by 10% in April and May and JetBlue said it is making 5% cuts. On Tuesday, American said it is reducing international seat capacity by 10% this summer, including a 55% reduction in flights across the Pacific. Flights within the United States will be reduced by 7.5% for the month of April.
At the White House on Monday, President Donald Trump said he wanted to work with the airline and cruise industries to help them weather the coronavirus fallout.
“We’ll be helping them through this patch,” Trump said at a meeting with health insurance executives.