U.S. Considering Ban On Flights To And From Europe

Policymakers are debating restrictions on flights between the U.S. and Europe.

The U.S. is discussing banning travel to and from Europe, though they may also opt to warn against all European travel and to impose a quarantine on European arrivals.

“The question is a live question, congressman, about how to treat Europe as a whole. You’ve seen Department of State and CDC warnings go up. That is not to the level of using legal authorities to block travel yet, but it is under discussion,”

…The advisers are considering raising travel alerts on Europe to recommend against all non-essential travel to the continent, which administration officials view as a new epicenter for the pandemic.

The administration could also mandate new quarantine measures for travelers returning from Europe.

An extreme scenario could also see the administration banning flights from European countries, though for now it appears the United Kingdom would be exempt.

In meetings today they were treating European countries as a single entity for this decision (or perhaps all Schengen countries), because (for the most part) there aren’t border restrictions in place between different countries. In other words, if they banned travel from one country, someone could fly to another and onward to the U.S. Of course they could do that anyway, flying first to Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean and on a separate ticket to the U.S.

The U.K., thanks to Brexit, would not be a part of any ban or quarantine at this time.

I’d avoid European travel at this time simply because it may be more difficult to get back in the event of potential extreme policy responses.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I don’t think Brexit would have anything to do with the UK being exempt. The UK-Ireland Common Travel Area has kept both states out of the Schengen agreement until now. Schengen also includes some non EU nations, such as Switzerland and Iceland.

  2. Question: would US citizens temporarily “on assignment” in Europe be prohibited from returning to the US? Asking because I have an adult daughter in university there and she is on tenterhooks wondering if/when?

  3. So someone could fly from say Italy to London, then on another ticket fly from London to the US? That makes a lot of sense.

  4. Looks like they banned flights from Europe for a month- another big stock market drop coming tomorrow!

    And for what? Before the ban is over, there will be more cases of Covid-19 in the US than in Europe (if there aren’t already)…

  5. Miles for the win! Woke up this morning in Paris, saw the news, and thought: “I need to get home NOW”. Last minute 1 way flights were 1000 EUR, but I found saver award space through Heathrow. $200 and 22k miles later I’m sitting pretty in 44F and will be home by 4pm.

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