Today, Virgin Atlantic has revealed just how much UK travellers are looking forward to a Stateside visit once borders reopen to vaccinated passengers on 8 November. The new research identifies that two in five (40%) of Brits have missed being able to take a trip to the US after over 18 months of restrictions, as well the top things travellers would like to do once there. To illustrate the numbers, Virgin Atlantic cabin crew swapped their iconic red uniform for US inspired costumes outside the London Eye.
With November just around the corner, thousands of travellers are looking to make their great American dream a reality, with many relishing the chance to finally visit friends and family or take a well-deserved holiday. This trend is reflected in the surge in Virgin Atlantic bookings following the initial announcement on 20th September, with the airline seeing a 600% increase in bookings to the USA, before stabilising at a 30% increase and rising yet again following the confirmed date announcement on 15th October by 47% compared to the previous week.
According to the survey of more than 2,000 British adults, travellers heading across the pond will do so with a renewed sense of adventure as 52% want to visit places they’ve never seen before to find new experiences and 40% are keen to explore a national park such as Yosemite or Joshua Tree – suggesting some may want to carry on social distancing. Over a quarter (27%) are feeling nostalgic and keen to revisit their favourite US haunts having missed them over the past 18 months. It comes as no surprise that the biggest inspiration for wanderlust comes from lockdown binge watching, with viewing US TV shows and movies topping the list of USA travel inspirations (13%), closely followed by reminiscing and sharing travel experiences with friends and family (13%).
Illustrated in the recent surge in Virgin Atlantic bookings and outlined in the survey results, New York is the most coveted destination. The city landed the most bookings of any US city following the initial reopening news and over a third (39%) of those surveyed who wish to travel to the USA choose NYC as their city of choice, with Big Apple activities including eating a hot dog in Times Square (16%), visiting the iconic Empire State Building (25%), the Statue of Liberty (29%) and Central Park (33%) topping survey respondent’s lists.
The airline’s leisure destinations have also been strong performers, suggesting holidaymakers are ready for a much-needed break, with Orlando flights up 120% on the night of the announcement and over a quarter (26%) of respondents wanting to visit Walt Disney World Resort and/or Universal Studios in Orlando.
It would appear those from the US have also missed travelling across the pond, as Virgin Atlantic experienced a 70% increase in bookings from the States to the UK, following the 28th of July announcement that vaccinated US passengers entering the UK would no longer need to quarantine.
Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic commented: “After 18 months of travel restrictions between the UK and USA, it’s clear from the demand in our bookings and our research that customers are more excited than ever to return Stateside to explore, relax or reconnect with loved ones. We’re so delighted that fully vaccinated UK travellers can enjoy the USA once again from Monday.
“The US has been our heartland for more than 37 years since our first flight to New York City in 1984. We’ve greatly missed flying our customers to the USA and we can’t wait to welcome them back on board to help make their American dreams come true.
“We are currently flying from London Heathrow to New York-JFK, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Atlanta and Boston and can’t wait to restart services to Orlando and Las Vegas, as well as our Orlando and New York services from Manchester Airport, our home in the North, on Monday 8 November.”
Virgin Atlantic flies direct between London Heathrow and New York with return fares from £358 per person, Las Vegas from £507 per person and Orlando from £410 per person, including complimentary food, drink and inflight entertainment. For further information including on other destinations San Francisco, Miami, Atlanta and Boston as well as flights from Manchester, visit www.virginatlantic.com or call 0344 8747 747. These fares are available for selected departures during low season. Prices given are correct as of today and are subject to change.