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What the New European Travel Ban Means for Air Travelers


These four countries are not included in the travel ban. However, there are no direct flights from these countries to the United States. Passengers will need to travel through a country affected by the travel ban — such as Frankfurt, Germany — or via Istanbul or London, which are not affected by the ban.

[Have more questions about travel and the coronavirus? We have answers.]

Delta Air Lines is the largest trans-Atlantic carrier, with 266 flights from Europe to the United States per week, according to Cirium, an airline data research firm. Including all carriers, there are around 1,500 flights per week from Europe to the United States, carrying more than 400,000 passengers. Norwegian Airlines alone operates 59 flights carrying 20,000 passengers. (More on Norwegian below.)

All trans-Atlantic carriers are expected to be affected. The ban will most likely lead to a drastic and sudden reduction in the supply of flights. Passengers on low-cost carriers, in particular, may want to consider backup travel arrangements; those airlines will be most immediately affected by the loss of passenger revenue and are the most likely to cut flights.

Norwegian Airlines announced Thursday that it would drastically cut the number of flights from Europe to the United States, canceling some 4,000 flights and temporarily laying off 50 percent of its employees.

In a statement, the low-cost carrier said that beginning Friday through the end of March, all flights to the United States from Amsterdam, Madrid, Oslo, Stockholm, Barcelona and Paris would be canceled. Though Norwegian flights between Gatwick Airport and the United States are unaffected, and the airline said it would attempt to reroute European passengers through that airport, the airline, already struggling financially, may not be able to weather this sharp reduction in sales.

Direct flights are more likely to continue operating from major hubs rather than from smaller destinations.

Many airlines previously announced generous change policies for travelers wanting to cancel their itineraries — no matter the origin and destination. For example, American Airlines allows passengers who have booked travel up to April 30 to cancel their itinerary and rebook for later in the year, up to Dec. 31. Passengers will generally be required to pay any difference in fare.

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