In New York, relatives separated for months finally find “human connection”

“I find this very hard to believe. Two and a half years!” As soon as Alison Henry saw her grandson Liam at the New York airport, she ran and hugged him for a long time with tears in her eyes. “It’s very emotional”.

They have spoken to each other every week since health restrictions came into force at the start of the pandemic in March 2020, which have significantly limited the arrival of travelers to the United States from several countries, including the United Kingdom.

“But it’s the human connection you feel when there’s someone in front of you that I miss the most,” says Liam, eyes gleaming above the long beard clinging to the tree. His mask, which has lived in Brooklyn for many years.

With US borders reopening to all vaccinated travelers on Monday, they have plenty of places to offer to their parents and their grandmother Patricia, who hasn’t hesitated to visit, despite being nearly 88 years old. . But mostly they plan to spend time together.

– “The United States Reopens” –

“Every day we watched the news, and we waited for the United States to reopen,” recalls Ellison. They booked their tickets as soon as the official announcement was made.

At Terminal 7 of JFK Airport in New York, the first passengers of British Airways’ maiden flight are greeted with applause, company-colored red, white and blue balloons, and shaped cookies since the borders were reopened . Yellow cab, large apple or statue of liberty, three symbols of the metropolis.

Businessmen get off first.

See also  Softbank to sell UK arm holdings to Nvidia for 40 billion

“It’s great to be back”, “it’s fantastic”, many of them say to the cameras set up for the occasion.

Then come travelers eager to be reunited with their loved ones: a grandmother who has never seen her grandson before. A man with a bouquet of red roses waits for a friend he hasn’t seen for 11 years, a very long wait that has been further delayed by the pandemic. And another aunt who finds her two nieces and is planning a big family dinner tonight.

– 730 days –

After 730 days of separation, Jill Chambers can finally embrace her sister and nephews. “I’m so happy,” she repeats over and over, her eyes red. Before finding her, her sister, Luis Erebara, warned: “I’m going to cry like a frenzy”.

β€œIt was terrifying not knowing when we were going to meet again because of Covid, not knowing if the borders were going to be reopened,” she says.

For Max, a young man in a hurry to reunite with his friends and family, this time of separation was also “very, very difficult”. “We communicated on Zoom but it’s not the same in real life,” he told AFP before running towards the exit door.

For the occasion, British Airways gave the flight the coveted number “BA1”, attributed to the great Concorde when the aircraft was still flying between London and New York.

The trip was “fantastic,” assured Sean Doyle, the company’s general manager, who returned to New York for the first time since the start of 2020.

British Airways has never completely stopped its traffic, but this first flight to allow all vaccinated passengers to arrive on American soil is “an important symbolic step,” he told AFP.

See also  Local elections in the United Kingdom: Conservatives win in a stronghold of Labor

For the company, transatlantic links are essential for business. β€œWe believe that demand will return (to its pre-pandemic levels) in 2023 or 2024,” says Sean Doyle.

For at least one customer, reopening borders isn’t necessarily a godsend.

“I had two great years that I didn’t get to travel,” says Tom Hargreaves, one of the first business class passengers to get off the plane. “Now I have to go back to that.”

You May Also Like

About the Author: Forrest Morton

Organizer. Zombie aficionado. Wannabe reader. Passionate writer. Twitter lover. Music scholar. Web expert.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *