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These Four Airlines Want to Open European Borders for Americans

These Four Airlines Want to Open European Borders for Americans
Joe Cortez

Four international airlines are asking both the United States and the European Union to come together and figure out a testing plan to open borders between the two countries. In a jointly-signed letter, executives from each of the carriers called for a “safe and swift restoration of air travel” between the two destinations.

Four airlines are asking the United States and the European Union to work together towards “the safe and swift restoration of air travel between the United States and Europe.” Reuters reports the chief executives of American Airlines, United Airlines, Lufthansa Group and International Airlines Group sent their requests to U.S. vice president Mike Pence and European commissioner for home affairs Ylva Johansson.

Airlines Ask for Testing Programs to Restore Passenger Loads

As it stands today, both the United States and the European Union have a mutual tourism ban in place. The European Commission double-downed on their ban in their latest travel ban revision, while the United States’ ban of European travelers dates back to March 2020.

But the four major international airlines are now asking the executive wings of both governments to try and work together to open up travel before the busy summer season comes to an end. They suggest a testing trial for travelers, which can ensure travelers are not carrying or spreading the virus as they travel.

“We recognize that testing presents a number of challenges,” the airline leaders wrote in their letter. “However, we believe that a pilot testing program for the transatlantic market could be an excellent opportunity for government and industry to work together and find ways to overcome obstacles and explore all solutions to protect health, build confidence, and safely restore passenger travel between the U.S. and Europe.”

The airlines are not alone in calling for a testing plan to encourage international travel. Earlier in July, London Heathrow Airport (LHR) fronted a plan to offer testing upon arrival at the international hub, which could cut down the self-quarantine period from weeks to hours.

Neither the European Commission or the White House have commented on the letter, sent on July 21, 2020.

Airlines Desperate for Passengers as COVID-19 Pandemic Continues

The joint request from the airlines comes as airlines are reporting historically low returns over the first six months of 2020. Delta Air Lines reported a catastrophic loss of $7 billion over the second quarter of 2020, while United Airlines said the adjusted $2.6 billion loss was the worst in airline history.

American and Southwest Airlines will both report their financial numbers and passenger load information on Thursday, July 23, 2020.

View Comments (29)


  1. hm500

    July 23, 2020 at 4:06 am

    Well this is pretty stupid, why didn’t they just declare it at check in?

  2. slinky09

    July 23, 2020 at 4:08 am

    It’s a tough one for the airlines, but until the US get’s its infection rate under control I cannot see how things can change? LH and IAG should concentrate on safe travel to countries where infection rates are similar to those in Europe.

  3. ddunn6

    July 23, 2020 at 4:21 am

    Airlines have had excellent returns in the past years, so much so that their executive management has awarded themselves bonuses greater than the average American’s annual salary. Now they ask special concession when Covid numbers continue to rise (and people are still dying), because they forgot to save for a rainy day???? That’s just poor management. Perhaps after EVERYONE takes a big pay cut like some of American’s baggage and gate workers, they’ll see that the collective return of some of those 100s of MILLIONS from the C-Levels could buff up the losses to a reasonably bearable amount.
    Suck it up like the rest of us, and thank God you aren’t a small business owner who just had to close shop and file bankruptcy. There’s no reason to compromise an international health crisis until the greedy have taken the first few steps.

  4. worldtravels

    July 23, 2020 at 4:36 am

    It’s about time. No reason not to be able to travel to Europe. On the spot testing should be implemented now. We need to start flying again

  5. asterion

    July 23, 2020 at 4:43 am

    The US has not done its homework. Their number of cases keep going up. The world is a safer place without US visitors at present, as much as it pains me to say it.

  6. Intrepid

    July 23, 2020 at 5:19 am

    Unless the Fed will hand United and the others another mid-air parachute one or two will crash.
    Kirby knows aeronautics and financial management But he doesn’t know virology. Hence he doesn’t know when the pandemic will wane.
    Kirby got himself into a tough job two months ago.

  7. kam31uf

    July 23, 2020 at 5:51 am

    We don’t deserve to go to fun places like Europe.

  8. M_at

    July 23, 2020 at 6:32 am

    No thanks.

  9. landwatersky

    July 23, 2020 at 7:35 am

    You should point out that it is lawful for many people to pack handguns and ammunition into their checked luggage if they have the correct credentials, which include an extensive background check leading to a concealed carry permit.

    Rifles are subject to different rules.

  10. GeoMedic

    July 23, 2020 at 8:27 am

    The US is such an absolute sh*tshow now that no country should take their travelers. In the past couple weeks Canada has had to deal with the effects of 26 covid positive flyers coming in at the airport.

    Come on people. Stop ignoring the precautions. Wear the damn mask.

  11. tobegold

    July 23, 2020 at 8:33 am

    This is stupid. It can take a while after being exposed to test positive, people can be exposed just before travel, arrive and test negative, then go into the general population and spread the disease. What happens when one of the passengers tests positive, is the entire flight whisked off into quarantine? The airline has your money, not their problem you are ill, the airline is not stuck with any passengers quarantine costs, nope, the airline just wants your money.

  12. mike turnbull

    July 23, 2020 at 8:34 am

    No US travel for me thankyou very much. Why would I want go to Florida, California and other Southern States while the virus rages on.

  13. harleytheclownpug

    July 23, 2020 at 8:44 am

    Does anyone know as of now if I, as an American were to fly from the US to London and quarantine for 14 days would I then be able to travel freely throughout the EU ?

  14. nycityny

    July 23, 2020 at 11:39 am

    I doubt that residents of most countries want Americans roving among them. Heck, New York doesn’t even want other Americans from 31 states (the current count) roving within its borders. America is a Covid joke right now (not in a funny way). If the airlines want to resume business they should spend their lobbying money on getting the president and governors to take this virus seriously and try to stop it. Having one governor sue a mayor over a mask mandate is an example of why Americans can’t fly to most other countries.

  15. Hawkeyefan

    July 23, 2020 at 3:26 pm

    Goodness people, quite a few states have had mask requirements for weeks now, if not months. And nothing has changed. Masks dont do a damn thing.

  16. LimaFoxtrotRomeo

    July 23, 2020 at 3:46 pm

    Firstly the EU isn’t a “country” as the opening paragraph suggests. Secondly the rest of the world won’t be rolling out the welcome mat to US travellers any time in the foreseeable future. There seems to be a lack of awareness amongst many Americans of just how much of an outlier the USA is in its shambolic handling of the COVID crisis. The fact that the population is arguing about face masks while people still have to pay for their own Covid tests and wait days or weeks for results shows where the real, systemic problems lie. I hope Americans can fly abroad again some day and I hope airlines survive, but the country needs to get its house in order first.

  17. chismoso

    July 23, 2020 at 10:30 pm

    So the airlines get money from the governments, which are funded by the people. The people vote in the governments. The airlines go behind the people’s back and ask the governments to put profits before health after being bailed out by those same people. If this is approved, it is further proof that an uprising needs to take place in the world and take back control of the governments for the people.

  18. nycityny

    July 24, 2020 at 9:44 am

    Hawkeyefan – where did you get your medical degree?

  19. Churnman

    July 24, 2020 at 1:59 pm

    Most of the media focus on total coronavirus cases and deaths, but instead should focus on population adjusted data. I’ve found very few articles on that, but the ones that do reveal the US no where near the worst. Couple that with the fact some people may have it in other countries, not get tested and even die from it, but if a nation is doing more testing they will have more coronavirus cases identified. There are European nations which have more cases per million residents than the US. I found it quite easy to get tested. If you report to your doctor if you’re not feeling well they will probably send you for the test. Mine came back negative. There wasn’t anyone in line and the workers at the testing facility were bored. I’m not downplaying the seriousness, but remember that the US is slammed with news 24/7 from many sources and bad news sells. Look at the real data in relation to population and not just total cases. I’ll be wearing my mask and glad airlines are requiring it even just to limit a cougher/sneezer (with any kind of virus/bacteria) from polluting the air near my seat.

  20. flyingtall

    July 24, 2020 at 8:46 pm

    Hey, Hawkeyefan, when did you count the masks not being worn in bars and too many other places, and not being worn by too many self-absorbed morons in the states that HAD mask requirements before they were forced to relax regs. In addition to which the regs were not enforced or not allowed to be enforced in most places. Even in states with mask regulations, how many morons did not wear masks anyway because too many snowflakes were worried about their self-asserted “rights” and non-existent manhood. Your understanding of statistics probably consists of guessing that flipping a coin a lot of times will give you heads and tails approximately equally. One infectious, non-symptomatic moron can infect dozens of people, and probably that moron’s friends include more morons who will run around without a mask after being infected by moron number 1. Would love to see you in my surgery complaining loudly that the surgical team’s masks are useless and they shouldn’t wear them for your surgery. For you, I’d happily oblige. Would you sue if you got sick as a result?

  21. jjmoore

    July 25, 2020 at 2:13 am


    Couldn’t agree more. Masks are just a control tactic by tyrannical governors, and a feel-goody measure adopted by those that falsely believe the masks are helping others and themselves. There is not ONE SINGLE RESEARCH ARTICLE in a reputed journal that shows a positive benefit of mask wearing.

    It is noteworthy that those working in virology labs wear full body suits equipped with MERV 16 filters and assisted respirators. THOS is what it takes to stop the virus.

    Additionally, there is NOT ONE shred of evidence that asymptomatic spread of the virus is actually occurring, which means that wearing those flasks when you are not sick is not only unnecessary, but also dangerous for your own health.

    Thos being said, if you feel sick, stay HOME!! If you are older than 60, you should also be staying home as those of older age are more severely impacted. If you have cardiovascular, diabetic, or asthmatic issues, you are also predisposed and should be staying home right now. Of you are not one of these people, the stats show that you have a better chance of dying of the flu. Back to normal, and enough of the bogus tyrannical shutdowns and regulations.

    Brains, people…. do you have them?

  22. MEaton

    July 25, 2020 at 12:35 pm

    You guys are unbelievable. Can’t you add something to the conversation without politics or calling people morons? Did you graduate high school?

  23. zerolife

    July 26, 2020 at 7:57 am


    There are plenty of evidences that wearing masks reduces the spread of the virus to other people, and it has also been well established that you could pass on the virus even if you are asymptomatic

    Also you do realize all the flu stats floating around are sourced from the CDC, and there numbers are estimates only vs. 4 million+ confirmed count with COVID.

    Current government estimate is that actual COVID cases is at least 10 times higher, with some local studies showing up to 40 times higher. Now multiply the number again by two as the COVID count is only half way through the year while the historic flu estimates are on annual basis. See which number is higher

  24. zerolife

    July 26, 2020 at 8:08 am


    Agree on looking at the number in relation to population

    Worldometer has a neat table which allows you to filter by Total Cases / population

    If you look at the top of the list you can quickly find “USA” at #10. I’d say 10th highest out of 213 countries is pretty bad. It’s even worse if you look who are in front of the US. All except Chile are tiny countries where cases/million wouldn’t be accurate due to the small population size.

    In terms of Tests / population, we are at #22. So we aren’t the country doing the most tests

  25. IkarosBOS

    July 26, 2020 at 12:52 pm

    Since we’re in 2020 and nit in the 17th century, a help from biotechnology to curtail quarantine requirements to hours should be welcome and its implementation strongly funded.
    Testing increases disease awareness and fosters appropriate behavior, generic mandates and quarantine can create more frustration, skepticism etc. Reliable testing on arrival is a expense (both moral and financial ) many of us would be willing to foot to resume traveling and being able to see our loved ones without taking one month off to spend a ‘free’ day abroad
    All the rest of the discussion belongs to other topic fora

  26. sethb

    July 26, 2020 at 8:06 pm

    @jjmoore I guess you don’t consider real-world results (like fewer deaths in countries with more sensible policies) to be valid data.

  27. FEasy

    July 27, 2020 at 1:31 am

    We’ve decided to continue working without flying and without physical meetings. We used to spend millions on travel. It’s a whole lot cheaper to do videocalls (even if you invest in top notch facilities) and many people seem to be happier with the current way of working.

  28. B727Jet

    July 27, 2020 at 4:22 am

    These border closures to the American travelers are totally unnecessary and do not make the world safer from COVID-19. There is certainly a very large degree of politics involved behind banning US travelers. We don’t even need to look too far, the meanspirited and borderline hateful comments against US travelers, people or users on here and on other websites confirm it. That being said, a rather simple approach to solving this issue would be to have everyone screened regardless of nationality or origin just before boarding the flight as well as upon arrival. This is a proper and nondiscriminatory approach that would promote inclusivity rather than division, hatred or contempt. American travelers are singled out for political reasons, that’s all there is to it. Brazil is soon to overtake the US by the number of cases and death, yet why is it there isn’t a word about that anywhere? All we hear about is how Americans should be banned as though the USA is the sole country with COVID-19 infections in the world. What about other countries with extremely high rate of infections per capita? Should they not be banned too? Besides, the real numbers suggest that many European nations (and a few other regions of the world) have fared far worse than the US on a per capita basis, and the COVID-19 death rate in those places is unusually high. Finally, the US didn’t cause this pandemic, yet everyone treats it as though they are responsible. It just isn’t fair, right or honest. Although I do agree that people should wear masks where their use is required.

  29. hyho61

    July 30, 2020 at 7:29 am

    Until there are people like above commenters who doubt masks, and idiot governors who are suing to stop the mask mandate, US will continue to have these issues. It is probably the ONLY country in the world not able to control effectively. Even far poorer countries with inadequate health care are atleast attempting to control this virus.

    This virus will be with us rest of this year, atleast in US and the new president has to start his presidency by declaring nationwide mask mandate with severe punishment for not doing so.

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