USA flights bookings and ESTA query

Old Apr 20, 21, 11:39 pm
  #1  
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USA flights bookings and ESTA query

Hi, please correct me if I have it wrong, but I think I read somewhere in this forum that folks had their ESTA's automatically cancelled if they had outstanding USA flight bookings while the Presidential Proclamation is in effect (i.e. banned travel from UK under visa waiver.)

Is this a real thing? I am thinking of making a few bookings for July or thereabouts but I'd rather not end up in an ESTA renewal loop...
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Old Apr 21, 21, 12:03 am
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i had several bookings to the US in the past months and i am planning new one. nobody knows what the situation will be in 4 8 12 16 weeks from now. they cant forbid me making plans. My esta never got cancelled. at least i never got a message of that.

IIRC your ESTA only gets cancelled when you actively try to board the plane/ checkin /that stuff.

for the record:

i had
flights 07/20
flights 10/20
flights 12/20
flights 01/20
flights 04/20

and always cancelled them like 6 to 12 weeks prior to departure when the schedule changes came. i never had any issue
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Old Apr 21, 21, 12:05 am
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The bigger question is whether the proclamation is lifted or not. At this point nothing is confirmed so you wouldn’t be able to travel to the US. The ESTA is not a big deal, usually you are approved within a few hours.
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Old Apr 21, 21, 12:09 am
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ESTAs were not and are still not being automatically cancelled to prevent travel to the USA.

some people’s Estas were cancelled thanks to airlines cancelling flights but not cancelling the individuals travel request, making it look like individual were trying to travel against the ban.

You can apply for an esta now without any problems
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Old Apr 21, 21, 12:11 am
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Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
The bigger question is whether the proclamation is lifted or not. At this point nothing is confirmed so you wouldn’t be able to travel to the US. The ESTA is not a big deal, usually you are approved within a few hours.
“directly” - you can still travel to the USA on an ESTA from a banned country but you have to sit it out for 14 days in a country that is permitted to travel to the USA first
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Old Apr 21, 21, 12:22 am
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There were some specific reports of ESTAs being cancelled because BA had still transmitted passenger details at T-72 when the passengers had no intention of being on the flight. At least some of those passengers, iirc, had already taken a voucher and therefore should not have been on the passenger list.

That hasn’t happened for a while, and indeed by now most ESTAs will have expired anyway. If yours still has a period to run, then remove your passport details in MMB which will break the link between you and your ESTA number.
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Old Apr 21, 21, 12:40 am
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Yes, the ESTA situation wasn't well explained at the time and the rescinding of ESTAs was clunky. Since then it first improved and now appears to have stopped.

There is a stage when airlines arriving in the USA need to get clearance from the DHS that each passenger can be landed, and in the case of ESTA there is a handshake process. If the handshake isn't given then the airlines often resubmit until it comes back OK. In the early days of the Proclamation the CBP, an arm of the DHS, was concerned that people would land on an ESTA and be cleared semi-automatically via the various borders, where staff may not pick up the impact of the Proclamation. This may seem odd, but if people were arriving from Belgrade that was OK, people arriving from Budapest would not. Instead there was some sort of pre-clearing at airports by local DHS staff or agents and the ESTA basis of entry was no longer relevant. As noted, airlines that submitted passenger lists to the DHS several days before travel ended up with cancelled ESTAs. In some cases it was because people had not cancelled their reservations, in some cases they had but the passenger lists were slow to be updated, in many cases BA cancelled the flight after sending in the data to DHS. Many airlines were affected, not just BA, and a few months afterwards there was a manual (but slow) process where ESTAs could be reinstated if they had been no intention to travel. Those who didn't do this were also able to get new ESTAs without issue.

Now if someone booked a flight this morning and turned up at LHR for a USA flight I think there is a chance their ESTA could be cancelled but that would be understandable. But I don't think it has happened recently and plenty of UK spouses of USA citizens have legitimately used ESTAs in recent months to enter the USA.

In terms of the original question I don't think there is any harm in making bookings now. There isn't any real point applying for an ESTA now or adding it to your booking, you can and should do that a week or two before departure, if only to extend the ESTA validity. This is assuming that an ESTA is almost certain to be granted in normal circumstances. Clearly if there are factors that complicate an ESTA (such as visits to Iran or criminal convictions) then you best apply sooner in case you need a Visa. So you can make the booking and there is a separate point as to when to apply for an ESTA and third stage when you add it to the booking, along with your address in the USA.
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Old Apr 21, 21, 1:05 am
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Thank you for your replies. I renewed my passport few months ago and got the ESTA at the same time, so I just didn't want it cancelled if I were to make a "pre-emptive" booking.
Fingers crossed USA will be on the green list and borders open both ways soon.
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Old Apr 21, 21, 3:03 am
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Originally Posted by Tim_T View Post
“directly” - you can still travel to the USA on an ESTA from a banned country but you have to sit it out for 14 days in a country that is permitted to travel to the USA first
Would it be possible to go to a OW hub outside of Schengen (e.g. DOH) stay there 14 days and then fly to the US or are there other restrictions in addition to the ESTA we need to think about?

Hopefully when I'm due to travel (August) it won't be needed and also things may have changed a lot by then.
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Old Apr 21, 21, 4:14 am
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
Yes, the ESTA situation wasn't well explained at the time and the rescinding of ESTAs was clunky. Since then it first improved and now appears to have stopped.

There is a stage when airlines arriving in the USA need to get clearance from the DHS that each passenger can be landed, and in the case of ESTA there is a handshake process. If the handshake isn't given then the airlines often resubmit until it comes back OK. In the early days of the Proclamation the CBP, an arm of the DHS, was concerned that people would land on an ESTA and be cleared semi-automatically via the various borders, where staff may not pick up the impact of the Proclamation. This may seem odd, but if people were arriving from Belgrade that was OK, people arriving from Budapest would not. Instead there was some sort of pre-clearing at airports by local DHS staff or agents and the ESTA basis of entry was no longer relevant. As noted, airlines that submitted passenger lists to the DHS several days before travel ended up with cancelled ESTAs. In some cases it was because people had not cancelled their reservations, in some cases they had but the passenger lists were slow to be updated, in many cases BA cancelled the flight after sending in the data to DHS. Many airlines were affected, not just BA, and a few months afterwards there was a manual (but slow) process where ESTAs could be reinstated if they had been no intention to travel. Those who didn't do this were also able to get new ESTAs without issue.

Now if someone booked a flight this morning and turned up at LHR for a USA flight I think there is a chance their ESTA could be cancelled but that would be understandable. But I don't think it has happened recently and plenty of UK spouses of USA citizens have legitimately used ESTAs in recent months to enter the USA.

In terms of the original question I don't think there is any harm in making bookings now. There isn't any real point applying for an ESTA now or adding it to your booking, you can and should do that a week or two before departure, if only to extend the ESTA validity. This is assuming that an ESTA is almost certain to be granted in normal circumstances. Clearly if there are factors that complicate an ESTA (such as visits to Iran or criminal convictions) then you best apply sooner in case you need a Visa. So you can make the booking and there is a separate point as to when to apply for an ESTA and third stage when you add it to the booking, along with your address in the USA.
Surely there are people who can legally travel to the US on an ESTA such as those who are immediate family members.
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Old Apr 21, 21, 4:22 am
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Originally Posted by MrSimonR View Post
Surely there are people who can legally travel to the US on an ESTA such as those who are immediate family members.
those travel permissions are not based on an ESTA iirc. you requiere an NIE vor a visa for that.
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Old Apr 21, 21, 4:28 am
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Originally Posted by Nephoi View Post
those travel permissions are not based on an ESTA iirc. you requiere an NIE vor a visa for that.
Are you sure? That's not what the guidance says:

U.S. Visa and Travel FAQs | U.S. Embassy & Consulates in the United Kingdom (usembassy.gov)

FAQ 1.4) I qualify to travel to the United States. What do I need to know about traveling? Will I need to quarantine?

Qualifying for an exception to the travel restriction listed in the Presidential Proclamation does not remove the need for the appropriate immigration status or documentation. Depending on your circumstances, you will need a valid U.S. passport, Permanent Resident Card/I-551 stamp, ESTA or visa appropriate for your purpose of travel. See Question 1.2 above for more information.
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Old Apr 21, 21, 4:35 am
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Originally Posted by MrSimonR View Post
Surely there are people who can legally travel to the US on an ESTA such as those who are immediate family members.
Indeed, I think I mentioned that as a possibility in my previous post. However DHS agents are able and willing to ok travel without ESTAs in those circumstances.
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Old Apr 21, 21, 7:29 am
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Esta renewal

Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
Yes, the ESTA situation wasn't well explained at the time and the rescinding of ESTAs was clunky. Since then it first improved and now appears to have stopped.

There is a stage when airlines arriving in the USA need to get clearance from the DHS that each passenger can be landed, and in the case of ESTA there is a handshake process. If the handshake isn't given then the airlines often resubmit until it comes back OK. In the early days of the Proclamation the CBP, an arm of the DHS, was concerned that people would land on an ESTA and be cleared semi-automatically via the various borders, where staff may not pick up the impact of the Proclamation. This may seem odd, but if people were arriving from Belgrade that was OK, people arriving from Budapest would not. Instead there was some sort of pre-clearing at airports by local DHS staff or agents and the ESTA basis of entry was no longer relevant. As noted, airlines that submitted passenger lists to the DHS several days before travel ended up with cancelled ESTAs. In some cases it was because people had not cancelled their reservations, in some cases they had but the passenger lists were slow to be updated, in many cases BA cancelled the flight after sending in the data to DHS. Many airlines were affected, not just BA, and a few months afterwards there was a manual (but slow) process where ESTAs could be reinstated if they had been no intention to travel. Those who didn't do this were also able to get new ESTAs without issue.

Now if someone booked a flight this morning and turned up at LHR for a USA flight I think there is a chance their ESTA could be cancelled but that would be understandable. But I don't think it has happened recently and plenty of UK spouses of USA citizens have legitimately used ESTAs in recent months to enter the USA.

In terms of the original question I don't think there is any harm in making bookings now. There isn't any real point applying for an ESTA now or adding it to your booking, you can and should do that a week or two before departure, if only to extend the ESTA validity. This is assuming that an ESTA is almost certain to be granted in normal circumstances. Clearly if there are factors that complicate an ESTA (such as visits to Iran or criminal convictions) then you best apply sooner in case you need a Visa. So you can make the booking and there is a separate point as to when to apply for an ESTA and third stage when you add it to the booking, along with your address in the USA.
This is the first I have heard about potential ESTA cancellations. I have had 3 return flights cancelled by BA. I tried to check my ESTA status but it just comes up as applications expired, presumably because I applied more than a year ago (and our ESTAs expire in September. Has BA admitted to this error and is there any way of checking which pax were affected?
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Old Apr 21, 21, 7:42 am
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I don't think this is accurate, you can still travel to the US from the UK on ESTA as long as you stop in a 3rd country for 14 days en route. I know many UK citizens that have entered on ESTA from Mexico, etc...
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