The U.S. is off the European Union’s safe travel list as of Monday, which means tighter restrictions could be coming for Americans still planning a holiday here.
It’s not as bad as it could be: the new restrictions are aimed at unvaccinated Americans (as well as those travelling from Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, and the Republic of North Macedonia).
Unvaccinated travelers from these six locations should only be admitted for essential travel, according to a statement from the Council of the EU.
Americans who are vaccinated with one of the EU-approved versions, which include those manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson, should, in theory, not face any problems. But individual countries can determine whether to abide by the restrictions, or whether to make their own even more strict.
The decision is seen as retaliation against the U.S. government’s refusal to reciprocate EU’s move adding U.S. to its safe list in June, in time for the holiday season. President Joe Biden’s administration has been mostly mum on why it’s keeping the EU on its restricted travel list — and at the start of August, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen indicated that the EU would respond if there was no reciprocity. And so it did.
American travelers made up over 27 million arrivals at EU tourist accommodations in 2019, according to the EU’s statistics agency, Bloomberg writes.
Also, the airlines are not happy! The Airlines for Europe lobby group said in a statement on Monday that the EU’s “decision is extremely disappointing for Europe’s airlines,” according to The National.
But does anyone care about airlines after the way they’ve treated us over the past one-and-half years? Especially our own TAP…
“According to the most recent data supplied by the U.S. Department of Transportation, TAP Air Portugal has had the most consumer complaints,” travel journalist Peter Greenberg wrote in June. “Not surprisingly, the main reason listed for the majority of complaints for these airlines, including TAP, are refund complaints.”