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Vaccinated tourists arrive in US from dozens of countries as travel restrictions ease

The U.S. is seeing a flood of vaccinated travelers from dozens of countries previously restricted from entering America as new travel rules go into effect on Monday.

The U.S. on Monday officially began allowing air travel from other countries, including Mexico, Canada and most of Europe. Air passengers must have proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test while those crossing land borders from Mexico or Canada will require proof of vaccination but no test.

By early morning, images showing crowds of passengers lining up at airports and land borders already emerged.

It's a significant step in inching back to pre-pandemic life. However, it likely won't be smooth sailing right away.

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian noted that this process is going to be "sloppy at first" and that travelers can expect long lines if they are coming to the U.S. on an international flight, FOX Business' Grady Trimble reported.

Still, the surge in demand is a welcome relief for the battered industry.

Since Sept. 20, when the U.S. announced it was reopening borders to foreign travelers, searches for flights into the U.S. after Nov. 8 surged 338%, according to Hopper.

"This suggests a strong recovery in international travel demand for flights to the U.S., approximately twice as strong as 2020 search-demand this time last year," according to Hopper's "U.S. International Reopening Report."

Delta, in particular, noted that within the past six weeks, the carrier has seen a "450% increase in international point-of-sale bookings versus the six weeks prior to the announcement."

Many of its international flights are expected to be full Monday, "with high passenger volume throughout the following weeks," according to the airline.

"This is the start of a new era for travel and for many people around the world who have not been able to see loved ones for almost two years," Bastian said.

Meanwhile, United Airlines is expecting about 10,000 more passengers to fly into the U.S. this week now that restrictions have eased, Trimble reported.

American Airlines chief revenue officer Vasu Raja said the carrier appreciates "the Biden administration, as well as the U.K. government, for working in collaboration with our industry to make this reopening of international travel a reality and we’re excited about the boost it promises to bring to travelers and the economy."

United CEO Scott Kirby also noted that the ease in restrictions will better position the carrier in its path to recovery.

"From the return of business travel and the planned re-opening of Europe and early indications for opening in the Pacific, the headwinds we've faced are turning to tailwinds, and we believe that United is better positioned to lead the recovery than any airline in the world," Kirby said.

This article originally appeared on Fox Business

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