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I’m a U.S. Citizen. Where in the World Can I Go?



Americans hoping to travel to other countries during the pandemic face an array of challenges, including closed borders, quarantine and testing regulations, possible Covid-19 exposure during transit and delays in getting their passports.

People wanting to learn about restrictions and the prevalence of the coronavirus in specific countries can go to the U.S. State Department’s website, which uses a four-tier ranking system, or they can go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention site, which uses three levels to give coronavirus information for travelers.

But those making plans to go abroad this year better have their passports already. Because of the pandemic, the State Department has been restricting in-person service and expedited passport processing to cases involving life-or-death emergencies. As of Sept. 23 there was a backlog of 934,000 passport applications, with some dating back to July.

Like all public interactions in these unprecedented times, air travel itself carries certain risks for contracting Covid-19. About 1,920 Transportation Security Administration employees had tested positive for the virus as of Sept. 19, and seven workers had died from it. Infected agents may have had direct contact with the public at nearly 40 U.S. airports in September, according to the T.S.A., which posts a list of the affected airports on its website.

When returning to the United States, passengers from some countries are only allowed to land at certain airports where they will undergo enhanced screening. In addition, the C.D.C. advises Americans to avoid contact with others for 14 days after they return from international destinations.

While Americans continue to be barred from many countries, including much of Europe, here is a list of countries, in alphabetical order, that as of Sept. 24 were open to U.S. citizens, or were expected to open soon.

Americans are allowed to enter. No coronavirus test is needed and there are no quarantine requirements, according to the U.S. Embassy in Albania.

Anguilla is allowing limited entry to some travelers after extensive screening, but since the United States is generally considered a high-risk country, Americans will be far down in the queue. In addition to favoring those from lower-risk countries, priority will be given to visitors planning longer stays and to those with investments in the country. For now, people may apply to enter until Oct. 31. A new round of applications will begin at the end of September.

All visitors must have a negative PCR test taken three to five days before arrival. Another test will be given on arrival, on day 10 and — for those coming from higher-risk countries — on day 14. While not a full quarantine, visitors will have limited contact with locals during the testing period. Fees for the application start at $1,000 for two people and go up from there.

Air travelers over age 12 must complete a Health Declaration Form, a traveler accommodation form, and must provide a certificate of a negative coronavirus test taken within seven days of arrival. There may be further screening on arrival, and passengers must pay $100 for an additional test if health authorities decide one is needed. Visitors should self-monitor for Covid-19 symptoms for up to 14 days.

Passengers arriving by sea are subject to quarantine, usually for 14 days unless a negative test result is obtained.

The list of areas considered high-risk was being updated as of Sept. 24 and will affect residents from nearly half of the states. Those travelers age 15 and older must upload proof of a negative PCR test taken between 12 and 72 hours before flying or they won’t be allowed to board their flight. Residents of the other states have the option of uploading a test or having one taken at the airport for $75. Travelers must quarantine at their lodging for up to 24 hours while awaiting results. All visitors must complete an Embarkation/Disembarkation card.

Island guests must also purchase mandatory Aruba Visitors Insurance to cover up to $75,000 in expenses should they test positive for Covid-19 during their stay. According to an online calculator, the premium for most visitors over age 15 who are staying for a week would be just over $100, and about $10 for those under 15.

The islands are open to those with a Bahamas Health Visa, and, if over age 10, proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken no more than five days before arrival. Everyone must quarantine for 14 days, and in order to remain on the island, show another negative test, taken at their own expense.

Those traveling between islands with curfews must have a negative Covid-19 test taken within five days of the flight, and must quarantine on the island for 14 days. Another negative test for the virus is required at the end of quarantine. A negative test is required for travel between Grand Bahama and New Providence, but not if traveling to one of those places from a different island.

As of Sept. 19, people from high-risk countries like the United States must have proof of a negative coronavirus test taken within 72 hours of arrival. Americans must still quarantine for 14 days. That may be shortened to seven days if a second test taken five to seven days after arrival is negative. All visitors must complete an online immigration and customs form within 72 hours of travel.

In-transit passengers must have proof of a negative coronavirus test before landing.

Americans are allowed to enter. No coronavirus test is needed and there are no quarantine requirements, according to the U.S. Embassy in Belarus.

Bermuda requires most travelers age 10 and up to provide proof of a negative coronavirus test taken within three days of their flight (although tests taken within seven days will be accepted). In addition, mandatory Covid-19 tests are given at the airport, and travelers must quarantine while awaiting the results. Additional tests are given on days three, seven and 14 of a traveler’s stay.A $75 fee covers their cost. Children age 9 and younger don’t have to take virus tests, but pay a $30 fee.

All travelers must complete an online travel authorization form within 48 hours of their flight, then take and record their temperature with their own thermometer twice a day for the first 14 days of their visit and report it online.

Brazil is allowing people to arrive by air for visits of up to 90 days as long as they can show proof of health insurance that includes coronavirus coverage before boarding their flights.

As of Sept. 15, Costa Rica is allowing visitors from Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington and Wyoming. California is expected to be added on Oct. 1. A driver’s license is required to prove residency. Tourists from authorized states may enter if their flight includes a stop in a state that is not included on the approved list, as long as they don’t leave the airport.

The entry requirements include a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival and proof of medical insurance that covers up to $50,000 in coronavirus expenses, and $2,000 in hotel costs.

American tourists may visit only with proof of paid accommodation. Travelers must present a negative result for a Covid-19 PCR test taken within the previous 48 hours. If they have an older test result, the person can enter, but must self-quarantine until they can show another negative test, which would be taken at their own expense. Those without negative results must self-quarantine for 14 days.

Travelers from the United States are allowed to enter with a negative Covid-19 test. A 14-day quarantine is required, and the government may request additional virus tests.

Because the United States is considered a high-risk country, travelers need to fill out an online health questionnaire, and before boarding their plane, show proof of a negative PCR test result taken 24 to 72 hours before arrival. They also need to show notification of health clearance to travel.

Upon landing, travelers will be given a rapid Covid-19 test at the airport and must await the results in a government-approved facility. If the test is negative, they will be taken to a government operated quarantine facility or a government-certified private property for a five-day quarantine. At the end of the five days, another test will be given.

Those who arrive at the airport with a fever, who test positive or whose health questionnaires identify them as high risk face additional testing and monitoring at their own expense, and if they test positive for the virus, they will be kept in a Covid-19 isolation unit at their expense.

As of Sept. 15, authorities began randomly administer a quick breath test to between 3 and 10 percent of arriving passengers and to those who show symptoms of the coronavirus. Through the end of the year, the country is providing free emergency travel assistance to visitors staying at hotels that will cover Covid-19 testing, lodging and flight change penalties in the event of an infection.

Americans are allowed to enter with proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken no more than 10 days before entry. Travelers without the test may take one at their own expense upon arrival. They must quarantine at their accommodation pending a negative test result, according to the U.S. Embassy in Ecuador.

Americans over age 6 are allowed to enter with written proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 96 hours of arrival. Proof of health insurance is required, according to the U.S. Embassy in Egypt.

U.S. citizens arriving with proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival must self-quarantine for 14 days and also may be required to give a sample upon arrival. Those arriving without a negative test must quarantine for seven days at a government-designated facility at their own expense, and then for an additional seven days at government-approved lodgings. Additional requirements may be in place for some cities.

St. Barts requires visitors age 11 and older to show a negative test taken within 72 hours of arrival. Those staying longer than a week must take an additional test at a cost of about $155 on the eighth day of their trips. Those who didn’t take the pre-arrival test, or those who test positive on the island, must self-quarantine for 14 days or until they get a negative retest. Guadeloupe, Martinique and French St. Martin are currently not allowing visitors from the United States.

Travelers to French Polynesia, including the islands of Tahiti and Bora Bora, must show proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within the previous 72 hours in order to board their flights if they are age 6 or older. Those arriving at the airport will be given a test kit for the virus that contains an oral and nasal swab, and on the fourth day in the islands, the visitor must complete the self-test. Tourists must also complete an electronic entry form attesting that they have travel insurance that would cover coronavirus expenses, or agreeing to personally assume all costs.

For now, only chartered flights are allowed from the United States, and the passengers who arrive must quarantine for up to two weeks in a government-approved facility.

U.S. citizens can enter with proof of a negative Covid-19 test, and they may be required to quarantine for up to 14 days. Curfews are in effect.

Authorities are asking nonessential travelers not to visit the Republic of Ireland . Visitors from the United States must self-quarantine for 14 days if they are visiting the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland.

Tourists age 12 and older arriving from the United States must upload a negative Covid-19 test that was taken at an accredited facility within 10 days of their arrival date. All passengers must complete a Travel Authorization screening form that should be submitted for approval between two and five days before travel.

Arriving passengers may be required to take a test. If so, the individual must quarantine at their accommodation or at a government facility until the results are available, generally within 48 hours. Those who aren’t staying within the “resilient corridor,” where operators have been trained in Covid-19 protocols, will be electronically monitored during this time.

If the test is negative, people staying at a hotel or resort within the corridor must stay on the property unless they are visiting select attractions within the corridor via approved transportation providers. Those not staying in the corridor must quarantine for 14 days from the date they entered Jamaica, leaving only once per day to get necessities.

Asymptomatic visitors to Kenya from the United States who have proof of a negative Covid-19 test within the previous four days do not need to quarantine for 14 days unless they are from California, Florida or Texas.

Americans are allowed to enter without restrictions, however, the State Department has the country under its highest alert.

“We urge you to postpone or cancel travel to Kosovo this summer. Kosovo remains under a Level 4 Health Advisory – Do Not Travel due to Covid-19. The health situation is deteriorating, and public institutions are struggling to keep up with demand,” the U.S. Embassy in Kosovo says on its website.

Visitors over 1 year of age must have proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken not more than 72 hours before the flight. Screenings will be done at the airport and some travelers may be asked to voluntarily submit to another test.

The country requires tourists to have a confirmed booking at a tourist facility and the entire vacation needs to be at the same hotel, except when transiting. A representative of the hotel is expected to meet guests at the airport.

The United States is not on the list of green countries for travel to Malta, however, anyone can enter the country if they first spend 14 days in an approved country. That means that American can travel to Croatia or the United Arab Emirates, for instance, and after spending 14 days there, travel to Malta.

The U.S. State Department has lowered its warning about travel to most regions of Mexico to Level 3, or “Reconsider Travel,” but land crossings between the United States and Mexico remain closed until at least Oct. 21. U.S. visitors can arrive by plane. Tourists may be subject to temperature checks and other health screenings, and those showing symptoms may be asked to quarantine voluntarily.

North Macedonia is open to Americans with no testing or quarantine restrictions.

The country plans to allow tourism to resume in a phased reopening starting in October.

Americans must have a completed travel registration and proof of a negative test taken within the past seven days. They also need confirmed reservations at a coronavirus-certified accommodation provider.

Screenings will be conducted at the airport. Those without symptoms must take a certified taxi to their accommodations, and are required to remain on the grounds during their stay except to participate in water-based excursions arranged by the hotel.

Those over age 10 arriving from the United States must have a completed health declaration form and have proof of a negative test taken within five days of travel.

Travelers are asked to bring a thermometer, mask and hand sanitizer, and Americans must upload daily information about their body temperature and any flulike symptoms for 14 days. Travel insurance is required and it’s recommended that it include coverage for coronavirus-related expenses.

Visitors from the United States must have a pre-arrival travel form completed and show a negative test for the virus taken within the previous five days. Another test will be given upon arrival.

Travelers also must have proof of five nights of paid accommodation at an approved hotel, and must quarantine there for five days. Another test must be done between day four and day five of quarantine and come back negative. At the discretion of health officials, visitors may be monitored for nine to 16 days.

All travelers must track their temperature for two weeks and report any changes to health authorities.

In-transit passengers must have proof a negative test taken five days before travel and must stay at the airport or at a government approved hotel while awaiting their connection.

Serbia is open to Americans with no testing or quarantine restrictions.

Passengers arriving on an international flight to Tanzania must complete a Health Surveillance Form and undergo screening, including a possible Covid-19 test.

The country is open to Americans with no travel restrictions. Health screening and possible testing may be conducted at the airport.

The Turks and Caicos Islands is requiring a negative test result taken within five days of travel for anyone over age 10. Visitors also must have insurance that covers any Covid-19 related medical costs. A Travel Authorization Form that will ask health questions must be completed by all passengers before boarding a plane to the islands.

Travelers over age 12 must have proof of a negative PCR test taken within 96 hours of their flight in order to board a commercial aircraft to the country. Many passengers are also tested upon arrival, and some may need to self quarantine or may be sent to a quarantine facility. International health insurance is also required.

Tourist visas are not currently being issued by the Abu Dhabi authorities at the Abu Dhabi airport. Visitors can travel to Abu Dhabi by road, but must present either a negative Covid-19 P.C.R. test taken in the previous 48 hours. Another test must be taken on day six of the visit, if it is of that duration. Returning to the U.A.E. takes some paperwork.

Anyone arriving from the United States must be prepared to isolate for 14 days, or face a penalty of up to $1,250. Passengers transiting in an airport are exempt, as are those going directly from one port to another; for instance, from Heathrow to Eurostar.

Follow Karen Schwartz on Twitter: @WanderWomanIsMe

By: Karen Schwartz
Title: I’m a U.S. Citizen. Where in the World Can I Go?
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Published Date: Thu, 24 Sep 2020 16:14:29 +0000

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What could you order from Ansett Airlines’ inflight bar in the early 1970s?




People have always liked to drink on board flights, especially people from Australia. Therefore, it should be no surprise to anyone that there was an inflight bar offering in the 1970s.

Ansett Airlines were a major player in the Australian domestic market up until their demise in September 2001. For many years, there were two domestic airlines, Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA) and Ansett.

Ansett’s Inflight Bar

At the time, Ansett operated Boeing 727s, Douglas DC-9s and Fokker F27 Friendships on domestic routes in the country. Airline tickets were quite expensive, with tariffs agreed upon by both airlines thanks to Australia’s weird two-airline policy at the time.

While tickets were expensive and food complimentary, you still had to pay for a drink at the bar. Here is an inflight bar menu from the era, showing the drinks available and their prices.

Clearly the pricing is astounding by today’s standards – 30 cents for a beer? I’ll have thirty-three please! I like how Australian gin is 35c while the imported gin is just 5c more. Which would you choose?

You can tell it is from another era as you can buy cigarettes on board. These price up at 45c, a far cry from the extortionate prices people in the west pay these days for a smoke!

Overall Thoughts

The on board offering is pretty comprehensive for internal flights, and I imagine you’d be hard pressed not to find something you might like. In those times, all payments would have been by cash as well, which would have meant a lot of coinage being handled on board.

Of course, things haven’t changed too much over the years. On many airlines you pay for your drinks just as they did back in the 1970s. Shame the prices aren’t the same of course!

Did you ever buy drinks on board flights from the inflight bar back in the day? Do you still? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Daniel Tanner on via Wikimedia Commons.
Menu image by Ikara on Australian Frequent Flyer.

By: The Flight Detective
Title: What could you order from Ansett Airlines’ inflight bar in the early 1970s?
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Published Date: Thu, 19 Nov 2020 15:03:14 +0000

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These Shrimp Leave the Safety of Water and Walk on Land. But Why?




The shrimp stop swimming at dusk and gather near the river’s edge. After sunset, they begin to climb out of the water. Then they march. All night long, the inch-long crustaceans parade along the rocks.

The parading shrimp of northeastern Thailand have inspired legends, dances and even a statue. (Locals also eat them.) During the rainy season, between late August and early October, tourists crowd the riverbanks with flashlights to watch the shrimp walk.

Watcharapong Hongjamrassilp first learned about the parading shrimp, and the hundred thousand or more tourists who come each year to see them, about 20 years ago. When he started studying biology, he returned to the topic. “I realized that we know nothing about this,” he said: What species are they? Why and how do they leave the safety of the water to walk upstream on dry land? Where are they going?

Mr. Hongjamrassilp, a graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles, decided to answer those questions himself. His findings appeared this month in the Journal of Zoology.

Working with wildlife center staff members, Mr. Hongjamrassilp staked out nine sites along a river in Thailand’s Ubon Ratchathani province. They found shrimp parading at two of the sites — a stretch of rapids, and a low dam.

The videos they recorded revealed that the shrimp paraded from sundown to sunup. They traveled up to 65 feet upstream. Some individual shrimp stayed out of the water for 10 minutes or more.

“I was so surprised,” Mr. Hongjamrassilp said, “because I never thought that a shrimp can walk that long.” Staying in the river’s splash zone may help them keep their gills wet, so they can keep taking in oxygen. He also observed that the shells of the shrimp seem to trap a little water around their gills, like a reverse dive helmet.

DNA analysis from captured shrimp showed that nearly all belonged to the species Macrobrachium dienbienphuense, part of a genus of shrimp that live mostly or fully in freshwater. Many Macrobrachiumspecies spend part of their lives migrating upstream to their preferred habitats.

Most parading shrimp that Mr. Hongjamrassilp captured were young. Observations and lab experiments showed that these shrimp probably leave the water when the flow becomes too strong for them. Larger adult shrimp can handle a stronger current without washing away, so they’re less likely to leave the water.

Walking on land is dangerous for the little shrimp, even under cover of darkness. Predators including frogs, snakes and large spiders lurk nearby, Mr. Hongjamrassilp says. “Literally, they wait to eat them along the river.”

And the shrimp can survive on land for only so long. If the parading crustaceans lose their way, they may dry out and die before they get back to the river. A few times, Mr. Hongjamrassilp came across groups of lost shrimp dead on the rocks, their once-translucent bodies baked pink.

Yet most navigate upstream successfully, and scientists have spotted other freshwater shrimp around the world performing similar feats, scaling dams and even climbing waterfalls.

Leaving the water when the swimming gets tough may have helped these animals spread to new habitats over their evolutionary history, Mr. Hongjamrassilp said. Today, the number of parading shrimp in Thailand seems to be declining. He thinks tourist activity may be a factor, and learning more about the shrimp might help protect them.

The study’s authors made “some really excellent observations,” said Alan Covich, an ecologist at the University of Georgia who was not involved in the research. But understanding why the Ubon Ratchathani shrimp move upstream, and how far they travel, will require more research, he said.

“The most surprising thing to me was that it attracted so many tourists,” Dr. Covich said. He doesn’t know of any other example of people gathering to appreciate a crustacean in quite the same way.

“We have crayfish festivals, we have all kinds of things,” Dr. Covich said, “but generally it’s people eating them, not watching them move.”

By: Elizabeth Preston
Title: These Shrimp Leave the Safety of Water and Walk on Land. But Why?
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Published Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 17:02:07 +0000

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Will Aer Lingus launch transatlantic flights from Manchester?




There are reports that Aer Lingus have applied for 1,500 slots at Manchester Airport for the Summer 2021 season. This will allow the airline to base four aircraft there and service flights to the United States.

At present, there have been no press releases from the airline stating what is going on. Even so, it probably makes sense for the Irish airline to do this in the current market.

Aer Lingus And Manchester

From what is known, there will be three Airbus A321LRs and an A330 based at Manchester. These will operate non-stop services to New York JFK, Boston, Chicago and Orlando, and the season starts on 28 March 2021.

With Thomas Cook having gone out of business, there is likely space for another competitor. New York and Orlando will see competition from Virgin Atlantic, while the other two routes have no airline flying at the moment.

Aer Lingus has been connecting passengers over Dublin very successfully from the UK regions for a while now. Due to this, they will have visibility on traffic patterns, potential yields and more, making this an informed decision.

I imagine they also hope to cream off some of the connecting traffic that routes through London Heathrow on British Airways and Amsterdam on KLM among others. It would prove to be quite successful.

Transatlantic Joint Venture Approval

The US Department of Transport has tentatively given its approval for Aer Lingus to join the oneworld transatlantic joint business. This is operated by American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia and Finnair.

These airlines coordinate schedules and pricing, share revenues and expenses. For the consumer, it means more choice – those making a booking on British Airways across the Atlantic will also see options on American Airlines on the BA web site as one example.

Theoretically, it would allow people seeking flights on the British Airways web site to automatically be given options to fly non-stop with Aer Lingus, along with the Manchester-London Heathrow-US city connecting itinerary.

Whether Aer Lingus will join the oneworld alliance, even in a oneworld connect capacity remains to be seen. Frequent flyers would welcome it, especially those in Ireland.

Overall Thoughts

No doubt the boffins have been working behind the scenes to see if the business case for transatlantic flights from Manchester stack up. As things have proceeded as far as a slot application, I would guess chances are good that it will go ahead.

Either way, let’s see if this happens and if it does, whether Aer Lingus will stay for the long haul. If they can make more money elsewhere, they’ll up sticks and leave. Regardless, it is an interesting development in European aviation.

What do you think of Aer Lingus starting transatlantic services from Manchester? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

To never miss a post, follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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Featured image by N509FZ via Wikimedia Commons.
Aer Lingus A321neo LR by Pitmanaaron via Wikimedia Commons.
Business class cabin via One Mile At A Time.

By: The Flight Detective
Title: Will Aer Lingus launch transatlantic flights from Manchester?
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Published Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 18:03:48 +0000

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