Inside terminal E at Boston Logan International Airport Monday, there were lots of warm hugs and big kisses after the Biden Administration lifted a pandemic travel ban on international visitors from more than 30 countries after 19 months.
Families, friends, and couples were embracing each other, in many cases after more than a year and a half apart.
"Today is the day. I'm very excited,” said Daniel MacDonald while holding a flower bouquet. “It's like Christmas morning!"
MacDonald had been waiting for this day to come for a while.
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"She hasn't been to the United States since February of 2020. A few days before everything shut down,” he said of his girlfriend Olivia, who took a flight from the UK to Boston.
The pair has been dating long distance through the pandemic.
"It's difficult, but you know, it's not worth getting upset about because, I have her and that's more than what I can ask for,” added MacDonald.
This easing of rules means Elias Boujouf from Luxemburg gets to celebrate his birthday during his first visit to the US and can embrace his girlfriend whom he met in Europe.
“A big relief for us and many people coming from Europe towards the United States and without having to do these tricks going to Mexico first, two weeks to come to the US or coming from Romania – so I think it’s a big relief,” he said.
About one-fifth of the roughly 79 million visitors to the US in 2019 came from Europe. That was around the time Francoise Praine last saw her grandchildren.
"Too long, too long. But now here I am! I'm so happy!” she said.
While Roni, who like Praine, flew in from France and was able to be reunited with his daughter. Adding truth to the saying: absence makes the heart grow fonder.
“I want to hold you the whole night,” he said to his daughter while holding her close to him. “This is the first thing I’ll do.”
Airport officials expect international travel to continue pick up with the approaching winter holidays, making for a busier time at the airport and a busier time for local businesses.