Three major airlines in the U.S. have announced they will cap flight fares from Europe to America as people scramble to return stateside following President Trump’s declaration of a 30-day travel ban involving 26 European countries amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
Flight prices for the plane tickets initially “soared” following the president’s announcement, USA Today reports.
On Thursday, a spokesperson for American Airlines confirmed the news of the carrier’s fare cap.
“We have capped our Main Cabin fares from Europe and the U.K. at a maximum of 799 EUR/GBP and fares from the U.S. have been capped at $1,000. These fares include taxes and fees that are typically around $250 to $300 on transatlantic routes,” a spokesperson told Fox News. “We are also offering reasonably priced fares for our premium cabins on our trans-Atlantic routes.”
On behalf of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), the union which represents 28,000 flight attendants employed by American, organization president Lori Bassani said that the APFA is in constant contact with both its flight attendants as well as other unions and Capitol Hill regarding updates on the 30-day travel suspension.
“Our union has been in close communication with American Airlines management throughout this crisis. What we know now is that our schedule will remain intact today and flights to and from the Schengen Area countries will operate through Friday, March 13,” Bassani said in a statement shared with Fox News on Thursday.
“While our planes are not restricted from flying these routes, we can expect a reduction in customer bookings and an increase in cancellations – further impacting our flying schedules and adding to the uncertainty surrounding this situation.
“APFA’s leadership is working tirelessly to understand the full impact this ban will have on our flying schedules and our airlines’ plans moving forward,” she continued. "We are simultaneously working on options for extended leaves for our members, pay protections, and ways to minimize the impact on our jobs.”
Likewise, a representative for United Airlines said that the carrier’s new, capped tickets fares are now live on their website. Spokesperson Leslie Scott told USA Today that the United’s prices “haven’t soared,” remaining the same from Wednesday to Thursday.
Delta Air Lines, too, also said the carrier would cap fares on flights to the U.S. from Europe as Americans rush to get home before the ban takes effect.
“The safety and health of our customers and employees is always our highest priority. Delta has and will continue to quickly make adjustments to service, as needed, in response to government travel directives,” a spokesperson told Fox News on Thursday.
Further information regarding President Trump’s directive on travel from Europe to the U.S can be found on Delta’s website.
On Wednesday, Trump announced that the U.S. was suspending all travel from Europe to the U.S. for 30 days beginning Friday at midnight, in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
"We made a lifesaving move with early action on China. Now we must take the same action with Europe,” the president said in a televised address to the nation.
Describing the decision as “the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history,” the president voiced his confidence that the measures “will significantly reduce the threat to our citizens and we will ultimately and expeditiously defeat this virus."
According to the White House, the ban would restrict foreign nationals from entering the United States if they had been in, or traveled through, the Schengen Area — Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland — within the past 14 days.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.