After the US lifted its restrictions on international travel from many countries, including India, emotions were tangible as many families awaited the reunion with their Indian family members at the Newark International Airport in New Jersey. These were parents who have not reunited with their children in over 2 years, fiances and couples who were not able to see each other in reality, and grandparents who were anxiously awaiting the arrival of their grandchildren.
Families were overjoyed at the sight of their loved ones emerging from the exit gates of the Newark Airport, as they were traveling on the first flight from India after the travel restrictions were finally lifted on Monday, as announced by Joe Biden, the President of the USA.
The COVID19 pandemic had forced the closure of travel of international passengers to and from the US from many countries, including India. This occurred last year, and later on, travel was only reopened to travelers holding visas and belonging to certain categorizations.
After the USA opened its borders to fully vaccinated international passengers from all countries, as declared on 8th November, families couldn’t help but eagerly await the reunion with their close ones as the first flight took off from India to the US among many other direct flights from India to USA. This brought much-needed joy and a sense of normalcy in everyone’s lives with countless families reuniting tearfully at the Newark International Airport.
Vipul Shah said, “I booked the first flight on the first day” as he arrived with his wife to meet their 2 daughters, who were anxiously awaiting the return of their parents after such a long time. Upon seeing them finally exiting from the airport doors, they ran up to them and hugged them.
He said, “I had booked the flight on November 1 itself when I heard that the US is opening up travel for tourists again. But I re-booked them for November 8. I could not wait for November 7 at midnight when my wife and I will be able to sit on the flight,” as tears rolled down his face upon seeing his daughters, one of whom is about to be married soon.
The family documented their reunion with hugs and took pictures to capture the emotional moment, as they said, “We have waited too long for this day,” when they booked flight tickets from India to the USA.
This situation was similar to countless other Indian families, all of whom were finally meeting up again after more than 2 years of being away from each other due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Another situation was quite alike when the Air India flight landed from Delhi in Newark. Rupal Patel eagerly awaited the arrival of her family as she closely watched the passengers emerging out from the doors of the airport after travelers completed their immigration formalities.
She said, “I’m waiting for my father. He is 86 years old and I have not seen him in over two years.” adding that “He has been staying alone in Nadiad, Gujarat, and has been managing everything on his own throughout the pandemic”. She and her siblings have been living abroad and were unable to travel to India due to the strict travel restrictions.
Hence, there had been no choice but to let their father manage everything on his own for such a long period of time. As she was speaking, her father arrived from the airport. Upon seeing them, she ran to him, touched his feet, and hugged him as they were both misty-eyed after such a long-awaited reunion. Her father said, “It was a good flight. I’m just very happy to be here”.
Among many other families was Brajinder Brar, excited to wait for the arrival of his granddaughter and niece who was pregnant. He mentioned that “Staying away and not being able to meet friends and families is not easy. The pandemic has taught us that,” and added that it is still of extreme importance that the protocols for dealing with COVID19 are being followed without negligence, such as hand sanitization, mask-wearing, and social distancing.
He said, “It’s nice that the travel is opening up but we still have to be very careful,” as people do not want to live with travel restrictions and long lockdowns any longer. He also mentioned that “it is up to us to ensure that borders remain open, travel is not disrupted and we remain cautious.”
Meetal Sharma was another such joyful person who was happy on reuniting with her daughter and son-in-law. It had been a wait of nine months and she had been eagerly waiting to meet the newest addition to their family, a little grandchild.
Upon seeing them, she couldn’t help but cry tears of joy as she hugged them tightly at the airport. Ms. Sharma had flown from Ahmedabad on the flight of Air India, and she said that she had “no words to describe her happiness… We have been waiting for this day since 2020. I cannot wait to meet my grandkids. Today is a special day.”
With the travel of international passengers opening up after such a long time, it is very important that everyone follows restrictions very carefully to ensure the continued and safe travel of their loved ones. It is recommended that international travelers to the US read the guidelines given carefully on their website as they make preparations to visit and check what documents and requirements are mentioned to travel without facing hassles. Flyopedia hopes that there are no more lockdowns so that families can meet and travel safely after this pandemic ends, and book flights from India to the USA with ease.