Pandemic travel news: Europe braces and the US gears up

Pandemic travel news: Europe braces and the US gears up
Editor’s Note — CNN has launched Unlocking the World, a weekly newsletter to guide you through the latest travel developments and more. Sign up here.

(CNN) — Omicron is sweeping through Europe. The United States is preparing for full-throttle winter holiday travel. And Australia and the Caribbean island-nation of St. Kitts and Nevis are relaxing visitor restrictions.

Here are the newest developments in travel this week.

Omicron’s spreading as the holidays near

This is definitely NOT what we asked for from Santa.

In the United States, holiday travelers are headed to New York City and destinations all over the country.

In the United States, holiday travelers are headed to New York City and destinations all over the country.

Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images

Most countries that introduced travel bans against southern African countries after the variant was first discovered in the region have kept them in place, with the UK a notable exception: It abandoned its briefly reinstated “red list” on December 15.
And Ghana has introduced some of the toughest measures in Africa, mandating that all arrivals are vaccinated and fining airlines that break the rules.

Countries where risk levels are rising

All have moved to “Level 4: Covid-19 Very High,” which applies to destinations where more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents are registered in the past 28 days. More than 80 destinations are now at Level 4.

In Southeast Asia, Malaysia has dropped from Level 4 to Level 3, while Jamaica, the Philippines and the Republic of Congo have moved down from Level 3 to Level 2.

The places that are opening up

The Caribbean island-nation of St. Kitts and Nevis has relaxed restrictions for international air travelers ahead of the holiday season, with fully vaccinated visitors no longer needing to test or quarantine on arrival. And the island’s tourism authorities expect the week beginning December 12 to be its busiest for cruise travel since 2020.

The last ever superjumbo has been delivered

Nearly three years after Airbus announced it was being discontinued, the last ever Airbus A380 — the world’s largest passenger airliner — was delivered to its customer airline Emirates on Thursday in London.
The day before delivery, pilots took the craft on its final test flight over northeast Germany and left a love message in the sky, following a route map in the shape of a heart.
There should still be plenty of opportunities to fly on an A380 in the years to come, though. There are 76 superjumbos in service, 165 in storage, and only eight have been retired so far, reports aviation analytics firm Cirium.

A tourism powerhouse has logged just 45 international visitors in 2021

Almost all of that small handful of tourists reached the island by private yacht, as the island’s Ngurah Rai International Airport has been closed to international flights nearly all year. While the airport officially reopened to international flights in October, so far it’s handled only domestic flights, primarily from Jakarta.

To come to Bali, foreign visitors have to get a $300 business visa, take multiple PCR tests and buy special health insurance.

Copenhagen’s having a moment

Teen aviator lands historic flight

A 19-year-old woman will embark on a solo flight around the globe with a mission to close the gender gap in aviation and potentially be the first person to circumnavigate the world in a microlight aircraft. CNN’s Kim Brunhuber reports.
Zara Rutherford, 19, landed in Seoul this month from Russia, as part of her attempt to become the youngest woman to fly solo around the world.

In case you missed it

Why we’re actually in love with airplane food.

Sweden’s Ice Hotel has a brand new Royal Suite.

These are some of the most unusual new airplane seat designs.

One year after opening, Berlin’s cursed airport is still in crisis.

This skyscraper superyacht has two infinity pools.