On Friday, news broke that the Netherlands would re-impose stringent entry restrictions on Americans. The country will only allow vaccinated Americans to go to with a recent negative COVID-19 test — alongside a compulsory 10-day quarantine (that are often shortened to 5 days subject to a strict testing regimen).
Of course, the strict testing and quarantine requirements close the country to American tourists. While the implications are far-reaching, airlines are already pivoting but 24 hours since the rule has been in situ.
The flag carrier of the Netherlands, KLM, quickly skilled the news with a strongly worded, three-paragraph handout. Most notably, the airline will cancel service from Amsterdam (AMS) to Orlando (MCO), Miami (MCO), and Las Vegas (LAS) — three routes that were on the docket to require off this winter season from Oct. 31, 2021, through March 26, 2022. In fact, Orlando was even getting to be a replacement pin for the airline’s route map, served during a triangle route alongside Miami.
Travelers with confirmed tickets on any of the affected flights can request a full refund once the cancellations are loaded into the airline schedules next week.
Other than KLM, the large 3 U.S. carriers serve Amsterdam with multiple daily transatlantic flights from various hubs within the U.S. It remains to be seen if American, Delta, or United will pull down service.
If history is any indication, odds are that they’re going to. Leisure traffic to Europe is particularly quiet within the winter, as schools return to session and temperatures calm down. Combined with a restrictive entry policy, demand for flights to Amsterdam will likely plummet, resulting in additional flight cancellations.
“The decision by the Dutch government may be a big step backward,” KLM’s handout reads. In late June, Netherlands reopened to Americans with little restriction: no vaccine, negative COVID-19 test or quarantine required upon arrival.
The move to crack down on American visitors follows the EU’s recommendation on Monday to get rid of the U.S. from the bloc’s “safe travels” list. Following the removal, each member nation must make its own decision about updating entry requirements.
So far, it appears that other EU countries will largely remain hospitable Americans — and KLM notes that the Netherlands’ decisions are some things of a canary within the airlines’ coalpit.
“Health and fighting COVID-19 are paramount but the measures taken must be effective and proportionate. it’s like other EU member states, like Italy, France and Belgium aren’t putting a triple lock on the door for travelers from the US,” the discharge says.
As the Netherlands closes up once more to Americans, other EU nations and flag carriers should take note: restrictive entry policies are a blow to the tourism industry.
While Netherlands is reimposing restrictions on Americans after the EU recommendation, it’s important to notice that there’s a component of reciprocity to the move. Since March 2020, EU citizens are largely barred from entering the U.S. — with no immediate signs of the rule changing, despite Europe’s high vaccination rates.