International travelers rejoice at O'Hare after pandemic travel ban ends

There were some very special moments at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport on Monday.

For the first time in more than a year, international travelers were allowed back into the United States and it led to some incredible reunions.

It was a day of smiles at the international terminal at O’Hare. One couple was reunited for the first time in several months.

The boyfriend is studying in Michigan while the girlfriend flew in from Frankfort, Germany. She says it took her 6-7 hours on the phone to book her flight.

Thanks to the US government opening its borders, many families were reunited. The reopening ended a 20-month travel ban for Europeans wanting to come to the US.

Now, fully vaccinated passengers from 33 countries can come to the states. They don’t have to quarantine, but have to be vaccinated and have a negative COVID-19 test.

"It is really special and I'm really thankful for the US government to reopen the border because if they didn’t do this for us, we couldn’t have made it. It is a special day," the boyfriend said.


"I’m just so surprised. It was actually quite crazy the whole trip. The flight was fully booked. Everyone wanted to come back to the US. A lot of them had families over here. They couldn't see each other for 20 months or so," the girlfriend said.

Important to note, heading into the holidays this year, if you are flying, be prepared to sit shoulder to shoulder.

Meanwhile, there was joy for another family at O'Hare.

It has been two years since Lisa Lunel’s family has come to visit.

"It feels strange, but good…finally," said Lisa Lunel, who moved to Chicago right before the travel ban began.

To celebrate her grandson’s 3rd birthday, Veronique Doux arrived in Chicago Monday night.

"We are very happy and we hope time won’t pass too quickly for the month," said Doux, excited to be here for the next few weeks.