17. 11. 2008 - The first visa-free flight to the USA falls symbolically on 17th November
Prague 17. 11. 2008
The first Czechs flew to the USA without visas on the day of the 19th anniversary of the fall of the Iron Curtain. The first regular visa-free flights to the USA were Czech Airlines’ flight OK 050 to New York and Delta Air Lines’ flight O63 to Atlanta.
“The lifting of the visa requirement will make travelling to the USA simpler for Czech passengers. At present, we have direct flights from Prague Airport to New York and Atlanta. Moreover, Delta Air Lines have already announced further flights to New York from next year,” said the Executive Manager for Air Operations and Asset Management, Jiří Pos.
“Czech Airlines currently offer a total of 9 weekly flights to both of the aforementioned destinations, New York and Atlanta, with five of its own weekly flights to New York and four weekly flights to Atlanta in cooperation with Delta,” stated the Czech Airlines Communications Manager and Spokeswoman, Daniela Hupáková, who added: “In cooperation with Delta, Czech Airlines offers connections to 46 destinations in the USA during the winter flight season with transfers in New York or Atlanta.”
Once the visa requirement has been lifted for citizens of the Czech Republic, Czech Airlines passengers will be able to choose, for example, from the following destinations: Washington, Chicago, Detroit, Salt Lake City, Boston, Port Angeles, Nashville, Fort Lauderdale, Covington, St. Louis, Phoenix (with transfers in New York) or, for example, Los Angeles, Oklahoma City, San Jose, Austin, Miami, San Diego, Dania Beach, Savannah, Seattle, Tampa, Dallas, Portland and Sacramento (with transfers in Atlanta).
America’s largest airline, Delta, offers 23 flights within Europe in conjunction with Czech Airlines, and a further three destinations with joint codes are planned for the near future.
“Delta Air Lines welcomes the new rules for Czech passengers travelling to the United States. We expect the more favourable regulations to lead to more Czech passengers visiting the USA with Delta Air Lines. They can already use our existing direct flights to Atlanta and from next year there will also be new direct flights to New York (JFK). Delta offers its passengers easy connections to more than 150 destinations in the USA, Latin America and the Caribbean,” said Frederic Schenk, the Delta Air Lines Commercial Manager for the Czech Republic.
The visa-free programme will enable Czech citizens, who have travelled to the USA to date with B-1/B-2 visas for short tourism and commercial stays, to stay in the USA for up to 90 days without visas. Czechs who plan to travel to the USA to study or work, on exchange stays or for student holiday jobs, will still need a visa. Holders of a valid type B visa will be able to continue travelling with it.
“Today is a great day for the United States and the Czech Republic. The abolition of visas has been achieved thanks to the hard work and joint efforts of the representatives of both countries. Czech citizens have earned this privilege, because they have not overstayed their visas in recent years,” said the American ambassador to the Czech Republic, Richard Graber.
“I am pleased that I was able to travel using the new system. It saved me lots of time, money and stress. I am travelling to America for the first time to get to know a new continent and a new culture and especially to experience the atmosphere in New York,” was how the first passenger to use ESTA evaluated the new system.
The precondition for entry into the USA within the framework of ESTA (the Electronic System for Travel Authorization) is having a biometric passport, which has been issued by the Czech Republic from September 2006, and filling in the ESTA internet authorisation form. The form requires personal information, the applicant’s address in the United States and travel details, and whether the applicant has ever been refused entry into the country. The American authorities check the forms and reply within three days.
Connections to the USA in the winter flight schedule:
|New York||Czech Airlines||11.00||Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday|
|Atlanta||Delta Air Lines||11.10||Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday|
|The Prague Airport Authority||Czech Airlines||Delta Air Lines|
|Eva Krejčí||Daniela Hupáková||Olivia Cullis|
|Communications Manager and Spokeswoman||Communications Manager and Spokeswoman||PR Regional Director and spokeswoman|
|e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org||e-mail: email@example.com||e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org|
|mobile: +420 724 365 353||mobile: +420 220 113 116||mobile: 001 404 715 2554|
|telephone: +420 220 115 522||telephone: +420 724 183 139||telephone: 020 8867 6262|