American, Southwest airlines to see more international travel after CDC eases some restrictions

The CDC's updated travel guidance eases up restrictions on dozens of countries.

Travelers from the U.S. are still encouraged to be fully vaccinated when traveling abroad. 

Airlines have been relying largely on domestic leisure travel for revenue.

This new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control means a return to international flights.

Experts said business travel, which has been decimated by the pandemic, could soon follow.

The world is slowly opening back up.

The CDC updated its travel guidance, which will allow Americans to travel to more countries.

"That all of a sudden makes for a late summer trip to Europe for a lot of folks," said Gabe Saglie, senior editor at TravelZoo.

Saglie said the decision by the CDC to drop the COVID-19 threat level for 61 countries, including popular international destinations like Mexico, Italy, and France, from "very high" to "high" risk is significant.

"This act by the CDC clearly allows airlines, like American, look at international routes more aggressively," he added.

It also opens up business travel too.

RELATED: CDC eases some international travel recommendations for vaccinated Americans

North Texas-based carriers American and Southwest airlines have relied, almost exclusively, on leisure travel to stay airborne during the pandemic.

Earlier this week, Southwest announced it is ordering 34 new Boeing 737 Max jets to be ready for 2022.

"The idea of scheduling things, like major group meetings, and starting to see people for business travel on a more relaxed basis," Saglie explained.

"We were looking at 20 passengers six months ago, now we're looking at full flights," said Paul Hartshorn Jr., with the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents American Airlines flight attendants.

He said the APFA is thrilled by the new CDC guidance, and that some domestic flight loads are outpacing 2019 numbers.

Hartshorn wants to remind eager travels looking to traveling abroad that face coverings are still mandated on all flights.

"It's difficult for the flight attendants to enforce. It's difficult for the passengers to sit there for three, four, five hours with those masks on," he said. "We just need to get through it and work with each other."

It's important to note that American tourists traveling to many European countries, like France, will have to show proof of being fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

And for those traveling to countries like Mexico, the U.S. requires a negative COVID-19 test before they're allowed to board the flight back home.