Raleigh family arrives at RDU, describes traveling from South Africa amid COVID-19 omicron restrictions

Wake County News

RALEIGH N.C. (WNCN) – International travel restrictions are making it hard for some families to come back to the U.S.

Despite cancellation after cancellation, a Raleigh family finally made it home after being delayed for days in South Africa.

Lauren Kennedy Brady and her family took a dream vacation to South Africa, but leaving was another story.

“We just couldn’t get any flights,” daughter Riley Campbell said. “All the flights were canceled. Or if they weren’t canceled, we weren’t allowed on because we didn’t have European passports.”

U.S. travel restrictions from South Africa and seven surrounding countries allow Americans to come back. However, they had more than a dozen connections fall through as European countries quickly closed off to try and stop the spread of the new omicron variant of COVID-19.

“It’s just that the world responded really fast to this new variant, rightfully so,” Brady said.

After days of searching, they were able to get two nonstop flights out of Johannesburg to the United States.

“I’m just hoping for the best for everybody who’s trying to get home,” Brady said.

Brady said other American travelers are in the same position.

“Definitely not the only ones and a lot of people have reached out,” Brady said. “It’s really interesting, people telling me about some of their issues as well.”

The family needed negative COVID-19 tests to come back to the U.S. While they are fully vaccinated and not required to quarantine, Brady still said they’ll stay at home for the next few days before taking another COVID-19 test.

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