Wearing a Captain America t-shirt and having received both doses of a Covid vaccine, UK-based software engineer Ridhi looked cheerful as she took selfies with her siblings and friends at the Delhi airport before boarding a flight to London on Monday.
She was among the many passengers who took flights to London in the early hours.
"My flight is at 3:30 am. The US is lifting restrictions for fully vaccinated passengers from today. I feel this is a good thing. Many travellers are taking flights to America as we speak," 25-year-old Ridhi told PTI before boarding her flight.
"With vaccination underway, the situation will hopefully become much better, both for travel and in general," she added.
From October 11, Indian travellers who received both doses of Covishield or another UK-approved vaccine at least 14 days before arrival in the UK can travel without having to quarantine; and are not be required to take a pre-departure test nor a day-eight test following arrival, authorities had said last month.
London-based Barinder Gill was at T3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport with his wife, two little children, and another family member, to catch a flight to the UK. "I am travelling to London from India after a long, long time," he said.
Several passengers at the airport were headed to Canada as well.
From Toronto-based Manpreet Kaur travelling back to her workplace to elderly Gurdev Singh taking his first international flight since the outbreak of the pandemic, people at the airport were visibly happy.
Ms Kaur, who works in the food sector, bid goodbye to her husband Jaskaran Singh, who lives in Faridkot. She said vaccination had surely boosted confidence among people to take international flights.
"I got Pfizer doses in June and August in Canada only. The coronavirus situation is much better there right now," she said.
Arathy Ajit, a college student in Scarborough, Toronto, flew to Canada on an Air India flight, along with her friend Sreekesh TU. Both are from Kochi in Kerala.
"Both of us are fully vaccinated. That gives a comfortable feeling for international travel. The US resumed flight services for international travellers today. Things seem to be getting back to normal slowly. I feel, the situation in Canada is much better right now as far as adherence to Covid norms are concerned," she told PTI.
The coronavirus pandemic had prompted the US to close its borders to travellers from many countries, including India, last year. Later, only passengers holding visas belonging to certain categories were permitted to travel.
Starting November 8, the US has lifted all restrictions for fully vaccinated international travellers, including from India, but they will have to show proof of a negative coronavirus test before boarding a flight to the country.
Other destinations where Indian passengers were headed past midnight, included Amsterdam, Chile, Dubai, Moscow and Bhutan.
Just a day after Bhaidooj, Rashmi Yadav along with her parents bid a teary goodbye to her brother headed for Moscow.
"My brother is going to Moscow for his MBBS third-year course. He will return only after finishing his education. Pandemic already made separation so painful," an emotionally overwhelmed Rashmi said, as her parents consoled her.
Ramesh Chandra, the head of the department of chemistry at the Delhi University, also took the flight to Moscow early in the morning.
"I have been going to the US on special visas in flights operating under air bubble agreement. After a week's stay in Moscow, I will fly to the US. Good that travel restrictions are being slowly lifted for fully vaccinated people," he said.
Sagar Sharma, who hails from Jaipur, bid an emotional goodbye to his wife as he flew to Chile on a 3 am Qatar Airways flight.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in many ways, including how people travel today. However, some crew members of Russian carrier Aeroflot taking pictures with decorative lamps put up near the airport entrance on the occasion of Diwali game some semblance of normalcy slowing returning in air travelling.