Many transatlantic air links from the UK are being restored. Fort Lauderdale gets reconnected from London Gatwick on 26 May, when Norse Atlantic starts flights; Cincinnati will be reconnected with London Heathrow by British Airways from 5 June 2023.
Yet some key American locations remain unserved from the UK. These are the locations on our wishlists.
Walking in Memphis is an excellent way to learn more about the civil rights struggle of the 20th century. On 4 April 1968, Dr Martin Luther King Jr was speaking from the balcony of the city’s Lorraine Motel when he was shot and killed.
The motel has been transformed into the National Civil Rights Museumchronicling the harrowing history of slavery and segregation.
Memphis is also the birthplace of the Blues, making it a natural destination for Virgin Atlantic, given the airline’s rock’n’roll credentials. The home where Elvis lived and died, Graceland, is a combination of kitsch and sadness: the tropical-themed “Jungle Room” and the Meditation Garden where the Presley family are laid to rest.
The city’s location on the Mississippi makes it a good place to begin or end a trip following the mightiest American river.
San Antonio, TX
With around 1.5 million inhabitants, San Antonio is easily the largest US city without a direct transatlantic connection. At its heart is a Spanish mission, the Alamo, that was the location of a battle in 1836 in which a band of 189 “Texas Volunteers” were besieged. Today the site is designated as a National Park – a patch of history plumb in the middle of a busy American metropolis.
You can start to explore the formidable food scene along the River Walk beside the San Antonio River. The city is the home of Tex-Mex cuisine – in large part thanks to the “Chili Queens”, who first created chili con carne as street food in San Antonio in the 19th century.
The existing gateways to the Sunshine State – Miami, Tampa, Orlando and Melbourne – are all located in the south or center of the Florida peninsula. Jacksonville, population 850,000, is set in the north-east corner of the state astride the broad St John’s River – Florida’s longest.
It is mainly a business city, which will appeal to airlines; from a traveller’s perspective, it provides access to the nation’s first European settlement, St Augustine, as well as a string of beaches. And it is the starting point for I-10, the freeway along the Florida Panhandle that serves the capital, Tallahassee, and reaches all the way to Southern California.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
A link to New Mexico’s largest city would usefully fill a gap in the southwestern US between Phoenix and Dallas. It would also provide access to a state that has much to offer in terms of history and culture, both Native American and Hispanic.
Santa Fe, just to the north-east, is a center for counter-culture. Roswell, to the south-east, is home to the International UFO Museum & Research Center – exploring theories about the so-called “1947 Roswell Incident”. Did a US military balloon fall to earth, or was it something alien?
Meanwhile, some breaking Bad fans will want to explore the locations in and around Albuquerque for the long-running saga.
The main hub for the islands of the 50th State currently requires at least one change of plane in the US or Canada and demands a journey of 17 hours or more. The long legs of modern aircraft mean that the 7,230-mile non-stop distance from London Heathrow to Honolulu would be quite manageable – indeed, it is slightly shorter than BA’s current Santiago link.
With rules on Polar flights relaxeda direct flight would allow British travelers easy access to surfing beaches such as Waikiki, close to Honolulu on the island of Oahu, with easy links to Maui – where season one of The White Lotus was filmed.