With actor Neil Patrick Harris as the master of ceremonies, dozens of vaccinated seniors were flown from southern Florida to the New York area for a special event to reunite with their families after more than a year apart due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The emotional reunions, part of an effort from United Airlines, Marriott Bonvoy, and Clear, joined the 34 Florida seniors with their children, grandchildren, siblings, and more from across the tri-state area, the companies shared with Travel + Leisure. One family even met their 8-month-old grandchild for the first time ever.
The lucky seniors were first flown from Fort Lauderdale to Newark Liberty International Airport on Wednesday on a private United charter before checking in to the Renaissance New York Chelsea hotel. The next day, they were brought to MetLife Stadium to finally reunite with their loved ones.
The group was then treated to lunch at socially distanced tables on the field as well as live performances by Broadway stars and fun photo booths.
"We've kept the world connected since day one of the pandemic so we're especially proud to play a role in reuniting these families in our home state of New Jersey," Toby Enqvist, the chief customer officer for United, said in a statement provide to T+L. "As more people become vaccinated and destinations reopen, we'll look for more opportunities to work alongside CLEAR to deliver the safest travel experience possible for our customers."
To make sure everyone was safe, all attendees uploaded negative COVID-19 test results to the CLEAR Health Pass, one of several digital health passports available that could eventually hold vaccine records.
"CLEAR's mission has always been to make people's lives safer, easier and better," Caryn Seidman-Becker, CLEAR's CEO, told T+L. "This celebration is the ultimate expression of that mission. With Health Pass and our partners, we were able to make a truly amazing moment happen for so many families, and we are thrilled to continue helping others reunite and get back to what they know and love."
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel+Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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