'No words': With travel ban lifted, families reunites

Tears flowed, cameras flashed and airline officials applauded as loved ones were reunited Monday at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.

JILL CHAMBERS: “It’s been so emotional – it has been for millions of families all over the world. This is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Thank you so much, everybody.”

Siblings, parents, and children hugged and cried, and new grandmothers met babies for the very first time after the United States opened its borders to vaccinated international travelers, lifting restrictions that barred much of the world from coming to the U.S. for more than 20 months.

BHANVA PATEL: "Look at him. There's no words. How can you describe this feeling? Such a joy"

Bhavna Patel was on the first New York-bound British Airways flight leaving Heathrow once the ban ended, eager to meet her one-year old grandson Kai.

BHANVA PATEL: "There's no words. I don't have any words."

For nearly two years, the unprecedented restrictions have prevented families from gathering in person to celebrate weddings, grieve at funerals, or welcome new babies.

KUSHAL PATEL: “It’s so amazing to see them hugging and holding hands…”

Patel's son, Kushal, said the family will spend their 10-day visit making up for their time apart.

KUSHAL PATEL: "I know how much it means to me to be able to hold him, and having them not be able to do that. It's been really painful. I'm so glad it happened, I'm so glad it's real."

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