Summer Special Report
September 17-23, 2022
Read all about the summer chaos! Canada will end its vaccine requirement for arriving passengers on September 30, but the mask mandate for planes and trains remains. Japan and Taiwan will open to all travelers next month. Hong Kong ditches mandatory hotel quarantines next week, but many testing requirements will remain. United Airlines cancels dozens of flights due to an inspection issue with its Boeing 777-200 aircraft. New York City ends private-sector vaccine mandate and subway ridership is surging again. The British pound drops to its lowest level against the dollar since 1985. More transportation strikes planned for Britain and Italy next week. And more.
Summer Travel Update: Friday, Sept. 23, 2022
Average hotel occupancy in the United States is bouncing back--and night rates are booming. According to lodging statisticians STR, average nightly occupancy for the week ended September 17 was just 2.4 points below levels for a similar week in 2019. Nightly rates were a hefty 15.6% above 2019 levels, however. Here are today's other developments:
The TSA says it screened 2,351,488 travelers yesterday, which represents 93.7% of volume on a similar day in September, 2019. It's also a few thousand more flyers than last Thursday.
Hong Kong reopens ... cautiously
Hong Kong officials say that the city will end mandatory hotel quarantines on arrival. But all is not free. Passengers will be required to take a PCR test on arrival and be barred from restaurants and bars for the first three days in the city. Additional PCR tests will be required on days two, four and six while in Hong Kong. The change is effective on Monday, September 26. Agence France-Presse has details
The British pound fell as low as $1.0956 on currency markets today, the lowest level since 1985 when sterling plunged to its historic low of $1.05.
Good news: French air traffic controllers have called off their strikes scheduled for September 28-30. Bad news: British rail unions have tabbed October 8 as a strike date. That is in addition to already scheduled work stoppages on October 1 and October 5.
New York City businesses are slowly returning to the office and that has had a marked effect on usage of the New York Subway system. Ridership reached 3.76 million on Tuesday, the highest one-day total since the pandemic began. (There were 5.5 million average daily riders in the fall of 2019.) Subway stations at Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station have about 15% more riders than in May and Howard Beach, the closest stop to New York/Kennedy Airport, is up 25%. Bloomberg News has details
Summer Travel Update: Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022
Today is the first day of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. We can only hope it also marks the effective end of the summer travel crisis that started even before the Memorial Day weekend. Here are today's other developments:
The TSA says it screened 1,997,279 travelers yesterday, the second consecutive day below two million. It's about 30,000 higher than last Wednesday, however, and is 91.3% of volume on a similar day in September, 2019.
Commodore Perry to the white courtesy phone ...
Japan says it will fully open its borders on October 11 and allow free entry for visitors again. The country has been closed for more than two years and only recently began to allow guided group travelers to return. But now "Japan will relax border control measures to be on par with the U.S., as well as resume visa-free and individual travel," says Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. Agence France-Presse has details
Another passenger behaving badly
A passenger caught on video slugging a flight attendant in the back of the head during an American Airlines flight on Wednesday was arrested after the plane landed in Los Angeles. The Associated Press has details
Pain at the pump
The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the United States today is $3.684. That's about two cents below the average price a week ago, but it is the second consecutive day that prices have edged upward. Prices had fallen every day this summer since gasoline reached a record high of $5.016 on June 14.
Norse Atlantic Airways, the emotional successor to Norwegian Air Shuttle, which dumped its transatlantic flights during the pandemic, has released its first-half results. It's not a lot of results since the first flight--Oslo to New York/JFK--was on June 14, but the carrier claims an 82% load factor in June and says it operated 100% of its published schedule.
Summer Travel Update: Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022
Large numbers of Russian men rushed to book one-way flights out of the country on Wednesday after Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization of reservists for the flagging invasion of Ukraine. Flights to Belgrade and Istanbul, two destinations that do not require visas and still offer flights from Moscow, have sold out. There are reports Kremlin officials have told Russian carriers not to book military-age men without prior approval. Finland, which maintains the last open land crossing from Russia into Europe, says roads are packed. The Associated Press has some of the details
. Here are today's other developments:
The TSA says that it screened 1,892,635 travelers yesterday. That's about 85,000 more than last Tuesday. It is also 93% of the volume on a similar day in September, 2019.
New York relents
New York City, which has the nation's strictest vaccine mandate for private employers, finally ends the rule on November 1. However, the vaccine mandate for city employees will remain. WNBC, the NBC affiliate in New York, has details
Taiwan will fully reopen its borders by ending mandatory Covid quarantines for flight arrivals. Starting October 13, three-day quarantines will no longer be required. Agence France-Presse has details
Summer Travel Update: Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022
President Biden declared the Coronavirus pandemic "over" during a TV interview Sunday evening. The White House hastily walked back the comments yesterday, however. Politico.com has details
. Here are today's other developments:
Same old same old
The TSA says that it screened 2,250,243 travelers yesterday. That's about the same as last Monday. It's 92.5% of volume on a similar day in September, 2019, also the same as last week.
United Airlines has cancelled dozens of international flights today. The reason? United told the FAA it grounded 25 Boeing 777-200s after discovering it failed to perform required inspections on wing panels.
Stop blaming Canada
Officials in Canada will drop the Covid vaccination requirement for people who enter Canada. The restriction ends September 30, the same day random testing of arrivals will expire. Canada's mask mandate for airline and train travel remains, however. The Globe and Mail
Cabin crew and pilots from low-cost airlines Ryanair and Vueling are set to strike in Italy on October 1, Italian trade unions have announced. WantedinRome.com, an English-language site, has details
. Meanwhile, railway workers in Britain are expected to strike on October 1 and again on October 5. As much as 90% of the country's rail service is expected to be affected. BBC News has details
Trains into London's Paddington Station were halted yesterday as Britains were trying to get to ceremonies marking the end of ceremonies for the late Queen Elizabeth. Trains are still down today (local time) due to wiring problems. The Independent
Summer Travel Update: Monday, Sept. 19, 2022
From the best-laid plans department: New York City earmarked $200 million to buy up closed hotels and convert them to desperately needed housing. But a year after the program was announced, not a single new apartment has been created in a hotel building. Politico.com has details
. Here are today's other developments:
Where we stand
The TSA says that 6,610,222 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints this weekend (Friday-Sunday). That's slightly higher than the previous weekend and 94% of the volume on a similar weekend in 2019.
A shortage of TSA agents--and an upsurge of passenger traffic--caused a massive backup at security checkpoints over the weekend at Sea-Tac Airport. There were hours-long waits and lines backing up into parking structures. The Washington Post
Plugging the dike--again
With Amsterdam's Schiphol airport melting down again, airport authorities have slashed the number of locally originating passenger departures by another 18%. That means about 10,000 fewer AMS-originating passengers per day will be permitted to fly from AMS. The restrictions will continue at least through October.
Summer Travel Update: Weekend, Sept. 17-18, 2022
This isn't what most of us have in mind when we take a holiday. Many Airbnb rentals come with an insane list of "chores" you must complete despite the post-departure cleaning fee you pay. The Wall Street Journal
has the details
. Here are this weekend's other developments.
Greece is winning
Passenger traffic at 14 regional airports in Greece was up 9.4% in August compared to August, 2019. According to a statement by Tourism Minister Kikilias, there was a 5% increase in commercial flights compared to August, 2019.
Traffic at Washington/National airport has surpassed 2019 volume each month since April, according to the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority. The traffic has grown anywhere from 1% (May) to 7% (July). Moreover, four carriers--American, JetBlue, Frontier and Alaska Airlines--are flying more seats at DCA in calendar year 2022 than during 2019.
Well, okay ...
A Los Angeles County criminal probe that involves Phil Washington, the Biden Administration nominee to head the FAA, has aviation officials fearing a prolonged vacuum at the top of the agency. Politico.com has details
Summer Travel Daily Special Reports
A post-pandemic increase in travelers, mindless overscheduling by European and American carriers and a dire shortage of workers--pilots, gate agents, flight attendants, baggage handlers, even air traffic controllers--has turned the summer travel season into madness. If it can go wrong, it has. With the notable exception of Asia, where traffic still lags far behind pre-pandemic levels, it's been a summer from hell. Click here
for the updates.
2022 Daily Coronavirus Updates
Covid is still with us, but Americans seem to have checked out. The death toll surpassed one million by May and the vaccine rate remained low, yet leisure travelers began to flock back to the road in numbers much like 2019. You can see everything we posted in bullet-point form, grouped into weekly segments, by clicking 2022's archives
2021 Daily Coronavirus Updates
The year began with hope and vaccines. It ended with Omicron, new lockdowns and restrictions that foiled plans for a return to the "normal" of travel. You can see everything we posted in bullet-point form, grouped into weekly segments, by clicking 2021's archives
2020 Daily Coronavirus Updates
We began day-by-day tracking of the Coronavirus' effect on travel in late January last year. You can see everything we posted in bullet-point form, grouped into weekly segments, by clicking 2020's archives