Internet Travel With Context
March 15-March 21, 2020
Read all about it! The world is closing--and we're watching in personal and transportation isolation. Countries are closing borders, airlines are all but shut and hotels are putting the keys in the door. Here's how we're covering it. New items are at the top; read up from the bottom for full context.

Coronavirus Update for March 21, 2020

Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia are now closed for the duration. How's that for a comment on our liberty in the time of Coronavirus? Here are today's developments:
        Gulf carriers are finally bowing to the Coronavirus reality after weeks of trying to maintain full flight schedules. Emirates is grounding most of its 115 Airbus A380s and planning "deeper cuts" soon. Qatar Airways is reducing flights by 75 percent. Etihad has now cut most of its longest-haul routes.
        United Airlines is making more cuts to its schedule. It ends all Canada flying on April 1 and gradually eliminates transatlantic and transpacific flights during the month. Save for a few Mexico routes, all international service will end.
        Southwest Airlines cuts 1,000 flights, about a quarter of its schedule, tomorrow. The cuts end all of the carrier's international service.
        Argentina has locked down with a mandatory quarantine.
        Kazakhstan has locked down Almaty and Nur-Sultan (fka Astana), the country's two largest cities. The country's carriers, Air Astana and FlyArystan, have halted virtually all flights.

Coronavirus Update for March 20, 2020

California, New York, New Jersey and Illinois, more than 20 percent of the nation's population, are now under a stay-at-home orders. Here are today's developments:
        United States and Mexico are closing the border. The northern border with Canada has also closed.
        Britain is closing all restaurants, bars, pubs, gyms, nightclubs, live theaters and movie theaters.
        Saudi Arabia is shutting down all public transportation--domestic flights, trains, buses and even taxis--for 14 days.
        At least three dozen states now have imposed some kind of dining restrictions, according to Restaurant Business magazine.
        Hotels in Spain have been closed for at least seven days.
        South African Airways has cancelled all flights until May 31. The sole exception: Johannesburg-Cape Town flights.
        Cathay Pacific has cancelled all U.S. and Canada service except for three weekly flights to Los Angeles and three weekly to Vancouver.
        American Airlines is closing most of its Flagship Lounges as well as additional Admirals Club locations. United Airlines is closing additional United Club locations.
        Israel says its new stay-at-home order is now mandatory and violators of the rules will be fined.
        Texas has ordered schools, bars, gyms and other businesses to close. Restaurant dining rooms must close but take-out and delivery are permitted.
        Atlanta has banned dine-in restaurants. Take-out and delivery are still permitted. Bars, nightclubs, gyms and other non-essential businsses must close.
        Hong Kong and Singapore now require 14-day self-quarantine when entering the country.

Coronavirus Update for March 19, 2020

Now that we have a "wartime president" who slings ethnic slurs while running things, I am sure we'll be just fine. Here are today's developments:
        Australia and New Zealand will be reminded again that they are literally islands. Both nations are closing their borders. Qantas and Virgin Australia are ending all remaining international flights. Air Canada is ending its service to those countries. The U.S. carriers already bailed.
        Airport clubs continue to shutter. Air Canada closed its two Signature Suites; the Vancouver location just opened this month. The Oneworld Alliance lounge at LAX is closing. The Club lounge in Cincinnati has closed.
        London's Underground is shrinking. Forty of its 270 stations are closing and all-night service (a relatively recent innovation) has ended. The shortest line, the two-stop Waterloo & City, will close.
        Chinese airlines are resuming flights to the United States. Chis McGinnis has details of the first three carriers returning to San Francisco. Meanwhile, Paul Mozer, Shanghai-based reporter for The New York Times, reports some Chinese hotels are refusing reservations from international customers.

Coronavirus Update for March 18, 2020

Oil prices dipped below $25 a barrel, the lowest price since 2002. In other words, when we ever fly again, airlines won't be able to complain about oil prices. Here are today's developments:
        Delta is closing most SkyClubs. At the moment, it expects international capacity to be down by 80 percent "over the next two to three months." Systemwide capacity is now expected to be down 70 percent "until demand starts to recover."
        The U.S.-Canada border will close to non-essential travel.
        Porter Airlines of Canada shuts down Friday and doesn't expect to resume service until June 1.
        JetBlue Airways plans to cut capacity by 40 percent in April and May.
        United Airlines is cutting more capacity than the previously announced 50 percent reduction. It will operate just 45 international flights in April. Domestic capacity will fall by 42 percent, bringing global service cuts to 60 percent systemwide.
        Singapore Airlines says it will operate only about 50 percent of its original schedule until the beginning of April.
        More airport club closures. American Express is closing all Centurion Lounges worldwide on Saturday. American Airlines is closing about a dozen Admirals Clubs and restricting food and beverage service at the remaining locations.
        European Union is shutting its borders for 30 days. The exceptions: Britain, Ireland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
        Belgium is in lockdown, joining Italy, Spain and France.
        Glastonbury, the huge British arts festival, has been cancelled. The Eurovision song contest is also cancelled.
        School closures expand. Kansas is closing all schools for the rest of the school year. Schools in Scotland and Wales will also close.

Coronavirus Update for March 17, 2020

If it's St. Patrick's Day and there are no parades down Main Street, is it really St. Patrick's Day? Here are today's developments:
        The air traffic control tower at Chicago's Midway airport closed after several controllers tested positive for Coronavirus.
        Airport club lounges are closing. United Airlines has closed its Polaris business class lounges and many locations of the United Club. The Club has closed lounges at Baltimore/Washington, Buffalo, Pittsburgh and New Orleans. One of the two The Club locations in both Boston and San Jose have also closed.
        TSA screenings are plunging, of course. The agency screened 2.35 million passengers on March 1, up 2 percent from the same day in 2019. On March 12, it screened 1.52 million passesngers.
        Marriott says it has begun closing many of its company-managed hotels and started laying off thousands of workers.
        Movie theaters are closing around the country. AMC, the nation's largest chain, is closing its theaters for six to 12 weeks. Other chains--Regal, Landmark and Alamo Drafthouse--already announced similar closures.
        Brussels Airlines is grounding all flights from March 21 until April 19. Another subsidiary in the Lufthansa Group, Austrian Airlines, was already grounded.
        Southwest Airlines says its load factor for the month through March 15 was 67 percent "with recent days trending toward 50 percent."
        Alitalia, which was burning through taxpayer bailout funds even before the Coronavirus, is being nationalized by the Italian government. Technically, it would be the first time this particular iteration of Alitalia is nationalized.
        The Kentucky Derby has been delayed until September 5. As tradition dictates, it had been scheduled for the first Saturday in May.
        Europe airports are reporting plunging traffic, of course. Traffic is down 83 percent in Warsaw, 65 percent in Prague, 52 percent in Zurich and 45 percent in Frankfurt.
        Nordstrom is closing all its stores.

Coronavirus Update for March 16, 2020

Sit down, there's bad news. But don't sit down at a restaurant. That's right off. The Dow Jones fell by just shy of 3,000 points, the largest single-day points drop in history. Here are today's other developments:
        San Francisco has issued a shelter-in-place order starting tonight at midnight. Mayor London Breed says the order "require[s] people to stay home except for essential needs. Necessary government functions [and] essential stores will remain open." The order is expected to remain in place until at least April 7.
        Southwest Airlines is cutting capacity by 20 percent from April 14 to June 5.
        Canada has closed the country to foreigners with the exception of U.S. citizens. And only four airports in the country are designated for international flight arrivals.
        McDonald's is turning all company-owned stores in the United States into take-out operations. It urged its U.S. franchises do the same.
        France has joined Spain and Italy in virtual lockdown. Germany is closing most of its land borders with other countries.
        States are rapidly closing down public places such as bars, restaurants, movie theaters and the like. Fox News has compiled a list.
        LOT Polish has grounded all flights. LATAM. the largest carrier in South America, is cancelling 90 percent of its international flights and about 70 percent of all its service.
        Air Canada says it will cut second quarter capacity by 50 percent, including a 75 percent cut in transpacific service.
        Alaska Airlines is cutting capacity by 10 percent in April and 15 percent in May.
        Spain is closing its land borders with Portugal and France.
        Three states--New York, New Jersey and Connecticut--have coordinated their response. All bars, theaters and gyms must close. Restaurants can do take-out and delivery only.
        IAG, parent company of British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling, is cutting capacity by 75 percent in April and May.
        Austrian Airlines, a division of Lufthansa Group, is closing down for the duration. Separately, Virgin Atlantic and Ryanair have grounded 80-85 percent of their flights. And Norwegian ended all of its transatlantic service and the vast majority of its shorter-haul service.
        Egypt is closing its airports until March 31. Malaysia says it is barring citizens from leaving the country and visitors from entering the country.
        Europe air traffic control says it handled 23.8 percent fewer flights yesterday compared to the same Sunday last year. Largest declines: LOT Polish (83%), Alitalia (78%), Lufthansa (47%) and Austrian (49%).
        MGM is closing all of its Las Vegas resorts starting tomorrow. That includes about a dozen properties including Bellagio and Mandalay Bay.
        New York and Los Angeles have ordered all bars and restaurants to close although restaurants are permitted to offer take-away and delivery service.
        Chick-fil-A is closing its dining rooms nationwide. Only take-out and drive-thru service will be available.
        Aruba has closed the country to foreign visitors. The island is off-limits between March 17 and March 31.
        United Airlines is slashing its schedule by 50 percent in April and May. The airline says it carried one million fewer passengers during the first two weeks of March than the similar period in 2019.

Coronavirus Update for March 15, 2020

Flyers are more interested in refunds than booking tickets. That means gargantuan cuts in airline route networks are on the way. Here are today's developments:
        Illinois and Ohio have ordered all bars and restaurants in each state to close. Starbucks is converting all U.S. and Canadian shops into "to go" operations and seating is temporarily banned. Ireland is closing all pubs nationwide.
        New York City is closing all its schools. The city has the largest school system in the nation.
        American Airlines says it will slash international service by 75 percent between March 16 and May 6. That includes all flights to Asia (except three weekly Dallas-Tokyo flights); virtually all flights to Australia, New Zealand and South America; and all flights to Europe (except daily London/Heathrow flights from both Miami and Dallas/Fort Worth). Domestic capacity will be cut by 20 percent in April and 30 percent in May.
        Delta Air Lines is trimming its Europe schedule in coming days to: flights from its Atlanta hub to Amsterdam and Paris, hubs of its Air France/KLM partners; an Atlanta-London/Heathrow run; and a daily flight between its Detroit hub and KLM's Amsterdam hub. It is also dropping flights to Ecuador, Guatemala and St. Maarten.
        The TSA says a screener at Orlando (MCO) has tested positive for Coronavirus.
        SAS is shutting down virtually all of its flights in coming weeks.
        Chicago/O'Hare and Dallas/Fort Worth, two of the 13 U.S. airports designated to receive flights from Europe during the travel ban, were swamped on Saturday evening. Lines as long as six hours at Customs were reported and social media was awash with photos of long, snaking lines of passengers cheek-by-jowl in tight quarters. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker attacked President Trump and Vice President Pence on Twitter for the Customs issues. Here are details from The New York Times.
        Colorado has ordered all ski resorts in the state to close.
        The TSA says travelers can bring hand sanitizer in containers as large as 12 ounces in carry-on bags. It warns that additional screening will be involved, however.
        Air Baltic, a key player in Eastern Europe, is shutting all flight operations between March 17 and April 14.

Coronavirus Update for March 8-14, 2020

Read all about it! Italy, Spain, France and Israel shut down. Other countries close their borders as the United States preps for what's to come. The Trump Administration botches the roll out of a ban on "all travel from Europe." U.S. carriers begin cutting service to the bone. Here's how it's happening. Click here for the day-to-day details.

Coronavirus Update for March 1-7, 2020

Read all about it! Italy emerges as the new Coronavirus hotspot so airlines begin making huge service cuts there. Meanwhile, Chinese airlines resume some flying. The chief rabbi of Israel says don't kiss the mezuzah. The travel industry starts tallying the financial damage. Here's how it's happening. Click here for the day-to-day details.

Coronavirus Update for February 15-29, 2020

Read all about it! The Coronavirus spreads around the globe. Japan, South Korea and Italy are hit hard and airlines quickly drop their flights. Tourism disappears and companies begin telling employees to curtail business travel. The Tokyo Summer Olympics may be threatened. Airlines begin rolling out gimmicky fee waivers to nervous flyers. Click here for the day-to-day details.

Coronavirus Update for February 1-14, 2020

Read all about it! The spread of the Coronavirus is still mostly affecting mainland China, but Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan are losing flights and visitors, too. As Chinese tourists stay home, however, the travel industry learns how much they mean to airline traffic, cruise ships and hotels. Click here for day-to-day details.

Coronavirus Update for January 23-31, 2020

Read all about it! As the Coronavirus worsens, airlines have reacted by slashing service to Hong Kong and mainland China. Retailers and food-service giants such as McDonald's are closing locations, too. And neighboring countries are closing their borders. Click here for the day-to-day details.