Internet Travel With Context
April 19-April 25, 2020
Read all about it! The nationwide Coronavirus death toll surges past the 35,000 40,000 45,000 50,000 52,000 mark, but progress is made in Italy, Spain, Austria and France. Governors start opening their states. Airlines begin to declare bankruptcy and the first tranche of first-quarter financial results are brutal. Here's how we're covering it. The latest items are at the top. Read up from the bottom for context.

Coronavirus Update for April 25, 2020

Some states and a few countries are beginning to reopen or loosen restrictions. Which, of course, is a political, medical and financial calculation. Yet no politician will honestly say that people are going to die if places open ... and people could die if they stay closed. Rhetoric is cheap. The truth is rare--and expensive. Here are today's developments:
        It's a travel boom redux! The TSA says it screened about 123,000 flyers yesterday at U.S. airports. That is the largest number since April 3.
        Air France/KLM, which operates the eponymous airlines, secured a 7 billion euro lifeline from the French government. The Dutch government is expected to kick in funds next week.
        No jokes, please More than a million frozen airline meals are being redirected to needy people in Northern England. The BBC has the details.
        Indonesia has barred domestic passenger air travel until June 1. The restriction largely overlaps Ramadan in the most populous Muslim nation. It also basically ends travel in the archipelago nation.
        Belgium will slowly loosen its nationwide lockdown beginning May 4. The phased program expects all shops to reopen by May 11 and restaurants in June. Bars, however, have "a more distant timeline," the government said.
        India is allowing small convenience shops--the lifeline for most residents, especially in poorer areas--to reopen.
        Sydney has closed its beaches again after Aussies crowded the shores and weren't observing social-distancing restrictions.

Coronavirus Update for April 24, 2020

Reckitt Benckiser, the makers of Lysol, this morning issued a statement urging people not to ingest its product. Because President Trump yesterday seemed to ... oh, forget it, you wouldn't believe it. Here are today's developments:
        It's a travel boom! The TSA says it screened about 111,000 flyers yesterday at U.S. airports. That is the largest number since April 5.
        United Airlines says it will block empty middle seats on planes, board passengers in smaller groups and take other measures to increase social distancing. Separately, United's flight attendants will wear face coverings in-flight.
        Westchester Airport closes. Westchester Airport (HPN) closes on Monday to begin planned repairs. The repair schedule is being accelerated since there are so few flights into the airport in the New York suburbs.
        Accor, the Paris-based lodging giant, says nearly 62 percent of its 5,085 hotels worldwide are closed.
        Empty skies. Eurocontrol says there were 4,500 flights in Europe's skies yesterday. That's down 86 percent year-on-year.
        Hotel Hijinks An overlapping series of lodging firms that control dozens of hotels, including luxury properties, emerged as the big winner in the first tranche of the PPP "small business" loan plan. The firms collected a total of more than $53 million. The New York Times unravels the details.
        Delta Air Lines says it has been burning through $100 million a day since the pandemic began. It expects to reduce that burn to $50 million a day by June.
        State-by-state shuffle North Carolina has extended stay-at-home restrictions until May 8. New Mexico pushed its order until May 15. Illinois has extended its order until the end of May. Minnesota begins loosening some of its restrictions on Monday.

Coronavirus Update for April 23, 2020

Brits were slow off the mark battling Coronavirus. The upshot? The English government said yesterday it expects social distancing measures might have to remain in place for another year. Here are today's developments:
        The floor The TSA reports about 98,000 travelers were screened yesterday at U.S. airports. So it does look like we've reached the floor for flying at around 100,000 per day on average. Until it turns out this is just another ledge from which we'll fall.
        InterContinental Hotels says it will extend IHG Rewards Club elite status for a year.
        Hong Kong has averaged fewer than 100 visitors a day in April. The city is basically closed to visitors, of course, but April is traditionally a busy season, fueled partially by The Sevens, a 28-nation rugby tournament. The 2020 version has been delayed until the fall.
        Nationwide hotel occupancy was 23.4 percent for the week ended April 18.
        Air Mauritius has filed for voluntary administration. The Indian Ocean nation has been closed to visitors and it is doubtful the carrier will resume service in the future.

Coronavirus Update for April 22, 2020

Less isn't more. Less--flights, passengers, festivals, events--is just less. Here are today's developments:
        Air Canada drops all transborder flights to and from the United States effective Sunday (April 26). The airline says the suspension will last until May 22. The move is a response to the decision by the United States, Canada and Mexico to "ban" all non-essential traffic between the countries for another 30 days.
        Delta Air Lines says it lost $607 million in the first quarter. "The second quarter will be worse," admits chief executive Ed Bastian, and he expects revenue to be down 90 percent.
        Bumping along The TSA says nearly 93,000 flyers were screened at U.S. airports on Tuesday, generally among the slowest travel days of the week.
        Emirates says it will keep middle seats empty in coach as it resumes flying after a government-ordered shutdown.
        Look away, Dixieland Six Southern states--Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and South Carolina--will coordinate the reopening of their states, says Florida governor Ron DeSantis. Separately, Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick says his statement--that there are more important things than living--has been vindicated. tries to explain the inexplicable.
        Berlin is handling fewer than 1,000 flyers a day combined at its two airports, Schönefeld and Tegel.
        Scotland airports have suffered flight declines of as much as 97 percent. Scotland's largest airports, Edinburgh and Glasgow, have around 40 weekly flights combined. The Scotsman newspaper has the details.
        No bulls running. Spain will not allow the annual running of the bulls to celebrate the feast of San Fermin in any town. The festivals are usually held in July.

Coronavirus Update for April 21, 2020

Here comes the financial fallout for the airlines, which once claimed they'd never lose money again. Here are today's other developments:
        Confounding Just under 100,000 flyers were screened yesterday by the TSA at U.S. airports. I'm still trying to discern a pattern. A sub-100K number on a "busy" day such as Monday may auger further upcoming declines in travel volume. Stay tuned.
        Global meltdown IATA, the global airline industry trade group, says worldwide domestic flights have fallen 70 percent since early January. Domestic markets outside the United States and Asia are the most severely affected.
        Oktoberfest has been cancelled, according to the mayor of Munich. The world's largest beer celebration, Munich's event is usually held in late September.
        United Airlines says it rang up an estimated $2.1 billion loss in the first quarter of the year.
        Georgia is allowing some business to reopen by the end of the week. That includes gyms, bowling alleys, hair salons and even tattoo parlors. Next week restaurants will be permitted to reopen.
        Vermont says some small businesses may begin to reopen starting next week. Farmers markets can reopen May 1 although specific guidelines have not yet been formulated.
        Delta Air Lines is operating 165 daily flights from its hub and hometown Atlanta/Hartsfield. Under normal circumstances, it would be running about 1,000 flights a day.
        Virgin Australia entered the Australian version of Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It was saddled with A$5 billion of debts even before the pandemic began. It says it will continue flying.
        Norwegian, the once fast-growing transatlantic discounter that has been trying to shrink to profitability, yesterday put four of its subsidiaries into bankruptcy. It also says it will continue flying.
        Myrtle Beach will continue to stay closed indefinitely despite the reopening of South Carolina beaches. The decision to keep the so-called Grand Strand shuttered was made by the Myrtle Beach city manager.

Coronavirus Update for April 20, 2020

The United States, Mexico and Canada today extended the multi-lateral ban on non-essential transborder travel for another month. Here are today's other developments:
        Fries with that? The much-ballyhooed PPP small-business loan program ran out of funds last week. One reason: Huge restaurant chains such as Shake Shack, Potbelly and Ruth's Chris soaked up huge amounts of available dollars. The Washington Post has details.
        Three dead in New York hotel. Three people were found dead in a New York Hilton Garden Inn that the city was using to house recovered Coronavirus patients. Fox News has details.
        Sunday uptick The TSA screened about 105,000 travelers at U.S. airports on Sunday. That continues the pattern of the busiest travel days in normal times continuing to be the busiest in these extraordinary times. And it does look like the system has bottomed out now at about 100,000 average passengers.
        Sure they will Ohio governor Mike DeWine, who locked down his state early and bucked the standard GOP pandemic skepticism, says he's okay with protestors demanding an end to lockdown so long as they maintain social distancing. Because he apparently thinks you can fix stupid.
        Walmart says employees at its stores and the Sam's Club warehouse outlets must wear masks or other face coverings.
        Virgin Australia will apparently declare the Australian version of bankruptcy tomorrow. It was already struggling under $5 billion of debt before the pandemic and the Australian government turned down the carrier's bailout request.

Coronavirus Update for April 19, 2020

Vice President Pence told Fox News today that President Trump's "LIBERATE" tweets were just a good-hearted way to urge governors to reopen their states as soon as possible. He did not explain why they were aimed only at states with Democratic governors. Here are today's other developments:
        The Pentagon has extended its ban on troop movements through June 30. The restriction was set to expire on May 11.
        Spain has extended its nationwide lockdown to May 9.
        The pattern holds. The TSA says it screened around 97,000 passengers yesterday. Even in these unprecedented times, with 90+ percent of passengers grounded, the pattern holds: Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturdays are less-trafficked than Sundays, Mondays and Fridays.
        Comic-Con cancelled. The huge event, a summer staple that draws more than 125,000 to San Diego, won't be held. So that means a lot of room at the inn in San Diego if we can travel by then.
        LATAM, the dominant carrier in South America, says its May schedule will be 5 percent of normal. It has also been 5 percent of normal in April.
        Girl Power The countries with the best responses to the Coronavirus all have one thing in common: The leaders are women. CNN explains.

Coronavirus Update for April 12-April 18, 2020

U.S. governors talk about when the states can reopen even as nationwide Coronavirus deaths surge past the 20,000 25,000 30,000 35,000 mark. Airlines whine about the terms of the bailout money they're getting from the nation's taxpayers. And only fools and self-important pundits know anything about the future of travel. Here's how we're covering it. Click here for day-to-day details.

Coronavirus Update for April 5-April 11, 2020

Read all about it! As the world convulses with the waves of Coronavirus, the toll on the travel industry is revealed. Remaining flights are essentially empty, airports are shutting terminals and business travelers have no where to go--and aren't in a rush to get there. Here's how we're covering it. Click here for day-to-day details.

Coronavirus Update for March 29-April 4, 2020

Read all about it! Domestic travel is down more than 90 percent from last year. More states impose stay-at-home orders. The death toll in Italy and Spain continues to skyrocket. And doctors and nurses are scrambling for supplies to help Coronavirus patients--and protect themselves. Here's how we're covering it. Click here for the day-to-day details.

Coronavirus Update for March 21-28, 2020

The new "new normal"? International transit airports barring transit passengers. U.S. states demanding arrivals from other U.S. states quarantine themselves on arrival. U.S. passenger volume dropping by 90 percent in a matter of days. Here's how we're covering it. Click here for the day-to-day details.

Coronavirus Update for March 15-21, 2020

Read all about it! The world is closing--and we watch 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. Click here for the day-to-day details.

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.