Internet Travel With Context
April 26-May 2, 2020
Read all about it! The nationwide Coronavirus death toll surges past the 50,000 55,000 60,000 65,000 66,000 mark. Some states loosen restrictions while European countries will keep things closed into the summer. U.S. airline traffic begins to nudge up as airline earnings plunge. Here's how we're covering it. The latest items are at the top. Read up from the bottom for context.

Coronavirus Update for May 2, 2020

Effective Monday, May 4, Eurostar joins major U.S. airlines and some European ones in demanding passengers wear masks. Coronavirus anonymity seems to be our immediate future. Here are today's other developments:
        Flying frenzy The TSA says more than 171,000 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints yesterday, the highest daily total since March 29 and nearly double the low point of around 88,000 on April 14. Notably, the percentage of daily growth in traffic now seems in line with last year albeit from a base of around 100,000 rather than 2 million.
        Airport agonistes According to the airport-concession trade group--Who knew there was such a thing!--airport sales in April were below $40 million compared to $825 million in April, 2019. This is after a 60 percent sales drop in March. But, really, who knew airport concessions had a trade group!
        Ireland says the country will reopen in five stages starting on May 18 and stretching into the summer.
        India has extended its nationwide lockdown for another two weeks.
        Furniture on fire Delta Air Lines says it is working to reduce its daily cash burn to $50 million by the end of the month compared to the current $100 million. American Airlines says its daily burn will be $70 million in the second quarter, but hopes to reduce it to $50 by the end of June. United Airlines says it hopes to reduce its daily cash burn to $40-$45 million by the end of June. Southwest expects its daily cash burn to be in the $30-35 million range during the second quarter.

Coronavirus Update for May 1, 2020

As I mentioned in the late update to this week's Brancatelli File, the TSA says 154,695 travelers passed through airport checkpoints yesterday (April 30). It was the busiest day of the month and more than 40 percent higher than on April 14, the system low point, when fewer than 88,000 people flew. Here are today's other developments:
        The April carnage The tracking site says commercial aircraft traffic was down 73.7 percent in April.
        American Airlines says more than 80 percent of its flights now depart with load factors below 25 percent.
        Asia/Pacific airlines reported they carried 8.8 million international passengers in March, down 72.9 percent year-over-year.
        Las Vegas hotel occupancy rates are now 39.8 percent, down from 90 percent last year. That's bad by Vegas standards, but positively robust by national standards since the countrywide occupancy rate is just 26 percent.
        Flying clusterfark The airport bailout portion of the CARES Act turned out about how you'd expect. New York/JFK got enough money to operate for three months. Devils Lake Airport in whatever Dakota it says its in got enough money to fund the budget for 50 years. has the details.
        Michigan extended its stay-at-home order until May 28. Meanwhile, a small band of armed protesters stormed the state legislature demanding the state reopen.

Coronavirus Update for April 30, 2020

American Airlines reported today that it lost $2.2 billion in the first quarter. You will recall that chief executive Doug Parker said in 2017 that the airline would never lose money again. Here are today's developments:
        Checkpoint tragedy The TSA says 500 employees at U.S. airports have been infected with the virus. More than 200 have recovered, but at least four passenger-facing employees have died.
        Berlin will close Tegel Airport on June 1 and it may not reopen before Berlin/Brandenburg debuts on October 31 after a nine-year delay. Tegel has been scheduled to close on November 8. In the interim, Schönefeld will handle traffic for the German capital. That should not be an issue since the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper says Berlin traffic is just one percent of pre-pandemic levels.
        Arizona has extended its stay-at-home order until May 15, but some non-essential shops will be permitted to reopen on Monday. The shops must only trade via delivery or curbside-type services.
        Florida will permit restaurants and shops to reopen starting Monday. They will be required to operate at only 25 percent of capacity. Movie theaters, gyms, bars and personal-care shops must remain closed, however. Schools will also remain shuttered. Three counties--Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach--are exempt from re-opening plans.
        Simon Property Group, the nation's largest operator of shopping malls, says it will reopen 49 locations in ten states on Friday. There is no data on how many shops within the malls will reopen.

Coronavirus Update for April 29, 2020

Another day: More losses, more masks, more death. More than one million Americans have been diagnosed with Coronavirus yet we've done almost no testing at all. Here are today's developments:
        Your job, not ours Effective May 4, Lufthansa Group carriers--Lufthansa, Austrian, Swiss, Brussels Airlines and Eurowings--will require all passengers to wear face coverings on flights. At the same time, Lufthansa will abandon its promise to keep an empty middle seat between flyers. Because airlines never change: They shift responsibility to us wherever they can and abandon their own duty of care whenever possible.
        Rome alone The hotel association of Rome says that 97 percent of the lodging options in the city are closed. Many will not reopen, according to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.
        Singapore slung After being held up as a model of how to aggressively contain the Coronavirus, Singapore has slipped backward, partially due to a lack of social distancing among immigrant workers. The New York Times has details. Meanwhile, the Singapore Hotel Association says occupancy fell to 40 percent in March, the worst on record for the city-state.
        Cancun returns Cancun, which is considered an enclave for American visitors, hopes to reopen hotels on June 1. At least that's the plan of the region's hotel association.
        Massachusetts has extended its stay-at-home order until May 18. Schools will remain closed until the end of the academic year.
        France has a framework for reopening the country. Certain businesses can reopen May 4. Schools can reopen May 11. Restaurants and cafes may resume business on June 2. Beaches, gardens and parks might be permitted to reopen on June 1.
        Spain has announced a phased reopening plan beginning May 4. It will take at least two months to totally resume "normal" operations countrywide.

Coronavirus Update for April 28, 2020

Today may be remembered as the Day of the Masks. Or the Face Covering Fantasy Day. Your choice. Here are today's developments:
        Masked Flyers Effective May 4, JetBlue Airways will require passengers to wear face masks or coverings. Crewmembers are already required to wear masks. Meanwhile, American Airlines in early May will require flight crews to wear face coverings. This comes just weeks after American threatened to discipline flight attendants who were wearing masks. The airline also says it will begin distributing hand sanitizer and masks to passengers as well.
        Southwest Airlines reported a first-quarter net loss of $94 million. It also says 350 of its fleet of about 750 aircraft are grounded.
        Turkish Airlines has cancelled all flights until May 28.
        Quiet skies At about 2:30pm ET yesterday, the flight-tracking service said about 3,000 aircraft were operating in the U.S. skies. That is about half the volume of last year.
        Loosening rules The stay-at-home order in Texas expires on Thursday. On Friday, retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters and malls will be permitted to open, but must limit traffic to 25 percent of normal. Wisconsin is extending its stay-at-home order until May 26, however non-essential businesses will be permitted to reopen so long as they restrict contact with customers.
        Election fallout The fight over Wisconsin's primary election during the pandemic continues. Dozens of poll workers and in-person voters have now been diagnosed with the virus. has the details.
        German masks Germany now requires face coverings when riding public transportation. Masks will also be required starting tomorrow when customers shop at retail stores.

Coronavirus Update for April 27, 2020

That intake of breath you hear is a collective gasp as we wait to see how places that reopen fare. Here are today's developments:
        No question now The TSA says it screened almost 129,000 flyers yesterday at U.S. airports. That's the most people in airports since April 3. It means the bottom has been reached. You know, barring another southward turn in the crisis.
        Emirates Airline says it has a backlog of around 500,000 refunds to process. It'll be August before it pushes all the money back to its cancelled customers, according to Bloomberg News.
        Norwegian says only seven of its aircraft--all subsidized by the Norwegian government--are flying. In a presentation to bondholders released today, the airline says it does not foresee a return to extensive flying before the summer season of 2021. Full operations aren't expected to resume until 2022.
        Italy yesterday announced a timeline for a return to what can only be described as an abnormal new normal. Starting May 4, local family visits will be allowed and intra-region travel will be permitted. Restaurants can reopen for take-away business. Public transit will resume, but seating will be limited for social-distancing purposes. Travelers will be required to use face coverings. On May 18, cultural sites and retail shops can reopen. But cutting la bella figura will have to wait since there is no timeline for barbers, beauty parlors and the like.

Coronavirus Update for April 26, 2020

The Sunday talk shows are the platforms for all sorts of prognostication about the future, which is interesting since we don't know what's happening today because there's still no widespread testing. Here are today's developments:
        The bottom? The TSA says it screened about 1114,000 flyers yesterday at U.S. airports. It's the first time there have been three consecutive days of 100K-plus traffic since the beginning of the month.
        Florida tourism executives expect hotels and resorts to stay closed long after the state lifts travel restrictions. has details.
        Colorado transitions to a "safe-at-home" policy today upon the expiration of its more rigid lockdown. Personal services, such as salons, dog grooming and personal training, will open. Elective medical and dental procedures can resume. Bar and restaurants remain closed for all but take-away or delivery.
        Hawaii has extended its stay-at-home rules until May 31. Beaches and parks reopen, however.
        A million short Eurocontrol says there have been a million fewer flights in the European skies since March 1.
        Italy will allow some manufacturers to reopen on May 4, but schools will remain closed until September.
        Spain, which imposed some of the harshest lockdown rules after it became a Coronavirus hotspot, on May 2 begins to allow outside family walks and personal exercise.
        Lugano Airport in Switzerland is literally going out of business. Airways magazine has details.

Coronavirus Update for 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. Click here for day-to-day details.

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 nowhere 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 22-28, 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.