Internet Travel With Context
May 3-May 9, 2020
Read all about it! The nationwide Coronavirus death toll surges past the 65,000 70,000 75,000 78,000 mark. We enter the era of the masked flyer. New York closes its subways for the first time ever. Airline losses keep piling up. Traffic doesn't. 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 9, 2020

There was a "blackberry winter"--a late freeze--in many parts of the East last night. Meanwhile, weather geeks at the NWS are predicting a busier-than-usual hurricane season. You know, just to go along with the pandemic and the killer hornets. Here are today's other developments:
        Travel boomlet About 215,000 people passed through TSA checkpoints yesterday, the busiest since March 25. But before you claim "recovery," that's still down 92 percent year-over-year. It was down 93 percent on Friday, May 1, and 96 percent on April 14, the slowest day of pandemic. Traffic still must quintuple just to reach around 50% of average 2019 numbers.
        Delta Air Lines is consolidating service at ten smaller airports at larger nearby airports. Regional consolidation of this type is permitted under the terms of the CARES Act bailout, which requires airlines to maintain service to all pre-pandemic airports. One example: Delta is dropping service at Burbank and Long Beach because it continues to serve LAX.
        Raleigh/Durham airport traffic is down 97 percent since mid-March. Pre-pandemic, RDU had 57 nonstop domestic routes and five international destinations. Now there are just 25 domestic and no international routes.
        Amtrak now requires all passengers to wear masks or face coverings. The railroad also said it would resume some Acela trains between Washington and Boston starting on June 1.
        Gone in 60 Seconds Yesterday's labor report says 7.7 million people have lost jobs in the leisure and hospitality industries. That doesn't even include airlines, which face a day of reckoning on October 1 after the CARES Act payroll support expires.

Coronavirus Update for May 8, 2020

The TSA says about 190,000 people were handled at security checkpoints on Thursday, the highest total since March 27. Some folks think it's a sign airline traffic, still down around 93 percent compared to last year, is about to boom. Some people are stupid. Here are today's other developments:
        VIA Rail of Canada has pushed the relaunch of two of its most iconic trains until November 1. That is when the Canadian, between Toronto and Vancouver, and the Ocean, between Montreal and Halifax, resume service.
        U.S. hotel occupancy was 28.6 percent for the week ended May 2. That's up from 21 percent for the week ending April 5-11. Where's the extra occupancy coming from? Probably medical professionals isolating from family as they work Coronavirus cases and homeless people placed in hotels by social-service agencies.
        Canadian hotel occupancy was 16.6 percent for the week ended May 2. Lowest occupancy is in Newfoundland at 6.8 percent.
        American Airlines says it is running less than 15 percent of its pre-pandemic schedule. Load factors are about 30 percent.
        JetBlue Airways reported a first quarter loss of $268 million.
        Busy work What does a hotel general manager do when her hotel is closed? Janine Marshall, who runs the luxurious One Aldwych in London, explains.

Coronavirus Update for May 7, 2020

France, Germany and Italy are loosening their lockdowns and stay-at-home orders. You can be sure that religion is being accommodated. Italy says churches can reopen for services on May 18; Germany says Bundesliga soccer may resume on May 16--albeit without worshippers in the stands. Here are today's other developments:
        New Jersey has extended its stay-at-home regulations into June.
        LAX says face coverings will be required in passenger terminals beginning Monday, May 11.
        Maybe raise the price of bottled water again? ACI World, the trade organization of airports, says the pandemic will cost global airports $97 billion in 2020.
        District of Columbia tourism officials say the pandemic has cost Washington $1.7 billion in tourist revenue and another $163 million in cancelled conferences and conventions.
        Amtrak says it has extended elite status in its Guest Rewards program until February 28, 2022.
        Arrivederci Alitalia temporarily has ended its last long-haul route with the cessation of flights between Rome and New York/JFK.
        Carnival's carnival Carnival Corporation, which seems to own every damned cruise company on the planet, is taking a bifurcated approach to its business. While its eponymous brand will attempt a relaunch on August 1, the Holland America and Princess divisions have cancelled all summer cruises and some journeys into the fall.

Coronavirus Update for May 6, 2020

Denver Airport today begins requiring all travelers to wear masks or facial covering in the terminals. More airports will follow, of course, but with most carriers now demanding masks, the orders seem duplicative. Here are today's other developments:
        The battle of Brussels Brussels Airlines has been grounded since March, but the battle over its survival is raging. At issue: The flawed sale to a greedy foreign owner (Lufthansa), the political battles between the divided Belgium population and many other factors. has the details.
        The Tuesday tank The TSA says it screened 130,601 passengers yesterday at U.S. checkpoints. That's a substantial decline from Sunday and Monday, continuing the pattern standard for business travel over the decades. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are always the slowest travel days of the week.
        The China syndrome Shanghai Disneyland reopens on May 11, but the Chinese government will limit daily attendance to 24,000. Disney officials say fewer people can be allowed if the park is to maintain proper social distancing.
        WiFi woes Would eliminating free WiFi in hotel public areas like lobby bars and coffee stations help lodgings enforce social distancing? One hotel expert says it's worth considering.

Coronavirus Update for May 5, 2020

A new John Hopkins study suggests the nation is headed for 3,000 daily Coronavirus deaths by June 1. In other words, a death toll equivalent to 9/11 every day. Thank heavens this stuff is all a political hoax otherwise things would be bad. Here are today's other developments:
        The city that sometimes sleeps. New York City will shut the subways at 1 a.m. on Wednesday morning and the system will remain closed until 5 a.m. The new daily closure regimen is believed to be the first time in New York history that the subways didn't operate 24/7/365. The nightly closing is to allow for trains to be disinfected. The details are here.
        Air Canada says all passengers will be subject to non-invasive temperature checks before they can board a flight.
        Alaska Airlines reported a first-quarter net loss of $232 million.
        California will loosen some stay-at-home restrictions this week. Bookstores, music stores, toy stores, florists, sporting goods retailers and others can reopen for pickup as early as Friday.
        Las Vegas will be much less crowded when it finally reopens. The Nevada Gaming Board says casinos must limit occupancy to no more than 50 percent, reduce the number of gaming machines on the casino floor and cut the number of betting positions per table.
        Qantas says it is currently flying just 5 percent of its domestic schedule and 1 percent of its international operations.
        Virgin Atlantic says it will focus future operations on London/Heathrow and Manchester. It will stop flying from London/Gatwick, the airport where the airline began in 1984.

Coronavirus Update for May 4, 2020

Today is the first day some airlines require face coverings during a flight. Other carriers are announcing same for the weeks ahead. Here are today's other developments:
        Air Canada reported a first-quarter loss of C$1.05 billion. Sales declined about 18 percent. "We're effectively putting the airline in a state of hibernation," said CEO Calin Rovinescu.
        KLM and Air France say passengers must wear a face covering or mask in boarding areas and during flights. The edict goes into effect on May 11.
        Vienna Airport says it now offers rapid Coronavirus testing to all comers. The test will allow visitors to avoid Austria's 14-day quarantine. Details are here.
        Flat flying The TSA says about 170,000 people passed through airport checkpoints on Sunday. That's about the same number as Friday.
        Filthy lucre Ashford, the large group of companies that own and operate dozens of hotels, now says it will return the PPP small-business payment it received. It had previously refused to do so. The New York Times has the details.
        Spain now requires masks or face coverings on all public transportation.

Coronavirus Update for May 3, 2020

After several days of notable passenger growth, the TSA says around 134,000 people passed through airport checkpoints on Saturday, always one of the slower days of the week. Even in these shrunken times, interesting that the Saturday Slump stays constant. Here are today's other developments:
        Buffett bails again. After being burned by his US Air stake decades ago, Warren Buffett once promised never again to invest in airlines. He jumped back in 2016 and held sizable stakes in the Big 3 and Southwest. It was an "understandable mistake," he explained yesterday. The Oracle of Omaha says his company, Berkshire Hathaway, has now divested its entire airline portfolio, once estimated at more than $4 billion. CNBC has the details.
        That can't be good. In an internal memo, United Airlines says: “We currently have more pilots than passengers on any given day.”
        FU You might say that social distancing keeps us safe, but London's Heathrow Airport couldn't possibly be bothered. It can comment, however, and the BBC has the details.
        Travel agent agonistes For the seven days ended April 26, airline ticket sales at travel agencies were down 37.5 percent while sales volume fell 42 percent. Those stats are from the Airline Reporting Corporation, the clearing house for travel agencies. The decline was almost evenly split between the corporate/business ticketing and leisure segments, the ARC stats show.
        Yeah, about that ... Marriott wants you to know that keyless entry to guestrooms is one of the ways it is keeping us safe during the pandemic. Except, of course, when it isn't because it costs hotel owners money they don't want to spend. Gary Leff's View From the Wing blog has details.
        Snake eyes, again After clawing its way back to a semblance of sanity and profitability, stay-at-home orders in the Northeast have sent Atlantic City right back to the brink of fiscal disaster. Politico has the details.

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