Summer Special Report
May 28 to June 3, 2022
Read all about the summer chaos! U.S. airlines cancel thousands of flights over Memorial Day weekend led by Delta Air Lines' massive schedule dump. The unofficial start of summer was no better elsewhere as airports in London, Dublin, Stockholm, Manchester and Tel Aviv were hit with very long lines and longer waits for passengers. Even railroads are stressed as Eurostar melts down after several cancelled trains. Italy ends its last Covid-inspired entry rules. American Airlines says it handled 2.3 million passengers over Memorial Day Weekend. JetBlue delays launch of Boston-London service. Delta rachets up revenue prediction despite its service woes. And more.
Summer Travel Update: Friday, June 3, 2022
If you are already discouraged by this summer's travel messes and grumbling about moving to France and chucking it all, be warned: There is a mustard shortage and it's so severe that many store shelves are empty and other shops are limiting purchases to one jar per customer. And what is France without mustard? The Guardian
has the details
. Here are today's other developments:
The TSA says that 2,213,168 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints yesterday. Although that's a couple hundred thousand more than Wednesday, it represents 84.4% of comparative volume of a similar Thursday in 2019. That's almost exactly the same percentage as Wednesday.
Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam continues to be overwhelmed with flyers and understaffed everywhere. The "solution" from Dutch authorities? Travelers are now banned from Schiphol until four hours before their flight's scheduled departure. Aviation24 has details
Mask up again
Alameda County, which includes Oakland and Berkeley, has reinstituted its mask mandate for indoor public spaces. Politico.com has details
Hotels are winning while we lose
Fed-up with lodging cutbacks? The hotel industry doesn't care since they are now beginning to outperform 2019 statistics. For the week ended May 28, lodging statisticians STR says nationwide average occupancy was 66.5%, more than three points above 2019. Average rate was up more than 22% and revenue per available room, a key measure of profitability, was more than 26% above 2019 numbers.
Summer Travel Update: Thursday, June 2, 2022
From the best-laid plans department: JetBlue Airways says it will delay the launch of its flights from Boston to London's Gatwick and Heathrow airports. The flights were due to launch July 19 and August 22 respectively. But the aircraft earmarked for the service, fresh-off-the-line Airbus A321LRs, won't be delivered on-time. The tentative new launch dates are August 4 and September 20 respectively. Here are today's other developments:
The TSA says that 1,999,087 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints yesterday. It's 84.3% of comparative volume of a similar Wednesday in 2019, slightly lower than in recent days.
Will Dublin solve its problems (see below) by making it faster and easier for passengers to check in and clear security? Of course not. The airport authority's solution is to close the departures road outside Terminal 1 to vehicles and create covered passenger queuing areas. The Irish Times
Delta Air Lines wants you to know that its weekend collapses in May are doing nothing to retard demand or revenue in the second quarter. "Total unit revenues are expected to be 7-8 points better than initially expected," the carrier says. The jump in revenue is expected despite a 1-2-point reduction in capacity.
The Transportation Department's update on jet-fuel prices is grim. The monthly cost per gallon was $3.59, up 55 cents (18.0%) from March, 2022, and up $1.53 from April, 2019. The cost-per-gallon in April is the highest since the DOT began collecting data in 2000.
You probably don't need me to tell you this, but ... The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline is $4.715 today. That's another new all-time record and more than 50 cents higher than a month ago.
Summer Travel Update: Wednesday, June 1, 2022
After more than two months of total lockdown, Chinese officials have allowed parts of Shanghai to reopen today (local time). Residents are allowed to leave their homes, some shops have reopened and parts of the mass-transit system have restarted. The Associated Press has early details
. Agence France-Presse covers some of the 25 million still under state lockdown
. Here are today's other developments:
The TSA says that 2,108,054 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints yesterday. That's 93.8% of comparative volume of a similar Tuesday in 2019, which is actually a stronger performance than over the Memorial Day Weekend.
Italy officially ended the last Covid-related regulations about entering the country. You'll no longer be required to show your vaccine status or a negative test to visit.
American Airlines says it carried 2.3 million passengers on more than 21,000 flights in the Memorial Day period between May 27 through May 30.
The Biden Administration has finally appealed the bizarre ban on the in-flight mask mandate ordered by a Florida federal judge. The ruling
, issued on April 18, has been heavily criticized by the legal community for its lack of logic and its political slant. (The judge also claimed the CDC has the right to clean infections, but not order masking because masks don't clean anything.) The CDC and TSA immediately lifted the mandate, however. In the interim, another federal judge in a separate case upheld the mask mandate. There's no word why the Administration waited so long to file the appeal or whether it would reimpose the mandate if the judge's ruling is overturned. Reuters has some details
You didn't think London's airports, which always melt down in the face of summer travel, would survive the early onslaught of this year's volume? EasyJet is cancelling hundreds of flights
at London/Gatwick. And, of course, there are problems at London/Heathrow. The flashpoint seems to be Terminal 3, where Virgin Atlantic is funneling passengers into a holding pen. It takes hours for regular flyers and more than 30 minutes for passengers with fast-track clearance to get to the head of the queue.
Summer Travel Update: Tuesday, May 31, 2022
Lest you think summer travel chaos will be restricted to airline travel: Eurostar passengers waited for hours after the train operator cancelled several morning departures on the London-Paris run. Lines at London/St. Pancras Station snaked through retail shops and spilled onto the road surrounding the terminus. MyLondon.com has details
. Here are today's other developments:
The TSA says 2,312,179 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints yesterday. Surprisingly for a Memorial Day Monday, that is several thousand flyers below the previous Monday's total. It's also 92.5% of comparative volume of Memorial Day Monday in 2019.
There was an average of 28,157 flights in Europe skies each day for the week ended May 29. That's 85.6% of 2019 levels, according to Eurocontrol, the continent's air traffic control.
On the other hand ...
Carriers aligned with the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) handled 4.8 million international passengers in April. That's just 15.2% of volume in pre-pandemic April, 2019.
All the old news fit to print The New York Times
has just picked up on the international travel workaround for flyers unwilling to test before returning to the United States: fly into Canada or Mexico instead. The details are here
Summer Travel Update: Monday, May 30, 2022
Comparatively good news: The airlines didn't collapse on Sunday to the degree they did on Friday and Saturday (see below). There were "only" 547 cancellations in the United States, substantially lower than the average of more than 900 a day earlier on the weekend. Delta Air Lines continued to lead the pack, dumping another 6% of its schedule. Here are today's other developments:
Isn't that special
The TSA says 6.47 million people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints this weekend (Friday-Sunday). That's around 200,000 fewer travelers than the previous weekend. It's 89.4% of comparative volume of a similar weekend in 2019 and several points below previous May weekends. Of course, with more than 2,000 cancellations over the three days, hard to know what the real volume would have been.
Lines that wrapped around terminals and infuriated passengers who missed their flights despite turning up three hours before departure. That was Dublin on Sunday. It was so bad that the airport promises refunds to all passengers who missed flights. The Irish Times
Flashpoint Tel Aviv
Pilots are squabbling with El Al and the labor issues at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport are squeezing passengers at Israel's only major facility. The Jerusalem Post
It's "utter chaos" at Stockholm's Arlanda Airport thanks to long security queues that the airport authority had promised to address. The Local Sweden, an English-language site, has details
TUI, the German-based leisure airline, stranded scores of passengers when it cancelled many flights after eight-hour waits at Manchester Airport in Northern England. The Manchester Evening News
Summer Travel Update: Weekend, May 28-29, 2022
As we transition from Covid coverage to what is shaping up to be an awful summer on the road, a judgment from the recent past: The California flyer who repeatedly punched a Southwest Airlines flight attendant last year, bloodying her face and chipping three of her teeth, has been sentenced to 15 months in jail. That's especially notable since the prosecution had only requested a four-month sentence for the attack in May, 2021. The judge also told 29-year-old Vyvianna M. Quinonez that she'd be required to pay almost $26,000 in restitution and a $7,500 fine. The New York Times
. Here are this weekend's other developments.
A "scheduled" meltdown
It took exactly zero days from the unofficial start of the summer travel season for the U.S. carriers to collapse under the weight of near-2019 flying numbers. Led by Delta Air Lines--you know, the carrier that says it runs a better operation--airlines combined to cancel 1,850 flights on Friday and Saturday. That represented 7% of Delta's Friday schedule and 9% of its Saturday schedule. Several regional airlines also fared poorly, dumping as many as 20% of their flights as the Memorial Day Weekend began.
Duly noted ....
Delta's atrocious performance is especially interesting because its largest hub, Atlanta/Hartsfield, is only back to 85% of its 2019 traffic, according to the airport. Delta controls about 70% of the traffic at ATL, of course.
The nightmare scenario
Two Americans took a dream vacation to Europe. Double-vaxxed and boosted, they felt comfortable with the risk. But, of course, before they could return to the United States, they tested positive for Coronavirus. That's when the tale gets interesting. The San Francisco Chronicle
Cyprus lifts its mask mandate for indoor public spaces on Wednesday, June 1.
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