Summer Special Report
July 16 to July 22, 2022
Read all about the summer chaos! Seven million passengers passed through U.S. airports last weekend. American Airlines says corporate business travel remains below 2019 levels. More than half the flights at Toronto/Pearson have been running late. Luton Airport in London (literally) melts down. Records show that 60% of flight delays are due to the airlines despite their efforts to blame others. There have been 30,000 flight cancellations since Memorial Day. More than 7% of flights at Newark and New York's LaGuardia Airport were cancelled. SAS strike ends after 15 days. We are driving less since gasoline prices skyrocketed, but prices at the pump have fallen more than 60 cents since mid-June. And more.

Summer Travel Update: Friday, July 22, 2022

The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the United States today is $4.413, says the AAA. That's a decline of 2.7 cents overnight. Meanwhile, prices at the pump have fallen every day since mid-June and are now off 60 cents from the record high set on June 14. Here are today's other developments:
        Nine in ten travelers   The TSA says 2,423,437 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints yesterday. The one-day total has surpassed 2 million every day since early June. Yesterday's volume is 89.6% of the passenger count on a similar Thursday in 2019.
        The state of things   Aviation consultant IBA says the number of flights worldwide last month was 83% of traffic in June, 2019. Wholly domestic flights are at 87% of 2019 levels. Transatlantic flights have reached 92% of 2019 levels, but flights originating in Asia are only at 70% of pre-pandemic traffic.
        A bit of good news   Fuel workers at London/Heathrow Airport have suspended a strike that would have disrupted several carriers at LHR. The BBC has details.
        Isn't it a beach?   Last year was the summer of the beach vacation as travelers broke out of their pandemic travel restrictions. This year? The mania seems to have broken and the tide of travelers is receding. Lodging analysts CoSar has the fine print.
        Him again ...   Tennis champion Novak Djokovic (aka Novax Djerkovic) made a fuss early this year when he was deported from Australia before the Australian Open. His unvaccinated status didn't stop him from winning Wimbledon, however. But now his refusal to vaccinate means he won't be able to compete in the U.S. Open in New York in September. The Guardian has details.

Summer Travel Update: Thursday, July 21, 2022

From the this-isn't-over file: Fully vaccinated and twice-boosted President Joe Biden now has tested positive for Covid. According to John Hopkins, there were more than 160,000 new reported Covid cases and 444 deaths nationwide during the last day. Here are today's other developments:
        Another two million served   The TSA says that 2,219,416 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints yesterday. The one-day total has surpassed 2 million every day since June 4. Yesterday's volume represents 86.6% of the passenger count on a similar Wednesday in 2019.
        LAX is lax   Nationwide passenger traffic may have reached 85-to-90% of 2019 levels, but Los Angeles continues to lag. In May, LAX reached just 74.9% of 2019 levels. It was even lower (73%) in June. Possible explanation: With transpacific traffic still a fraction of 2019 levels, LAX has lost those flyers. Transcontinental business travel also seems down.
        The business of business travel   American Airlines today reported the highest quarterly revenue in its history ($13.4 billion), but the 2Q boom is not necessarily on the back of businesses travelers. AA says corporate business travel is still at just 75-80% of pre-pandemic levels. The carrier says small-business and independent business travel may have returned to 2019 levels, however.
        No luggage for you   Amsterdam Schiphol Airport has been in meltdown mode all summer, but a baggage line broke down today. Hub carrier KLM's response? It told customers that they could not check bags on connecting flights through AMS. The ban apparently only applies to intra-Europe itineraries, but some U.S.-originating and U.S.-bound flyers erroneously have been told they cannot check bags, either.
        Australia is cancelled   Qantas Airways cancelled 8.1% of its domestic flights in June. Virgin Australia wasn't much better, cancelling 5.8% of its domestic runs. Bloomberg News has details.
        Paris when it sizzles (financially)   The essential parity the U.S. dollar has reached against the euro has made Paris a bargain for American visitors. Twinned with the moderating temperatures, sounds like Paris is sizzling for folks who buy in greenbacks. Agence France-Presse has details.

Summer Travel Update: Wednesday, July 20, 2022

The CDC has shut down its public Covid dashboard for cruise ships. If you want to know how your cruise line--or your preferred ship--is handling Covid outbreaks, you will have to beg the information directly from the company. The New York Times has details. Here are today's other developments:
        Trundling along   The TSA says that 2,127,327 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints yesterday. The one-day total has surpassed 2 million every day since June 4 and it and represents 85.1% of the volume on a similar Tuesday in 2019.
        Sketches of Spain   Spanish authorities say 8.2 million international travelers visited in June. That is 85.5% of the volume registered in June, 2019.
        Fuelish   London's Heathrow Airport is a mess--messier even than a normal summer--and now comes a strike threat. Fifty workers from Aviation Fuel Services will stage a three-day walkout from Thursday morning to Sunday morning. The airlines most likely affected: Virgin Atlantic, United, KLM, and Air France. The BBC has details.
        Oh, Canada   Air Canada estimates that it will fly 81% of its international flight network during the winter season compared to 2019 capacity. The "winter" season begins at the end of October and runs through March.
        The gas rollback   The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the United States today is $4.467, says the AAA. Prices at the pump have fallen every day since mid-June and are now off about 55 cents from the record high set on June 14.

Summer Travel Update: Tuesday, July 19, 2022

After hundreds of years of keeping track of weather, the temperature in Britain today surpassed 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) for the first time. It reached 40.2 degrees at London/Heathrow Airport around noon (local time) and later hit 40.3 degrees elsewhere later in the day. Huge parts of Britain's rail network shut down as the tracks literally have softened and bent. Here are today's other developments:
        Another manic Monday   The TSA says that 2,350,360 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints yesterday. It represents 89.2% of the volume on a similar Monday in 2019.
        We are driving less   Wondering if the high price of gasoline has curtailed our driving? It has. The U.S. Energy Information Administration--who knew we had that?--says consumption of gasoline fell in the second quarter of this year compared to 2Q 2021. The complete details are here.
        SAS strike ends   The 15-day pilot strike at SAS Scandinavian, which led the carrier to declare bankruptcy in a U.S. court, has ended. It will take time for the carrier to restore all of its flights, however. Some analysts say the strike caused 3,700 flight cancellations, inconvenienced 380,000 passengers and cost $145 million. Agence France-Press has some of the other details.
        The awful truth   The Wall Street Journal has a humdrum piece on the state of air travel this summer. But some of the stats it wrung from are notable: Toronto/Pearson operated below 50% on-time between June 1 and July 12. Frankfurt, Paris/CDG and Heathrow just barely topped 50% on-time operations. Meanwhile, two New York airports registered appalling cancellation rates. It was 7.8% at Newark and 7.2% at LaGuardia. The full story is here.

Summer Travel Update: Monday, July 18, 2022

Although Europe is suffering more than the United States, U.S. airlines have already cancelled 100,000 flights this year. More than 30,000 have been since the Memorial Day weekend. Delays are worst in New York and Florida, of course, but hubs such as Charlotte (American) and Denver (United and Southwest) are hardly immune. CNN has the long list of shame for U.S. airports. Here are today's other developments:
        Cheek-by-jowl   The TSA says that 7 million people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints this weekend (Friday-Sunday), higher than the previous weekend or over the Fourth of July. It is 89.3% of the volume on a similar weekend in 2019 when 7.9 million people passed through checkpoints
        Luton's literal meltdown   The searing heat in Britain led to a literal meltdown of a runway at London's Luton Airport. The Guardian has details.
        The airlines are lying again   U.S. carriers have been desperate to duck responsibility for this summer's chaos of high cancellations and numerous delays. They've blamed weather, airports, the FAA and maybe the dogs who ate their homework. But an analysis by Bloomberg News shows nearly 60% of delays between January and April are directly traced to the carriers. The details are here.
        Thinning skies   Aircraft traffic in Europe's skies declined 1.3% compared to the previous week, according to Eurocontrol, which handles the continent's air traffic control system. The daily average of 30,469 flights for the week ended July 17 represents 86.3% of 2019 volume.

Summer Travel Update: Weekend, July 16-17, 2022

Think August will be better? Don't bet on it. Cirium, a data analysis firm, says that nearly 16,000 flights have been cancelled in Europe next month. Turkish Airlines (about 4,400 flights) leads the pack, followed by British Airways (3,600), EasyJet (2,000) and Lufthansa (nearly 1,900). Here are this weekend's other developments.
        Fixing a hole   The FAA imposed a ground stop on flights at Washington/National Airport Friday afternoon when a hole was discovered in one of the runways. For the day, about 30% of DCA departures were delayed.
        Delta being Delta   Delta Air Lines continues to insist it operates better than U.S. competitors--and then continues to suffer tech meltdowns. On Sunday, both the airline's Web site and app were out of commission for several hours. Neither outage affected flight operations, however.
        Emirates backs down   After raging against Heathrow Airport and Heathrow management last week when it imposed a daily cap on passengers for the remainder of the summer, Emirates Airline has grudgingly agreed to stop sales on flights to Heathrow until mid-August.
        Well, it is Italy ...   A series of short (four-hour) strikes at Italian airports on Sunday led to the cancellation of about 500 flights. The Associated Press has details.
        Frankfurt crackdown   Italians are used to the chaos. Germans, not so much, which is why the huge delays and cancellations at Frankfurt have infuriated the nation. As a result, Frankfurt officials said Friday that take-offs and landings will be capped at 88 per hour starting next week. That's atop already announced flight cuts by Lufthansa, Frankfurt's hub carrier.

Summer Travel Daily Special Reports

A post-pandemic increase in travelers, mindless overscheduling by European and American carriers and a dire shortage of workers--pilots, gate agents, flight attendants, baggage handlers, even air traffic controllers--has turned the summer travel season into madness. If it can go wrong, it has. With the notable exception of Asia, where traffic still lags far behind pre-pandemic levels, it's been a summer from hell. Click here for the updates.

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.