Summer Special Report
July 23 to July 29, 2022
Read all about the summer chaos! The TSA and several airlines at LAX suffer through a Covid outbreak. Average fares are still lower now than before the pandemic--but few pay the average airfare. Air Canada has cancelled nearly 13% of its schedule recently--but Canadian hotels are nearing pre-pandemic occupancy levels. An active shooter incident at Dallas/Love Field and bad weather in the Northeast this week led to a horrific day for cancellations. Asia-Pacific carriers are still operating below 30% of pre-pandemic levels. Lufthansa wipes out most of its schedule as ground workers strike at Frankfurt and Munich. Disruptive passenger leads to diversion of a Virgin Atlantic flight headed to LAX. Gasoline prices have fallen more than 76 cents since mid-June. And more.
Summer Travel Update: Friday, July 29, 2022
If you're the murderous de facto ruler of an oil-rich Gulf State, normal rules of travel don't apply to you, especially this summer. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman flew to Europe this week with an entourage that included 700 travelers and seven aircraft, including one equipped as a hospital. Greek officials were asked to supply 350 limos when he reached Athens. And 180 suitcases were sent to the Four Seasons there. The Guardian
. Here are today's other developments:
Just rolling along
The TSA says 2,392,009 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints yesterday. It represents 87.2% of the volume on a similar Thursday in 2019.
Spain is easier
EasyJet flight crews in Spain ended a strike on Thursday after reaching a wage deal with airline management. Remaining strike days planned for today, tomorrow and Sunday were cancelled. The job action began last month. Ryanair crews in Spain are also striking on pre-announced days.
Russians go home
Finland is one of the few Western countries where Russian tourists can still obtain a travel visa to visit. And average Finns aren't happy about it. As an act of solidarity with Ukraine, Finland's conservative opposition party has proposed a halt to new tourist visas for Russians. Agence France-Presse has details
Most large European airports are still handling fewer flights now than in 2019. But not Istanbul/IGA. It's handling 5% more flights than before the pandemic, says Eurocontrol, which operates the continent's air traffic control.
Still free fallin'
The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the United States today is $4.255, says the AAA. That's a drop of another 2.3 cents from Thursday. Prices at the pump have fallen every day since mid-June and are now off more than 76 cents from the record high set on June 14.
Summer Travel Update: Thursday, July 28, 2022
By traditional measures, the U.S. economy is now in recession since we've endured the second consecutive quarter of negative growth. But these are odd times, when investment continues and the national unemployment rate is near record lows. Agence France-Presse has details
. Here are today's other developments:
Same old same old
The TSA says 2,205,506 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints yesterday. It represents 86.7% of the volume on a similar Wednesday in 2019. That's almost the exact same percentage as Tuesday, too.
Asia is not keeping up
While global air travel is roaring, the Asia-Pacific region is lagging far behind. According to the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines, traffic in the region in June was just 28.3% of the pre-pandemic month of June, 2019.
On the other hand ...
Singapore Airlines today reported a first-quarter profit of S$370 million (US$268 million) compared to a loss of more than S$400 million a year ago. The carrier says it expects to operate about 80% of its pre-pandemic capacity by the end of the year. Reuters has details
Canadian hotels have recorded their best post-pandemic performance in June, according to lodging statisticians STR. The average national occupancy rate was 71.7%, off around three points from June, 2019. Toronto, Canada's largest hotel market, recorded an average occupancy of 84.4%, which was actually about one percentage point higher than June, 2019.
The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the United States today is $4.278, says the AAA. That's a drop of another 2.4 cents from Wednesday. Prices at the pump have fallen every day since mid-June and are now off nearly 75 cents from the record high set on June 14.
See no evil, find no evil
Lufthansa suffered a global black eye earlier this year when some of its staffers offloaded Jewish passengers during a bizarre incident at Frankfurt Airport. The carrier says an investigation has uncovered no systemic anti-semitism. But it has decided to appoint a dedicated anti-semitism manager to make sure it won't find any problems. The Jerusalem Post
Summer Travel Update: Wednesday, July 27, 2022
Conspiracy theorists insist that Covid-19 was the result of a planned or accidental leak from an infectious disease lab in Wuhan, China. But a new, in-depth study of infection patterns during the early days of the outbreak concludes Covid jumped from animals to humans at a "wet market" in the city. The Washington Post
. Here are today's other developments:
But no fireworks ...
The TSA says 2,115,890 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints yesterday. That's the slowest one-day volume since July 4th. It also represents 86.8% of the volume on a similar Tuesday in 2019.
As bad as expected, German division
A one-day strike of ground workers today at Lufthansa caused the expected chaos, especially at the airline's Frankfurt and Munich hubs. There were plenty of passengers milling around needing help and few LH employees to assist. Reuters has some of the ugly details
As bad as expected, English division
English rail services ground to a halt today as RMT union workers struck most of the country's rail service. Worse, additional strikes are planned for July 30, August 18 and August 20. Separately, employees of the London Underground are set to strike on August 19.
A Virgin Atlantic flight from London to Los Angeles diverted to Salt Lake City on Tuesday to offload an unruly passenger. Salt Lake City police said they arrived at the airport to find crew members and passengers restraining a disruptive flyer. TheHill.com has details
Pumping the brakes II
The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the United States today is $4.302, says the AAA. That's a drop of 2.5 cents from Tuesday. Prices at the pump have fallen every day since mid-June and are now off 71 cents from the record high set on June 14.
Summer Travel Update: Tuesday, July 26, 2022
From the this-is-not-over file: Covid outbreaks at LAX among TSA screeners and staffers of American and Southwest airlines are playing havoc with service at Southern California's primary airport. How bad is it? Only the largest outbreak being tracked by Los Angeles County health officials. The Los Angeles Times
. Here are today's other developments:
The darkest timeline
Yesterday was the worst domestic flying day in weeks as bad weather in the Northeast and an active shooter incident at Dallas/Love Field led to more than 1,300 cancellations nationwide. Ironically, Love Field (about 13% of its schedule dumped) wasn't even the worst offender. About 19% of flights at New York/LaGuardia were scrubbed while Washington/National and Newark each lost about 15% of their schedules to the weather. Southwest Airlines, essentially the monopoly player at Love, cancelled 269 flights nationwide yesterday. That's 6% of its Monday schedule.
Another manic Monday
The TSA says that 2,360,672 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints yesterday, almost exactly the same as last Monday's number. It represents 90.3% of the volume on a similar Monday in 2019.
A planned strike tomorrow by ground crew staffers at its Frankfurt and Munich hubs has led Lufthansa to pre-cancel virtually all of its scheduled flights on Wednesday. That represents about 1,000 flights affecting more than 134,000 passengers. And given how badly Lufthansa has been running this summer, expect a raft of delays, cancellations and long lines at Lufthansa into the weekend. Agence France-Press has some of the details
Pumping the brakes
The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the United States today is $4.327, says the AAA. Prices at the pump have fallen every day since mid-June and are now off nearly 70 cents from the record high set on June 14.
Summer Travel Update: Monday, July 25, 2022
OAG, the industry schedulekeeper, has been tracking cancellations for the last 30 days or so and the numbers are not pretty. Since June 20, Air Canada has cancelled at least 4.85% of its flights and as many as 12.79% during the week of June 27. Except for Delta Air Lines' 4.19% cancellation rate during the week of June 20, other major U.S. and Canadian carriers kept their dump percentage between 2 and 4%. Alaska Airlines has been the best performer, keeping cancellations below 0.5% during the last four weeks. Here are today's other developments:
An active shooter situation in a pre-security area of Dallas/Love Field led to an hours-long groundstop at the Metroplex's second-busiest airport. Except for the shooter, wounded by police after she pumped her bullets into the ceiling, there were no injuries. The Associated Press has details
The TSA says that 6.875 million people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints this weekend (Friday-Sunday), around 175,000 fewer than the previous weekend. It is 88% of the volume on a similar weekend in 2019 when nearly 7.8 million people passed through checkpoints.
A crisis Down Under
It seems like nothing is going right for Qantas, the de facto flag carrier of Australia. If the ABC Network of Australia is to be believed, Qantas can't even get its weight-and-balance paperwork in order
or cater its aircraft with water.
Summer Travel Update: Weekend, July 23-24, 2022
The government says we're complaining about the airlines more and enjoying them less. According to the Department of Transportation's Air Travel Consumer Report
, complaints against airlines in May remain 200% above pre-pandemic levels. Here are this weekend's other developments.
Get out your salt shaker
The average U.S. domestic air fare in the first quarter of 2022 was $328. Adjusted for inflation, the average 1Q 2022 air fare was down 11.1% from $370 in the same quarter of 2020. The first two months of 2020 were pre-pandemic, of course, but March, 2020, was when U.S. commercial airline traffic began to plummet. So take these numbers, released by the government, with the appropriate grains of flying salt.
See you in September
Singapore's Changi Airport will reopen its Terminal 4 on September 13. Sixteen airlines will move back to Terminal 4 as the facility resumes service for the first time in more than two years.
Strike while the summer is hot
A strike by more than 40,000 British rail workers will go ahead on Wednesday (July 27) after unions and 14 train companies made no progress. A similar strike earlier this year all but shut down commuter and long-haul rail as well the London Underground. The BBC has details
Hotels bounce back
After two weeks of down results, the average occupancy at U.S. hotels hit 72% for the week ended July 16. That is still 7.4% off pre-pandemic levels, but average daily room rates are up nearly 15% compared to the same week in July, 2019, says hotel statisticians STR.
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