Summer Special Report
July 30 to August 5, 2022
Read all about the summer chaos! An average of 2.267 million people per day passed through TSA airport security checkpoints in July. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport will continue capacity restrictions until October and British Airways has barred some ticket sales until mid-September. Tonga and Easter Island reopen to visitors for the first time in more than two years. Average gasoline prices in the United States have fallen for 52 consecutive days and are now 90 cents off June's all-time high. French high-speed trains keep breaking down and stranding passengers. Experts say Canada's restrictions on travel did retard the spread of Covid, but it was a qualified success. And more.
Summer Travel Update: Friday, August 5, 2022
Yesterday ended up as one of the worst days of summer for flying. FlightStats.com reports that there were more than 1,200 cancellations in the United States and more than 8,200 delays. That is snowstorm-bad performance. Evening storms along the East Coast plagued the usual suspects: New York/LaGuardia (18% cancelled), Washington/National (17%) and BWI (12%) were the worst. An early-morning rainstorm in Phoenix, home to American and Southwest hubs, was no help. Here are today's other developments:
The TSA says that 2,345,429 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints yesterday. Of course, given the day's high cancellation rate, we don't actually know how many of those people actually got to fly. In any case, the number represents 86.6% of the volume on a similar day in 2019. It also tracks with Wednesday's volume.
Of course ...
This cruel, cruel summer has had just about everything awful on the road. So, of course, there's a new outbreak of Legionnaire's Disease in a hotel. Medical investigators have found an outbreak in a cooling tower of an Embassy Suites in the Napa Valley. At least one person has died and 11 have been hospitalized. TheHill.com has details
Hotels are happy ...
The hotel industry continues to rebound from the pandemic, according to lodging statisticians STR. For the week ended July 30, nationwide average occupancy was 71.9%, down fewer than 4 points compared to a similar week in 2019. Average daily rate is up more than 18% and the revenue per available room, a key indicator of profitability, was nearly 14% higher than in 2019.
Speaking of which ...
The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the United States today is $4.113, says the AAA. It's the 52nd consecutive day that prices have declined and the "average" driver is paying 90 cents less than the record high of $5.016 set on June 14. Also noted: GasBuddy.com reports that a 7-11 in Yukon, Oklahoma, yesterday began selling regular gas for $2.99, the first tracked station below $3 a gallon.
Spain bouncing back
Spain hosted 30.2 million international visitors in the first six months of the year. That's about 80% of pre-pandemic levels.
The first look
Norse Atlantic, the de facto replacement for Norwegian Air, says it registered an 86% load factor in July, its first full month of transatlantic operation.
Summer Travel Update: Thursday, August 4, 2022
President Joe Biden tested positive for Covid for the sixth consecutive day, which really raises questions about the dosing and efficacy of Paxlovid. TheHill.com has details
. Here are today's other developments:
The TSA says that 2,105,975 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints yesterday. It represents 86.6% of the volume on a similar Wednesday in 2019.
Boston blues--and oranges
The MBTA, which operates Boston's T urban rail system, says the Orange Line will close on August 19 for a month to complete repairs. By far the largest of Boston's color-coded trains, the Orange Line handled an average of 218,000 weekday trips before the pandemic. Daily volume is about 104,000 now. The Boston Globe
Back to "normal"
The price of crude oil briefly fell below $90 a barrel for the first time since early February, before Russia invaded Ukraine.
Speaking of which ...
The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the United States today is $4.139, says the AAA. It's the 51st consecutive day that prices have declined and the "average" driver is paying nearly 90 cents less than the record high of $5.016 set on June 14.
Not so overtouristed now
Amsterdam was so overrun with tourists before the pandemic that Dutch officials actively discouraged visitors. Now? Not so much. Visits to the Netherlands' largest city during the first five months of the year remained 40% below 2019 levels.
Canada's strict travel rules put into place at the beginning of the pandemic did help control the spread of Covid. But the success was a qualified one. CTV News reports
on a new peer-reviewed study.
And you think you have travel troubles ...
Jeff Bezos' still-unfinished mega-yacht has been towed from its Dutch shipbuilding yard. Had the 417-foot, three-masted ship been completed, parts of an historic bridge in Rotterdam would have had to be disassembled to allow the yacht to reach the sea. Needless to say, residents weren't interested in accommodating the Amazon.com founder. The New York Post
Summer Travel Update: Wednesday, August 3, 2022
Americans have moved on emotionally from Covid. But what happens when Covid, which isn't done with us, interrupts your travel plans? Are hotels and airlines still offering flexibility and refunds if you have to cancel? What do you think? The Wall Street Journal
. Here are today's other developments:
Take a breather ...
The TSA says 2,044,931 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints yesterday. It represents 85.6% of the volume on a similar Tuesday in 2019. However, it's the lowest one-day volume since June 4, when passenger traffic last fell below 2 million.
Good news and bad
The Transportation Department says U.S commercial airlines consumed 11.1% less fuel in June than in June, 2019. But the cost of a gallon of jet fuel ($4.04) was essentially double the $2.03 that carriers paid in June, 2019.
Not there yet
OAG, the airline industry schedulekeepers, says global airlines are operating about 102 million seats in the early days of August. That's 14% below seat capacity during a similar period in 2019, however.
Pumping the brakes II
The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the United States today is $4.163, says the AAA. It's the 50th consecutive day that prices have declined and the "average" driver is paying about 85 cents less than the record high of $5.016 set on June 14.
Summer Travel Update: Tuesday, August 2, 2022
Feel bad about your carbon footprint when you fly? Celebrities and their private jets are much
worse. Planes affiliated with celebrities emitted roughly 480 times more carbon dioxide than an average person’s annual emissions. The Washington Post
. Here are today's other developments:
The TSA says that 2,358,196 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints yesterday, almost exactly the same as last Monday. It represents 90% of volume on a similar Monday in 2019, which is also almost exactly the same as last Monday.
An average of 2.267 million people per day passed through TSA airport security checkpoints in July. That's 88% of the pre-pandemic 2019 volume in July, 2019.
But, meanwhile ...
Denver Airport handled 32.2 million passengers in the first half of 2022, just 1.6% short of the traffic in the first half of 2019.
The chaos at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport may never end. The airport says it will continue its capacity restrictions through the end of the summer schedule. (That's October 29 and let's not tell the travel industry that October 29 is well into autumn.) That will limit the number of seats on departing flights from AMS to as few as 104,000 per day. Late August days will have as many as 133,000 departing seats, however.
British Airways says it will continue to bar sales of short-haul tickets from its London/Heathrow hub until August 15. Restrictions on seat sales on some longer-haul flights will continue until September 11. Unsold seats are being reserved to reaccommodate passengers whose current flights will be cancelled.
Summer Travel Update: Monday, August 1, 2022
President Joe Biden tested positive for Covid for the second consecutive day. No word on whether he'll be prescribed another course of Paxlovid or other drugs to address the breakthrough infection. Here are today's other developments:
Another seven million people just got off of the plane
The TSA says that 7 million people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints this weekend (Friday-Sunday) It is 90.2% of the volume on a similar weekend in 2019 when nearly 7.78 million people passed through checkpoints.
It could get worse in Germany
Travelers in Germany, who just survived a strike of Lufthansa ground workers, may be in for more misery in August. More than 97% of the carrier's pilot union voted for a job action later this month if negotiations fail. Dates were not announced.
Pacific overtures I
Easter Island officially reopened to tourists today (local time) for the first time after more than two years of Coronavirus restrictions. Agence France-Presse has details
Pacific overtures II
Tonga officially reopened to tourists today (local time) for the first time after more than two years of Coronavirus restrictions. Agence France-Presse has those details
Summer Travel Update: Weekend, July 30-31, 2022
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to visit to Taiwan this week. That's led to a rush of users signing up for flight-tracking Web sites and apps. Several say they've already reached maximum capacity. Astounding since Pelosi has yet to confirm the stop, which is infuriating mainland China. Here are this weekend's other developments.
Still another breakdown of a high-speed Thalys trainset forced hundreds of passengers to sleep in nearby carriages provided by the French operator. Other riders accepted hotel vouchers only to find there were literally no rooms at the inn when they arrived. The train broke down near Tournai, Belgium. The English-language Brussels Times
Recreation.gov, the federal government's online portal to book accommodations and access to national parks and other federal lands, isn't working so well. It is just one more summer headache for travelers. The New York Times
Hotel hot sheets
Average hotel occupancy in the United States reached its highest level since August, 2019, according to lodging statisticians STR. For the week ended July 23, STR says occupancy was 72.8%, just six points below a similar week in 2019. However, the average daily rate was up more than 16% and revenue per available room, a key measure of profitability, was 9.3% above 2019.
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