Summer Special Report
August 20 to August 26, 2022
Read all about the summer chaos! Monday was the Worst. Summer Flying Day. Ever. The TSA says that passenger traffic on Tuesday was the lowest since early May. Japan ends Covid testing requirements--if you're vaccinated with three shots. Russian travelers are driving fancy cars to Helsinki to catch flights. The Cayman Islands lifts Covid-related restrictions. London's Gatwick Airport ends passenger caps at the end of the month. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport melts down again. The United States and China restrict flights between the two nations as pandemic politics continue. And more.

Summer Travel Update: Friday, Aug. 26, 2022

Before the pandemic, there were more than 100 daily flights between the United States and China. But politics and pandemic have slashed that number to a few dozen and the two nations have been squabbling over rules, testing and virtually everything. Now they are restricting flights again in a tit-for-tat that only hurts passengers who pay jacked-up fares. The United States this week chopped more than two dozen flights off the schedule in retaliation for earlier Chinese actions against U.S. airlines. Reuters has details. Here are today's other developments:
        Slowdown   The TSA says that 2,255,206 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints yesterday. It's the slowest Thursday of this month. It also represents 88% of volume on a comparative day in 2019.
        After Paris burns ...   A scorching heatwave and drought this summer--not to mention raging wildfires--have the French thinking about the causes of climate change. One area they've pinpointed: private jets, which are big polluters compared to commercial flights. The French think one solution is to ban, restrict or heavily tax private-jet operations. The New York Times has details.
        Noted   The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the United States today is $3.869, says the AAA. It continues the daily decline that began immediately after gasoline hit a record high of $5.01 on June 14. However, prices are now dropping a penny or less a day compared to multi-cent daily declines earlier in the summer.
        A mandate on mandates   A District of Columbia judge has ruled against a vaccine mandate for DC employees imposed by Mayor Muriel Bowser. The judge ordered the District to end its vaccine mandate and reverse disciplinary actions taken against District employees who refused a vaccination. The DCist.com has details.

Summer Travel Update: Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has once again apologized for the airline's awful day-to-day operations. "On behalf of the national carrier, I want to apologise," he says. His mea culpa came with some make-goods and status perks, but no concrete plans to curtail cancellations, cut delays and stop losing luggage. ExecutiveTraveller.com, an Australian site, has details. Here are today's other developments:
        Seasonal plunge II   The TSA says 1,984,006 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints yesterday. That's two consecutive days below two million flyers, the first time that's happened since May 3 and May 4. On the other hand, it also represents 90.7% of volume on a comparative day in 2019.
        Tunnel vision   Dozens of passengers were left stranded for hours inside the Channel Tunnel after a train from Calais, France, to Folkestone, England, broke down. The BBC has details.
        And you didn't even notice ...   Aha, a rebranding of the ExpressJet commuter operation, quietly folded on Tuesday. The airline had been flying to 12 Western cities from a hub in Reno, Nevada. It was using Embraer 145 aircraft repurposed after ExpressJet lost its contract to fly as a United Express commuter carrier. The company filed for bankruptcy in Delaware on Tuesday morning and promptly suspended all flights.
        Oh, Canada!   Average daily occupancy at hotels in Canada was 75.5% in July, the first time occupancy exceeded a similar month in 2019 since the pandemic began. Lodging statisticians STR adds that average daily rate in July was C$214.77, about 16% higher than in July, 2019.
        It's back   Delayed two years by Covid restrictions, the Passion Play is back for its once-every-ten-years run in the town of Oberammergau, Germany. The New York Times has details.
        Still falling   The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the United States today is "just" $3.878, says the AAA. It continues the daily decline that began when gasoline hit a record high of $5.01 on June 14.

Summer Travel Update: Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022

Just a week after she first tested positive for Covid, First Lady Jill Biden has been diagnosed with a "rebound" case of the virus. TheHill.com has details. Here are today's other developments:
        Seasonal plunge   The TSA says that 1,941,786 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints yesterday. That's the lowest daily volume since May 10. On the other hand, it also represents 96.3% of volume on a comparative day in 2019. It's the second consecutive day above 90% of 2019 volume.
        Sign on the window says lonely ...   Japan will lift its Coronavirus testing requirement for incoming travelers who have been vaccinated with three shots. The change is effective September 7. However, the country will still cap the number of visitors allowed to enter the country. The current limit is 20,000 visitors daily. That will rise, but the new cap has not been announced. The Washington Post has details.
        Europe's uneven skies   The incredibly uneven recovery in European air travel is highlighted by the latest report from Eurocontrol, which operates the continent's air traffic control system. For the week ended August 23, the number of flights in Norway and Greece were each up 7% compared to 2019. But Germany is down 19%, Britain is down 16%, France is off 13% and the Netherlands is off 12%.
        Gassy stuff   The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the United States today is $3.883, says the AAA. That's six cents below last Wednesday--and it continues the daily decline that began when gasoline hit $5.01 on June 14.

Summer Travel Update: Tuesday, August 23, 2022

The euro is not only hurting, it's once again below "parity" with the U.S. dollar. The pan-European currency is trading on money markets today at 99 cents. The official rate was set at $1.17 when the euro premiered as a street currency in 2002. Here are today's other developments:
        Nine in ten travelers   The TSA says 2,239,357 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints yesterday. It represents 94.9% of volume on a similar Monday in 2019. We don't know how many of the potential passengers actually flew given Monday's hideous storms and mass cancellations. (See below.)
        Worst. Flying day. Ever.   What happens when there is record rain in the Dallas Metroplex--nine inches fell in 24 hours--and storms in the New York Metropolitan Area? The worst flying day of the summer on Monday. Nationwide, FlightStats.com registered nearly 1,500 cancellations and more than 8,400 delays. The nexus of the hurt was New York and Dallas. About 25% of the schedule was washed away at Newark and 21% at LaGuardia. Dallas/Fort Worth dumped 15% of flights; 10% were cancelled at Dallas/Love. Nearby, Austin/Bergstrom lost 12% of its schedule.
        Meanwhile, in Europe, too ...   Bad weather drove delays up 39% compared to last week, says Eurocontrol, the continent's air traffic control system.
        Baby, you can drive my car   Parking lots of Helsinki/Vantaa Airport are suddenly crowded with luxury vehicles. Why? Wealthy Russians are driving across the border to fly from Vantaa now that flights to/from Russia have mostly ended due to sanctions imposed after the Ukraine invasion. Agence France-Presse has details.

Summer Travel Update: Monday, August 22, 2022

Dr. Anthony Fauci, who previously indicated he would leave government service by the end of the Biden Administration, now says that he'll depart in December as chief medical advisor to the President and head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Fauci, 81, has served every president since the Reagan Administration. The Hill has details. Here are today's other developments:
        Slower, but ...   The TSA says that 6.64 million people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints this weekend (Friday-Sunday), the slowest weekend so far in August. However, it is 93.7% of the volume on a similar weekend in 2019, higher than the previous two weekend this month.
        Caymans cool out   Effective August 24, 2022, all travelers, regardless of vaccine status, will be permitted to enter the Cayman Islands without the need of any additional documents or Covid-related measures. The details are here.
        Hit the road, Jack (and Jill)   You know the claim: "We can work from anywhere" thanks to high-tech tools. Now some well-to-do businesspeople are doing it--literally. They've kitted out top-of-the-line RVs with, um, "home" offices and work along the way. The Wall Street Journal has details.

Summer Travel Update: Weekend, Aug. 20-21, 2022

London/Heathrow Airport has extended its flight caps on passengers, but London's second-busiest airport, Gatwick, won't follow suit. It says passenger caps, imposed earlier this year, will expire as planned at the end of August. Here are this weekend's other developments.
        The "dike" breaks again   The situation had stabilized at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport in recent weeks. Lines were still long and mishandled baggage reports were still too high, but not at the levels seen earlier this summer. Well, all "good" things must come to an end. Schiphol is in chaos again. Aviation24 has details.
        I'm only sleeping   Ethiopian Airlines says that it suspended two pilots who fell asleep and missed their landing during a flight from Khartoum, Sudan, to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Tuko, a Kenyan Web site, has details.
        Melting away   Tourism to Cuba is still a fraction of pre-pandemic levels, but Cuban officials are hoping to be rescued by some old friends: Russians. Since Russians can't easily reach other places due to flight restrictions imposed after Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Cuba hopes they'll consider the island's sandy beaches and sunny skies. Agence France-Presse has details.

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.