Summer Special Report
September 3-9, 2022
Read all about the summer chaos! The TSA screened more travelers over the Labor Day weekend than in 2019, the first holidays season since the pandemic that volume passed 2019 volume. The British pound has fallen to its lowest level against the U.S. dollar in more than 35 years. U.S. travel to Israel has now surpassed 2019 volume. New York drops its public-transit mask mandate. Taiwan reopens to visitors, but will require a three-day quarantine. Lufthansa dodges another pilot strike, but Qantas may be hit by a ground handlers work stoppage next week. Only around 100 international flights a day reach China compared to more than 2,600 before the pandemic. U.S. hotel rates are 20% higher than in September, 2019. And more.
Summer Travel Update: Friday, Sept. 9, 2022
The average daily room rate at hotels nationwide is now 20.9% higher than it was in early September, 2019, according to lodging statisticians STR. Occupancy rates for the week ended September 3 was 62.8%, down a few points from a similar week in 2019. The revPAR (revenue per available room), a key indicator of hotel profitability, is up 24.6% over 2019. Here are today's other developments:
The TSA says that it screened 2,106,401 million travelers at U.S. airports yesterday. That is 86% of the volume on a similar day in September, 2019, which is substantially lower than in recent days.
Italian railroads were hit with a one-day strike today as workers protested a violent attack on a conductor by a passenger in Naples. Meanwhile, British rail workers called off strikes planned for September 15 and 17 after yesterday's death of Queen Elizabeth II. Reuters has those details
Asian hubs continue to struggle to recover pre-pandemic traffic levels. Changi in Singapore, for example, operated with 56.6% of the number of airline seats in July compared to its capacity in July, 2019. Bangkok was at 54.2% and Kuala Lumpur operated with 45.2% of 2019 capacity. OAG, the industry's schedulekeeper, has details
The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the United States today is $3.738. That's a drop of 1.3 cents from yesterday, exactly the same fall as the previous day, says the AAA.
Summer Travel Update: Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022
Queen Elizabeth II, longest-serving monarch in British history, died this afternoon (local time) at Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. To put her 96 years in aviation perspective, she was born before Charles Lindbergh's solo transatlantic nonstop flight, began her 70-year reign before the first commercial jet flight, witnessed the birth of supersonic and jumbo jets and is honored with the Queen's Terminal (numbered T 2) at London's Heathrow Airport. Here are today's other developments:
Back to the future
The TSA says that it screened 1,829,557 million travelers at U.S. airports yesterday. That is 91.2% of the volume on a similar day in September, 2019. It is a sharp percentage decline from Tuesday, when traffic surpassed 2019 volume.
The Great Wall of Chinese flights
China now receives about 100 international flights a day compared to more than 2,600 before the pandemic began. The sharp decline is due to China's brutal Coronavirus restrictions and its commitment to a "Covid zero" policy other nations have abandoned. Bloomberg has details
The Dutch government is raising the departure tax on flights to more than 28 euros from the current 8 euros. The new levy is effective January 1 and applies to travelers departing from the Netherlands. It will not apply to connecting flights via Amsterdam, however.
There are strikes planned for the Netherlands tomorrow (September 9) as well as September 13 and 15. British rail strikes are scheduled for September 15, 17 and 26, but those stoppages may be affected by the death of Queen Elizabeth. DutchNews.nl has details
on the Netherlands strikes.
The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the United States today is $3.751. That's a drop of 1.3 cents from yesterday and 7.8 cents in the last week, says the AAA.
Summer Travel Update: Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022
Three U.S. Senators have tested positive for Covid this week. Bob Menendez (NJ) and Jon Ossoff (GA) both revealed their conditions today. Jacky Rosen (NV) tested positive yesterday. TheHill.com has details
. Here are today's other developments:
Another plus day
The TSA says that it screened 2,079,005 million travelers yesterday. That is 107% of the volume on a similar day in September, 2019. Labor Day weekend traffic also exceeded 2019 volume.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced today that she has lifted the mask mandate for mass transit in the state. That includes buses, subways and commuter trains in New York City. Reuters has details
They keep trying
Mainstream media types keep trying to make "bileisure" a thing without realizing that business travelers have been tacking leisure time onto business travel for decades. The Wall Street Journal
has the latest credulous details
complete with a post-pandemic twist.
InterContinental Hotels has confirmed that a cyber attack has played havoc with IHG's Web site, app and other information systems. CoStar has details
The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the United States today is "just" $3.764, 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: Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022
Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious diseases doctor, says Americans are likely to need annual Covid-19 booster shots, much as they need an annual flu shot. TheHill.com has details
. Here are today's other developments:
And just like that ...
The TSA says that it screened 8.76 million travelers over the Labor Day Weekend (Friday to Monday). That is 102% of the volume over the Labor Day weekend in 2019, the last pre-Covid holiday period. It's the first time that any
holiday during the pandemic surpassed pre-Covid volume.
The government of Croatia says that 15 million tourists arrived in the country from January to August. That is 91% of 2019 volume. In August, Croatia hosted 4.6 million arrivals, 92% of 2019 levels.
The pound is lighter
The British pound has fallen to $1.14 against the U.S. dollar, the lowest level since 1985. The Wall Street Journal
Summer Travel Update: Monday, Sept. 5, 2022
Thirty-three Chinese cities, including seven provincial capitals, are under full or partial lockdown covering more than 65 million people while China continues to pursue a "zero Covid" policy. It's, um, not working. The Associated Press has the latest details
. Here are today's other developments:
Scheduled to fly Qantas internationally on Monday, September 12? Pay attention: a ground handlers strike will play havoc with schedules at Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide airports. AustralianAviation.com has details
Lufthansa is lucky
A one-day pilot strike last week wiped out virtually all Lufthansa flights and inconvenienced 130,000 travelers. Another strike was announced today for tomorrow, but the airline and the pilots have come to a last-minute wage agreement to halt the job action.
Three (locked-down) days in Taiwan
Taiwan says it will allow visa-free entry for travelers from the United States and Canada beginning Monday, September 12. But there is a catch. The open borders still come with substantial Covid strings: a PCR test on arrival and a mandatory three-day quarantine at a government-approved hotel.
Commercial passenger flights in Europe for the week ended September 4 fell .5% from the previous week and remains down 12% compared to 2019, according to Eurocontrol, which operates the continent's air traffic control.
Summer Travel Update: Weekend, Sept. 3-4, 2022
Businesspeople continue to resist mass returns to the office. In Washington, for example, office occupancy is around 38-40% of pre-pandemic levels. Metrorail, the Washington-area subway system, is at 40% of pre-pandemic ridership. Longer-haul commuter rail in the region is doing even more poorly. Car traffic is also down, running about 93% of volume compared to before the pandemic. The Washington Post
. Here are this weekend's other developments.
The Holy Land, wholly recovered
Travel to Israel from the United States in July was 4.5% above pre-pandemic levels. And, naturally, Delta, United and American airlines are responding with new flights atop the restored schedules they have already announced. Airline Weekly
International travel to and from the United States is growing again although numbers remain below pre-pandemic levels. According to the National Travel and Tourism Office, international travel to the United States was 64.2% of pre-Covid levels in June, 2019. Outbound international travel is doing even better, reaching 83% of departures in June, 2019.
Depends on where you look
Europe's flying revival is spotty. Eurocontrol, which operates the continent's air traffic control, says flight operations at Istanbul are 2% above 2019 levels. But Frankfurt and Munich, Germany's two hubs, are each down more than 20%. London/Heathrow is down 19% and Amsterdam is off 14%. Airports in Paris and Madrid, two other large transit cities, are each down 16%.
Saville Row, London's iconic street for bespoke garments, is in a battle for its tailored soul. While some international business is returning now that the pandemic is winding down, the area's landlords have plans to restyle the street with more mixed-use operations, including cocktail lounges, restaurants and other retail businesses. The Wall Street Journal
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