With just 42 days left in 2020, you could say the holiday traveling season is going to get an early head-start with Thanksgiving taking place on November 26th and the ensuing weekend that follows.
NOT SO FAST!
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has officially advised the public to forego traveling during Thanksgiving. According to CDC’s COVID-19 incident manager Dr. Henry Walke:
“… [there is] no more important time than now for each and every American to redouble our efforts to watch our distance, wash our hands and, most importantly, wear a mask. If you travel, do so as safely as possible by following the same recommendations for everyday living.”
While this is bad news for anybody who is scheduling a last-minute flight and is willing to pay higher prices, it may not affect people who have already booked a Thanksgiving trip well in advance.
But it will definitely affect the attitude of travelers who intend to fly during the month of December. With passenger traffic at 33% of what it was this same time last year and a collective $20 billion lost by US carriers since the start of 2020, airlines are desperate to make gains before the calendar year of 2021 begins.
They need to sell as many seats as possible while doing everything in their power to prevent as many flight cancelations as possible. They are gathering all of the available evidence to demonstrate that regular air travel possesses an extremely low risk for getting infected with COVID-19.
More importantly, all of this has to happen during the final holiday season of 2020. This is their last chance to take advantage of the seasonal gains in travel demand and passenger volume that come about during the Christmas holidays.
Because once the new year begins and travel levels resume to normal, they’ll have just a few short months of liquidity to live on before some serious moves have to be made. Full-scale liquidation, mergers, bankruptcy filings… it all gets very ugly without a second round of financial aid from the federal government.
What do YOU think is going to happen to travel demand over the upcoming holiday season? Will airlines be able to put a dent in their ever-increasing problem, or will they end up crashing to the ground? Reply to this newsletter and share your predictions with us!
All Middle Seats on Delta Will Be Blocked Until End of Q1 2021
Alongside Alaska Airlines, Delta Airlines is the only remaining US carrier that is committed to blocking the middle seats in their airplanes from being reserved until March 30th, 2021. Whether you are traveling solo or with someone, nobody will be allowed to book the middle seats.
In case it isn’t obvious, this is a HUGE gamble for Delta. Their refusal to free up the middle seats sacrifices extra revenue in exchange for improved public perception. They want their customers to feel safe and comfortable at all times during their flights.
Yet this could easily backfire and lower passenger demand even further, something which they are not in a position to have on their books:
- Q4 2020 revenue is projected to be 65% of what was generated in Q4 2019
- $16 billion of liquidity will remain at the end of 2020
- Daily cash burn is expected to be between $10 million and $12 million by the end of 2020 (Currently at $24 million as of Q3 2020)
Granted, they have enough cash reserves to withstand several months of significantly lower sales without taking any money from the federal government.
But it is entirely possible for the COVID-19 pandemic in America to get much worse, and for that daily cash burn to go up a lot higher…
Some Useful Tips for Renewing Your Passport
Considering that passports are good for 10 years before they expire and need to be renewed, it may be the time to check your passport’s expiry date and see if you’re overdue to get your paperwork in order before your next trip.
According to Travel + Leisure, US-based travelers need to be aware of a few key timelines:
- For international trips, your passport MUST be valid for a minimum of six months past the date of the trip (if you travel within the US, you can use your passport until the day it expires)
- It takes an average of 10-12 weeks to get your passport fully processed for renewal
- Passport renewal can be reduced to 4-6 weeks by paying an additional $60 fee
- You can reduce it even FURTHER to 72 hours if you have an in-person appointment, and pay yet another fee if you want the passport deliver to your home within 1-2 days after it gets printed
And if you hold both the passport book AND the passport card, cumulatively that costs a total of $140 USD.
Just some helpful information for anybody who is eager to travel in the near future and is worried about not being admitted onto a domestic or international flight!
In the COVID-19 Age, Pre-Travel Preparation Is More Important Than Ever
The risk-takers among us are going to travel, COVID-19 pandemic or not. If you are one of such individuals, you’ll need to do more advance preparation to ensure that you stay safe while being in full compliance with new guidelines and laws.
Therefore, here are some things worth considering for your next trip…
- Your destination’s COVID-19 rules: What travel restrictions exist? What rules exist around COVID-19 tests before and after the flight? Will you be required to quarantine once you arrive and/or after you return home?
- Your destination’s COVID-19 resources: Are there COVID-19 testing facilities near your place of rest? What are the cleaning and sanitizing protocols for your hotel/Airbnb? What tourism attractions are open/closed?
- Your OWN COVID-19 resources: This includes items such as coronavirus-related desktop and mobile apps, along with personal protective equipment (face masks, face shields, alcohol wipes, rubbing alcohol hand sanitizers, emergency medical information, etc.).
Above all else, don’t forget to sanitize EVERYTHING you touch! High-contact surfaces, your airplane seat and table, select areas of the hotel you’re staying at, and so on.
It’s quite a bit of extra work to ask for, but such is the price you will have to pay if you want to travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Data from Google Maps Reveals How to Avoid Crowds at ANY Location!
Google often gets some very targeted criticism for the way they collect and aggregate so much user data. In their defense, however, that data can be used to show us some very interesting trends.
In the case of Google Maps, you can get a rough idea of when certain places are the most crowded and the least crowded. Whenever you search up a spot on Google Maps, there should be a category below their phone number and description that is called “Popular Times.” It’s a visual indicator of how busy a location is throughout the course of the entire day.
But if you want to skip all that and get a general sense for when certain places in the US are not as busy during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, here’s what you need to know:
- Parks: Least busy on Monday-Friday at 9am, most busy on Saturday at 4pm
- Grocery stores: Least busy on Monday at 8am, most busy on Saturday at 12-3pm
- Pharmacies: Least busy on Monday at 9am, most busy on Friday at 3pm
- Coffee shops: Least busy on Tuesday at 4pm, most busy on Saturday at 10am
- Restaurants: Least busy on Tuesday at 3pm, most busy on Friday at 6pm
From my personal experience, this isn’t too far off from what you could expect to see during pre-pandemic times. All you have to do is go to these locations when everyone else isn’t usually visiting them and you’ll be golden!
Nine Days of Protesting Later, Denmark’s Mandatory Vaccination Law Is GONE!
Denmark has been the #1 interest of the European Union for the past nine days. After Danish authorities wanted to enact a law that granted police the authority to physical FORCE citizens to take a COVID-19 vaccine. And of course, “certain groups” would be defined by the Danish Health Authority as mandatory for receiving said vaccine.
This led to nine days of non-stop protests in the streets. While the vaccine issue was enough to incite anger from Danish citizens, other initiatives such as “forced physical exams” and “mandatory quarantine measures” added more fuel to the fire.
Fortunately, the government of Denmark has officially abandoned the law and it is no longer under consideration (for now).
While this is an incredible victory for our individual freedoms, this is one battle in a very long war. Several sectors, such as entertainment and aviation, are already toying with the idea of refusing service to anybody who does not get vaccinated for COVID-19. And governments will inevitably come up with new ways to punish anybody who refuses to get the vaccine.
What do YOU think about this recent news? Should people have the right to refuse the COVID-19 vaccine without being barred from employment, public transport, or other services? Reply to this newsletter and share your opinion on this matter with us!