We are nearing the 10-month anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic and an awful lot has changed since then… perhaps permanently.
This is most definitely the case in major airlines across the United States, which have acted rapidly to make universal COVID-19 testing a standard practice for all passengers. Just like the increased security checks that are now normal after the tragic 9/11 terrorist attack that took place nearly 20 years ago.
So which US airlines are offering COVID-19 nowadays, and how are they doing it? Here are the ones you need to know about, per travel magazine Travel + Leisure:
American Airlines: Pre-flight testing for all domestic flights within the US, along with flights to London and select Caribbean destinations. One test 72 hours before flying, one test upon landing, and one test at home 72 hours after arrival.
Alaska Airlines: You can test yourself at home for $140 with an at-home kit, or at the airport itself for $135-170. To date, every single destination available on their flight schedule requires pre-flight testing.
Frontier Airlines: Mandatory temperature checks for all staff and passengers, with mask wearing on flights becoming mandatory. No COVID-19 testing is offered to date, but this could change very soon.
Hawaiian Airlines: All passengers arriving to Hawaii can take an at-home test for $119, or get it for $90 at a drive-thru in select cities. If you have frequent flyer miles, you can order a test kit to be delivered to your home for 14,000 miles.
JetBlue: In partnership with Vault Health, you get tested at COVID-19 at home via an FDA-approved kit that uses your saliva as a sample. You will be watched by a supervisor via webcam as you self-administer the test. Within 72 hours, you get your results back.
Spirit Airlines: This is not widespread, but a COVID-19 testing program has opened up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida which allows any passenger to get tested without having to fly with Spirit. $106 is the cost for a PCR test, while a rapid antigen test costs $74.
I could go on and on with every single airline, but I think the point has very clearly been made.
By the end of 2021, every single airline will have their COVID-19 testing programs fully locked, loaded, and vetted. If an airline doesn’t currently offer testing, you can bet your bottom dollar they will.
And just from the looks of things, this form of diagnostic testing will be VERY lucrative for the companies who make these tests. We’ll be testing people non-stop for the next decade and there will always be a surge in demand for said tests.
Combine the insatiable desire for people to start traveling again with the costs of these tests and you have a guaranteed money-making business. I’m not 100% with it, but if it restores the travel industry back to its former glory days, then why not?
What do YOU think about the increasing prevalence of COVID-19 testing in airports? Would you be willing to get tested before flying, or are you going to hold off? Reply to this newsletter and tell us what your plans are!
Boeing Is DESPERATE to Get the 737 MAX Flying Again
There is nobody more desperate to see the 737 MAX soaring in the sky than Boeing themselves. So much so, in fact, that they are actively recruiting and hiring pilots to help more of their aircraft get put onto the flight schedules of several major US airlines.
According to travel magazine TravelPulse, this plan is quite intensive in both scope and cost:
“The plan, tentatively called ‘Global Engagement Pilots’, will have pilots act as instructors or cockpit observers on 35-day assignments at an equivalent annual salary that could reach $200,000, for a total potential cost of $32 million to Boeing.
The plan also includes 24/7 surveillance of 737 MAX flights globally and talking points for flight attendants to reassure passengers who have reservations about getting on that model again.”
And not just any pilots, either: Not only do they need a license to fly the 737 series, but their records have to be damn near perfect. No incidents, no violations, no losses, no accidents, and at least 1,000 hours of instructor experience.
It’s definitely a loss for the company, but all of this is being done with the hopes that people will trust Boeing once again and feel comfortable flying on their planes. They already got a second chance from the Federal Aviation Administration, and it’s up to them not to screw it up.
This Russian Airline Has an Interesting Approach to “Maskless” Passengers
We’ve heard numerous horror stories about people getting kicked off of flights and banned from airlines because of their refusal to wear a face mask for the entire duration of their trip (obvious exceptions for eating and drinking).
But Russian airline Aeroflot has a completely different approach to this common problem: Rather than prevent “maskless” passengers from boarding their flight, a separate section of their planes have been designated for people who cannot – or will not – wear face masks. Face masks are mandatory during boarding, but not once they are seated.
And where will this section be located? The very last two rows on the right side of the cabin in the economy class.
Unlike other countries in the world, mask mandates are not strictly enforced by the nation of Russia. While you have to wear them in public places, they are far more relaxed in ensuring people follow this rule.
Plus, I suspect that Russia is more desperate than other countries to restart their tourism sector. If this idea means planes can be filled up to 100% occupancy, then so be it. The only question on my mind is whether they can successfully prevent the spread of COVID-19 through this innovative measure…
According to the King of Sweden, the Country’s Response to COVID-19 Has Failed
I don’t know if I should believe the mainstream media or not, but supposedly Sweden is now seriously struggling to deal with an unexplainable second wave of COVID-19 that is apparently even bigger and more prevalent than the first one back in March.
As the country enacts stricter lockdown measures, such as the limitation of private gatherings and the encouragement to avoid all forms of public transit where possible, many people are speaking out about future of Sweden. One of such individuals is Carl XVI Gustaf, the king of Sweden:
“I think we have failed. A large number have died and that is terrible… The people of Sweden have suffered tremendously in difficult conditions. One thinks of all the families who have been unable to say goodbye to deceased family members. It is a tough and traumatic experience not to be able to say a warm goodbye.”
To date, there are around 349,000 COVID-19 infections and 7,802 coronavirus-caused deaths. Doesn’t sound like a big number, but you have to consider these numbers in relation to the total population of Sweden.
Let’s hope that whatever they do this time ends up working as they intend to.
Get Ready for the US Dollar to Tank
In forex-related news, it is being projected that the US dollar will continue to shrink in value over the next year or so. This was reflected in yesterday’s trading session and it appears this drop isn’t a one-day event.
According to MarketWatch, numerous factors are playing into this new trend:
“The latest blow to the dollar came from the Fed, which vowed not to touch policy even if the outlook for the US economy brightens as it now expects.
Weakness also reflected rising expectations that Washington lawmakers will finally agree on an economic rescue package that’s seen as necessary to shore up a sagging recovery.
The ICE US Dollar Index, which measures the currency against a basket of six major rivals, slumped 0.7% to 89.828, trading below 90 for the first time since April 2018. It’s down 6.8% so far this year.
A falling dollar is typically seen as a positive for US and global equities as well as the world economy. It’s also seen as the potential missing ingredient for a bullish turnabout in commodities priced in the dollar.”
Something to be mindful of for anybody who is engaged in the foreign exchange market for long-term investing. If you’re a day trader, however, this is just something to keep at the back of your head.
What do YOU think will happen to the US dollar in 2021? Will it continue to shrink, or will it go up? Reply to this newsletter and share your predictions with us!
The Rise of the Genetically Engineered Super-Soldier
Let’s end today’s newsletter with something a bit more exciting and sinister!
According to recently leaked news, France’s military is starting to take a strong interest in the development of enhanced super-soldiers. Bionic enhancements for improved performance, genetic engineering to provide fighters with inhuman superpowers, and all the fun stuff you hear about in science-fiction novels.
“The country’s military leaders believe that it is necessary to develop this technology because not doing so would allow other countries to get ahead and gain a military advantage.
Defense Minister Florence Parly also pointed out that similar technologies, such as neural implants, have already been introduced to civilian fields without much controversy.”
Every nation in the world – including superpowers China and the United States – are doing their best to blur the line between ethics and developing the most powerful military. We don’t have any clue of what the future holds for military applications, but you can bet they’ll do whatever it takes to maintain their position as indomitable enemies.
In other words… whatever you’re seeing on the television may very well be a normal part of the army someday soon!