International Travelers Not Screened at US Airports for COVID-19?

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Airports have been working day and night to screen as many passengers as possible for COVID-19, both ingoing and outgoing. It will definitely be a part of any traveler’s lifestyle for the next five years at least. 

But in a very shocking move nobody saw coming from a mile away, international travelers coming into the United States will no longer be subject to COVID-19 screenings. This is not hearsay – the news comes directly from the federal government! As of September 14th, all of the screenings for this particular subset of travelers will be halted. 

Just like any other airport, all incoming passengers are forced to take a COVID-19 questionnaire, provide their personal contact details, and get their temperature checked before they get to go through customs. 

The nature of the decision and the timing of the decision are surprisingly suspect. We haven’t made nearly enough progress to warrant this kind of cancelation. What’s even more bizarre is how a post-flight screening progress doesn’t even exist for domestic flights!

If anything, the move seems quite premature in nature. And since the White House is refusing to provide any further comments to news outlets, the entire aviation industry is currently left in a state of shock. 

For the sake of the country, I really do hope there is a much larger and more valid reason behind this that we are unable to see right now. 

Yes, COVID-19 is less of a significant issue than it was back in February. But we are nowhere near close to having eradicated the virus and complacency will only serve to sabotage all the progress we’ve made to date. 

What do YOU think about this unorthodox announcement? Too soon, or just the right time to make it? Reply to this newsletter and let us know your thoughts!

Increased US Air Travel Won’t Stop Airlines from Begging for More Bailouts…

Yesterday’s newsletter started off with some rather optimistic news about the increase in domestic air travel within the United States. Specifically, 65 million passengers were screened by the TSA from Memorial Day until the end of the Labor Day weekend (a 76% decrease from the 269 million screened last year during the same time period).

However, US-based airlines are still adamant about a second round of billion-dollar bailouts even larger than the first ones they got. While travel demand has slightly recovered, it is still largely flat over the past 8 months and will take several years before it returns to normal.

Remember that October 1st marks the day when the CARES Act expires. Airlines will no longer be obligated to maintain a minimal level of flying activity or keep all of their employees on payroll. In fact, a combined 100,000 jobs are expected to be eliminated without additional funding. 

This would also result in canceling the number of flights that airlines can offer, and consequently it will have a negative impact on the airplane manufacturers who have pending orders to process. Some airlines may even go bankrupt for good!

We only have three more weeks before the October 1st deadline, and anything can happen between now and then… so, we need a solution, and we need it RIGHT NOW! 

Playa Del Carmen’s “Work and Learn from Paradise” Sounds Like Nomad Heaven

Visiting Mexico may be the last thing on your mind right now, but Playa Del Carmen wants to change your mind with their 14-day “Work and Learn from Paradise” program. 

Here’s what you get if you decide to pull the trigger:

  • For 14 days, you get to stay in an expanded suite room and experience all-inclusive benefits
  • Spa treatments are 100% free
  • Upgraded WiFi access for serious remote workers with high demands

To date, over 1 million in revenue has been generated by this program that appears to be catered towards families as well. Children can attend online learning classes, parents can get some serious work done, and then the entire family gets to relax in a high-end Mexico resort. The pools, the great foods, the parties – all of it is part of the package. 

This program has gotten so many bookings and interest to the point where other hotels are explicitly imitating Playa Del Carmen’s flagship program. It is currently being offered at the Hyatt Ziva and Zilara in Jamaica and Cancun, and is soon to be offered in Los Cabos as well. 

I don’t know about you, but it’s hard to turn down that kind of offer. It’s the perfect mix of business and some much-needed R&R!

Even a Stock Market Rebound Can’t Help Airline Stocks…

For those of you who are vigorously watching the stock market, you will have noticed that yesterday’s trading session provided a much-needed boost to all of the stock indices and the major technology companies within them. But airline stocks didn’t quite receive that same positive momentum and continued to keep sliding down. 

Two reasons for this…

One, as I mentioned in an earlier story, there is a growing level of uncertainty in regard to a second round of billion-dollar loans for airlines based in the United States. We’re really pushing the October 1st deadline and no meaningful progress has been made in anyone receiving any federal aid. 

Two, air travel recovery has been rather disappointing. Even in cases such as the Labor Day weekend where there was a big jump in travel demand, it is still flat when looked at from a long-term perspective. Moreover, many airlines are still burning through millions of dollars every day and haven’t made much improvement in the financial department. 

Both reasons are very troubling for investors and gives them no confidence in any of the major aviation players. But for the sake of airlines in the US and around the world, I can only hope a turnaround happens real soon…

“Bubble Cruises”: Coming Soon to a Cruise Line Near You

Lindblad Expeditions, a cruise line that is desperate to return to 2019, has come up with some innovative strategies for guaranteeing a safe experience to all of its travelers:

  • All passengers must get a negative COVID-19 test prior to boarding the cruise ship
  • They will be sent to a separate hotel within the US for another COVID-19 test that must show up negative 
  • During an overnight quarantine, passengers will stay at a hotel and receive free room service
  • Passengers who pass both tests will be placed into groups
  • Several facilities will be closed – restaurants, gyms, hot tubs, infinity pools
  • Daily temperature checks and health questionnaires will be provided to all passengers
  • NO contact with locals at mid-point destinations whatsoever

In case it’s unclear, the overall approach involves keeping all passengers in a protective bubble where all human contact is minimized and/or eliminated. Rigorous activity and limited activity is the approach they’re taking.

Do YOU agree with what Lindblad is doing, or is this way too overprotective? Reply to the newsletter and let me know what you think!

The Las Vegas Monorail Is No More, Filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

This story is short yet rather sad, as it affects me somewhat personally. I travel to Las Vegas at least once a year and I always use the monorail to get around. Lots of great memories on the little train that makes navigating the scorching hot weather just a bit easier. 

Unfortunately, the Las Vegas Monorail Company has officially announced that they will be filling for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. 

The devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have robbed them financially as they were forced to shut down in mid-March and haven’t been granted permission to resume operations since then. 

Unless someone buys them out and keeps them going, it will be a major setback to many of the events and conferences held in the city. A lot of them exclusively rely on transporting attendees from their hotels to areas of interest (and back). 

But hey, at least you can still gamble all of your life savings away! 😉

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