Happy Thanksgiving! Despite the challenges of 2020, I have so much to be thankful for this year, including all of you who subscribe to this newsletter and especially those of you who have donated or used my affiliate links. You’re the ones who have helped to pay the bills so a HUGE thank you!
I’m sending this newsletter out early because I don’t think many people will be on email tomorrow or Thursday. I plan to take some time off too but when you run your own business, it’s not easy to do.
As I wrote in yesterday’s Daily Travel Tip newsletter, (which you can subscribe to here): Unfortunately, people aren’t listening to health experts about staying home for Thanksgiving. This past weekend saw the largest increase in travelers since early March, when the pandemic began.
Yesterday, I was watching the news and a reporter at ORD said that some travelers weren’t even wearing masks. Then a TSA agent ran through the shot without a mask on! I thought I was watching a Saturday Night Live skit. It was ridiculous.
On Friday, TSA screened 1,019,836 people at airport security checkpoints nationwide. This was the second time since the pandemic began that passenger volume has surpassed one million people (the first time was October 18). On Saturday, TSA screened 984,369. On Sunday, 1,047,934 people passed through security checkpoints and yesterday, a Monday, saw 917,354 individuals which is 36,197 more than last Monday.
Add all four numbers up and it’s just shy of four million people (3,969,493) passing through domestic airports, which doesn’t bode well for hospitals that are already at capacity in some places.
Surprisingly, most health experts aren’t worried about passengers catching the virus on airplanes because of the hospital-grade air filters. RELATED: Is Airplane Air Really Cleaner Than the Air Inside Your Home? They’re more worried about airports and public transportation, where people are just standing around without any airflow. Here’s more, including: 5 Places an Infectious Diseases Doctor Begs You Not To Go
Thanksgiving Travel Advice
–Thanksgiving Tips Whether You’re Traveling or Staying Home
–Zoom Gives Everyone A Thanksgiving Day Gift
–How to Have a Fun Virtual Thanksgiving–
–Thanksgiving 2020 Train Travel Tips
Black Friday Travel Deals
Friday officially kicks off Black Friday but because we’re in the middle of a pandemic, retailers are switching things up. Many already have deals live and on Friday morning, I will send out a newsletter with tons of deals for travel gadgets, airline, hotel, cruise … you name it. In the meantime, we’ve rounded up some of the best early Black Friday deals for you to shop before they’re gone. BTW: If you do shop on Amazon, please consider using my affiliate link as I get a small referral fee.
The Best Luggage to Give and Get This Holiday Season
To kick off your holiday shopping, my wife (@NatalieDiScala on Instagram and Pinterest) researched and wrote this post: 16 Best Luggage Pieces for Every Budget. These bags and suitcases make great gifts to give this year or to add to your holiday wish list. Check them out here!
Save $50 on ROAM luggage
If you read the piece above, I hope you noticed the $50 savings on the coolest piece of luggage you’ll ever own. My wife and I both have one of their suitcases and it’s a family favorite for sure. You can read Natalie’s review here.
Best Travel Books for Kids
While we can’t travel to too many exciting places just yet, you can still teach your kids and grandkids about travel and all the wonderful places in the world. On my Amazon store, I’ve rounded up some of the (many) travel books that our kids love. They’ll make great presents for the kids on your holiday shopping list. Check out our curated list of kids travel books here.
Just For Fun: Why Do People Eat at McDonald’s When They Travel?
McDonald’s has been in the news recently (they’re trying to speed up their drive-thru process and will be introducing plant-based burgers in 2021) and it reminded me of a piece I wrote asking frequent travelers if they eat McDonald’s when they travel. As a bit of a distraction from everything that’s going on in the world, I thought I’d include this fun piece that reveals why frequent travelers eat at Mickey D’s when they’re abroad. I very rarely eat at McDonald’s but when I travel internationally, I like to pop into one to check out what’s on the menu. You’ll often find interesting items inspired by the local cuisine and it can really give you a sense of place. Read the full story here and share your thoughts: Is McDonald’s a do or a don’t when you travel?
European Regulators to Lift Boeing 737 MAX
OK, enough with the fluff. The big travel news this week is that the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is lifting the Boeing 737 MAX grounding in January. I wrote a piece about when the FAA ungrounded it and discussed whether I would fly it or not (here’s that story). More: Southwest Airlines CEO says software issues in Boeing model that crashed twice have ‘easily been addressed‘.
United, American Airlines to Waive Change Fees For Overseas Flights
Actually, even bigger news and much better for consumers is that, per Reuters: “United Airlines and American Airlines said last week that they will scrap change fees for long-haul international flights, mirroring their move on domestic flights (I wrote about the domestic changes here) in a bid to revive bookings and air travel demand hit by the pandemic.” You know the airlines are hurting when they continue to waive fees. Let’s hope this is a permanent thing and not switched back once this nightmare of a pandemic is over.
New Rules in Hawaii Mean No Quarantine for Canadians
While we’re on the topic of great news, here’s some love for my Canadians wanting to go to Hawaii. According to Travel Industry Today, “Hawaii’s Governor David Ige, has announced new rules for Canadians travelling to Hawaii this winter. Noting that Canada represents the second-largest international market for the islands, Ige says Canadians travelling on Air Canada and WestJet will be allowed to avoid quarantine so long as they show proof of a negative COVID-19 test.” For starters, “the tests will cost $150 and are only available in Alberta, but are open to all Canadians. The DynaLIFE tests are administered at participating pharmacies, according to the airline.”
LAX Airport Beginning COVID-19 Testing
More testing news: LAX airport officials have been clear – do not travel unless you have to. But if you do travel, LAX Airport is opening three coronavirus testing sites in December. The interim PCR tests will cost $150 each and will be available to anyone. Testing services will be offered seven days a week from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. on a walk-up basis at these locations:
-Tom Bradley International Terminal on the Upper/Departures level at the check-in counters located in Aisle C, along the north side of the terminal
-Terminal 2 Lower/Arrivals Level at the information booth
-Terminal 6 Lower/Arrivals Level at the information booth
New JFK COVID-testing site opens at JetBlue’s Terminal 5
As you can tell, testing is where it’s at right now and JetBlue is raising the stakes. “A new Covid-19 testing site has opened at JFK International Airport at JetBlue Airways Corp.’s Terminal 5 that will test any passengers or airport workers. The New York City-based airline said the new testing site opened Wednesday in partnership with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. It will be open for the next six months, can handle 600 tests per day, and is open from 9 a.m.–7 p.m. seven days a week. Results will be available 48 hours after the test, the airline said.” SourceL BizJournals
American Airlines, British Airways and oneworld Launch Transatlantic COVID-19 Testing Trial
And of course, after United Airlines began offering free COVID-19 testing on their Newark to London flights (here’s more), American Airlines, British Airways and oneworld matched it on select flights from the United States to London Heathrow (LHR), “in a combined effort to scientifically demonstrate how COVID-19 testing can reopen international travel and remove the need for passengers to quarantine on arrival.”
“The free tests will initially be offered to eligible customers booked on American Airlines flight AA50 departing Dallas/ Fort Worth (DFW) to LHR; British Airways flight BA114 departing New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) to LHR; and British Airways flight BA268 from Los Angeles (LAX) to LHR, beginning 25 November. The test will be expanded to American Airlines flight AA106 from JFK to LHR, with a launch date to be communicated.” Source: oneworld
Hong Kong, Singapore Travel Bubble Delayed
But don’t get too excited because these travel bubbles probably aren’t going to work until the vaccines get rolled out. Just the other day, Hong Kong and Singapore, who have done an incredible job at containing the virus (unlike the USA and the UK), delayed their travel bubble just hours before it was set to begin because of a COVID-19 surge (only 43 new cases). If these two places can’t create a travel bubble then nobody can (except maybe New Zealand and the Cook Islands).
Some Good News to End On
Dr. Jonathan Reiner (@JReinerMD), who doesn’t mince words and is Professor of Medicine and Surgery at George Washington School of Medicine & Health Sciences, was on TV last night and really gave me some hope. Of course, this was after he warned everyone not to have a communal Thanksgiving or Christmas celebration because of the risk to family members who may get sick or worse, die. But he said for the first time that he sees the light at the end of the tunnel. The vaccines are showing to be incredibly effective and if we can just continue to sit tight, I know we’re going to have an incredible spring and an even better summer in this country. Without missing a beat, the host Laura Coates said exactly what I was thinking: From your lips to God’s ears.
Airline and Airport News:
- Cathay Pacific axes three US routes
- LAX launches on-site coronavirus testing for fliers
- United, American Airlines to scrap change fees for overseas flights
- Qantas CEO: This is when international travel could return
- See all the airline and airport news that’s got people talking this week…
- CDC Recommends Avoiding Cruise Ship Travel, Upgrades COVID-19 Infection Risk to Highest Level
- 40 Fun Things to Do on a Cruise Ship
- A look inside (and outside) the ‘new’ Star Breeze
- Princess Cruises cancels all voyages until end of March
- See all the cruise news that’s got people talking this week…
- Trump’s Air Force One problem
- My New York State quarantine, and the new rules for travelers
- Southwest Airlines to offer direct flight to Hawaii from Long Beach in March
- These Are the World’s Busiest Airline Routes During Covid Times
- See all the domestic travel news that’s got people talking this week…
International Travel News:
- New Trump rule may require some African tourists to pay up to $15,000 in bonds
- U.S., Canada, Mexico Border Closure Extended Another Month Until Dec. 21
- Hong Kong, Singapore travel bubble delayed by COVID-19 surge
- Panic grips Shanghai airport after employees are sealed in for coronavirus testing
- See all the international travel news that’s got people talking this week…
Hotel and Lodging Travel News:
- Mandalay Bay, Mirage to close hotels midweek while demand low
- Is it safe to stay in a hotel during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Hotel association predicts big drop in holiday travel
- How Independent Brands Can Market Work-From-Hotel Rooms Online
- See all the hotel and lodging news that’s got people talking this week…
Miscellaneous Travel News:
- How Hawaiian’s Commercial Team Tackled the Pandemic as It Unfolded
- Jan Morris, artful travel writer who broke many boundaries, dies at 94
- How risky is flying during a pandemic? What we know and how to make it safer
- 15 Travel Writers Share Why They’re Not Traveling Right Now (and Why You Shouldn’t Either)
- See all the rest of the travel news that’s got people talking this week…