Greetings! I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving! We stayed home and had a nice mellow one … except for the part where I lost the TV remote and our garbage disposal clogged up (here’s how I fixed it.)
How to Use Your Phone As a Remote Control
If you read my newsletter on Saturday, I recounted how I lost the Roku remote for about an hour on Thanksgiving Day, so I couldn’t watch the football game. There were two key suspects: Our sweet and innocent looking 15-month-old and our mischievous four-year-old. In the end, the remote was found but it prompted a reader to write in with a great tip about what to do in the event that you lose the remote control … or don’t want to touch the disgusting one in a hotel room (the remote control is notoriously known to be the filthiest thing in a hotel room). Read the full story here.
TSA Sees Highest Number Since March 16
Unfortunately, many Americans didn’t listen to the health experts and traveled for the holidays so the hospitals are expected to get even more packed then they already are, which is scary.
As expected, the Sunday after Thanksgiving (November 29) was the busiest travel day as it always seems to be. TSA officers screened 1,176,091 individuals at checkpoints, which is the highest number since March 16th when 1,257,823 people passed through. But it doesn’t come anywhere close to last year’s numbers when 2,882,915 people were screened the Sunday after Thanksgiving. That number still remains the highest volume ever in TSA history.
But the numbers the last few days don’t compare to the high numbers leading up to Thanksgiving so I think most of the pre-holiday travelers were college kids going home until January like my nephew. Because of COVID-19, many schools closed campuses early.
Couple With COVID Arrested For Traveling to Hawaii
According to USA Today: A Hawaiian couple that boarded a flight from San Francisco to Lihue, Hawaii after knowingly testing positive for COVID-19 has been arrested.
“The Kaua‘i Police Department confirmed to USA TODAY that Wailua residents Wesley Moribe and Courtney Peterson were taken into custody Sunday for “placing the passengers of the flight in danger of death.” Read the full story here.
Kauai Opts Out of COVID Testing Program
Because COVID-19 is so out of control and expected to get worse I’m sadly predicting more places either shutting down entirely or partially or doing away with pre-testing and making quarantining mandatory like Kauai. Read the full story here.
Los Angeles Issues New Stay-At-Home Order
Last night the mayor of Los Angeles issued a stay-at-home order, effective immediately and continuing until at least December 20.
CDC Shortens The Quarantine Time
This just happened yesterday so I’m not sure if Hawaii is adopting the new CDC rules but they’ve shortened the quarantine time for those exposed to COVID-19. “Quarantine can end after Day 10 without testing and if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring.” Here’s the new guidance. I tweeted the new quarantine rules and a follower from New Zealand replied “This is BONKERS. We do 14-day quarantines here in NZ and MANY of the positive tests are on day 12.” She’s right because I had a similar conversation with another Kiwi on Twitter who essentially said the same thing so buckle up.
Singapore-Hong Kong Travel Bubble Postponed to 2021
Executive Traveller is reporting that “Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble postponed to 2021: ongoing delays to the world’s first two-way ‘travel bubble’ hint at an unsteady road ahead.” If these two cities can’t make a bubble work, then nobody can.
Airlines Are Rolling Out Shared Digital Health Passes
I’m not sure why there isn’t one Digital Health Pass being created but it looks like there are at least two. The World Economic Forum and The Commons Project, a Swiss non-profit has partnered so far with United Airlines, Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic, Swiss International Air Lines, and JetBlue on select flights beginning this month to use the “CommonPass certificate on their phones to show that they tested negative for the virus.” The pass — which will be eligible on some flights from New York, Boston, London, and Hong Kong — is designed as an international standard for verifying negative COVID-19 tests. “Test results are often recorded on pieces of paper “from unknown labs, often written in languages foreign to those inspecting them,” the project says, with no standard format. Vaccination records are often listed on paper cards, which can be easily forged, it says.” (Source: Business Insider)
IATA The Travel Pass
Forbes ran a similar story that says: “The International Air Transport Association, or IATA, on Monday said it plans to introduce this month a mobile phone app that arriving travelers could use to prove that they’ve been vaccinated for the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 and tested negative for it. Conceivably the app, which IATA is calling The Travel Pass, also could become necessary for domestic flights should airlines begin requiring all their passengers to document their Covid-19 vaccination and testing status.”
Need COVID-19 Vaccine To Travel?
Either way, I’m guessing most countries are going to require proof of either having had a negative COVID-19 test or the vaccine, which is expected to start rolling out next week. Qantas CEO says the airline will require passengers traveling internationally to get a COVID-19 vaccine and here’s an interesting one … travelers to Iceland don’t have to quarantine or get tested if they’ve had Covid-19.
WHO Expert Sees Rapid Control of COVID-19 in 2021
Some great news! The World Health Organization’s top emergency expert said last week that with the introduction of a COVID-19 vaccine, it should allow the world to gain rapid control over the disease next year. “Life as we used to know it, I think that’s very, very possible but we will have to continue with the hygiene, physical distancing. Vaccines do not equal zero COVID. Adding vaccines to our current measures will allow us to really crush the curve, avoid lockdowns and gain progressive control over the disease,” Mike Ryan told RTE television in his native Ireland. (Reuters)
WHO Says Get In Shape
In unrelated WHO news … The agency is recommending at least two and a half hours of “moderate to vigorous aerobic activity” for adults per week, and an hour per day for kids and teens. I better get crackin’.
New DOT Rules Crack Down on Emotional Support Animals
I love animals but have always hated when travelers abused the program and would try to pass off their pet as an emotional support animal to avoid paying fees. That severely hurt legitimate people with real health issues. I predicted this would happen years ago (here’s my post from 2014) when I started seeing a huge uptick in the number of passengers bringing all sorts of animals and untrained dogs onto airplanes. One almost bit my son as he walked up the aisle. You can read the new guidance here but according to Spectrum News this is what you need to know:
- Under the new rule, only dogs can be service animals; emotional support animals can be recognized as pets by airline carriers
- Airlines may also now limit service animals to two per passenger on any given flight
- The rule aims to settle years of tension between airlines and passengers who bring their pets on board for free by saying they need them for emotional support
My Somewhat Freakish Travel Habits Might Just Save Your Life
I don’t know if you saw the disturbing surveillance video of a woman being pushed onto the tracks at a New York City subway station but it was deeply upsetting and it stayed with me for days. Thankfully she is ok but what a harrowing experience. Then I discovered that there were three such incidents in just one week in New York City. Insane. It got me thinking about some of the freakish travel habits that I’ve picked up over the years to stay safe. It’s a crazy world out there so sometimes, there’s no such thing as being too cautious. Read the story here for my safety tips.
Travel Experts Reveal the Gifts They’d Like to Get This Year
Shopping for a traveler? Or wondering what to put on your own holiday wish list this year? We checked in with travel experts to find out what’s hot and what they hope to get for the holidays this year. Check out their wish list items.
A Great Gift For those Plane-Obsessed AV Geeks
Attention all aviation geeks! If you or your plane-obsessed loved one is looking for a unique, fun gift to get you through quarantine, or better yet, to have when this pandemic is over to use as a bar to host parties (talk about a conversation starter), then check out MySkyCart.com for factory new, beverage carts (sometimes called service carts, meal carts, airline or galley trolleys). Here’s my post.
TikTok Star Pretends to Cook a Steak in Plane Lav
You’re going to have to see this 48-second video to believe it. The dude in question now says it’s fake but he certainly got my blood boiling. There’s nothing funny about it. Read the story and see the video here.
5 Places an Infectious Diseases Doctor Begs You Not To Go
I’ve had a few emails like this one: “I wish I could find the article on “5 Places an Infectious Diseases Doctor Begs You Not to Go.” It was kind of hidden last week so here it is again.
‘All people’ should avoid travel on cruise ships, CDC warns
This seems like common sense to me but maybe not for die-hard cruise lovers. Nevertheless, this is a blow to the cruise industry. “The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has upped its warning on cruise ships, now advising that “all people avoid travel on cruise ships.” The federal agency now classifies cruise travel as “Level 4: Very High Level of COVID-19” and clarifies that this includes river cruises and applies worldwide.” (CNN)
American Airlines Is Giving Every Member A Free Holiday Gift
Let’s end on some positive news! American Airlines is giving every one of their AAdvantage members free miles as a holiday gift. All it takes is just a few clicks and less than two minutes. Read the story here.
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