12 Things in Travel You Need to Know Today:

Tuesday, April 20

Yesterday’s TSA Checkpoint Numbers
TSA officers screened 1,412,500 people at airport security checkpoints yesterday, Monday, April 19. One year ago on the same day, 99,344 people were screened. Two years ago on the same day, 2,594,171.  (TSA)

U.S. will boost ‘Do Not Travel’ advisories to 80% of world
The U.S. State Department said on Monday it will boost its “Do Not Travel” guidance to about 80% of countries worldwide, citing “unprecedented risk to travelers” from the COVID-19 pandemic. The State Department already listed 34 out of about 200 countries as “Level 4: Do Not Travel,” including places like Chad, Kosovo, Kenya, Brazil, Argentina, Haiti, Mozambique, Russia and Tanzania. “This update will result in a significant increase in the number of countries at Level 4: Do Not Travel, to approximately 80% of countries worldwide,” the department said in a statement. Getting to 80% would imply adding nearly 130 countries. (Reuters)

Alaska to offer tourists COVID-19 vaccines starting June 1
Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy said Friday that COVID-19 vaccines would be made available at key airports in the state starting June 1, in unveiling plans aimed at bolstering the state’s pandemic-battered tourist industry. Dunleavy, a Republican, outlined plans for a national marketing campaign aimed at luring tourists using federal aid money and said the vaccine offering is “probably another good reason to come to the state of Alaska in the summer.” (AP)

How Safe Are You From Covid When You Fly?
To understand how risky it may be to board a flight now, start with how air circulates in a plane. (NY Times)

Disinfecting surfaces to prevent Covid often all for show, CDC advises
UPMC Doctor Details Common Coronavirus Vaccine Hesitancies Dr. Rachel Levine, Former Pa. Health Chief, Says She Got J&J Shot, Has… The risk of surface transmission of Covid-19 is low, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday. Far more important is airborne transmission — and people who obsessively disinfect surfaces may be doing more harm than good. (CNN)

Another crowded beach party on Maui sparks outrage; organizers say they don’t see the problem
Another crowded beach party on Maui has sparked outrage within the community. Saturday’s event was at Po’olenalena Beach Park, also known as Chang’s Beach in Makena. The event’s promoter said about 150 people attended and claims it was respectful and safe. He didn’t see the issue with the mass gathering. “As far as I’m concerned, we’re outside. We are in an open area environment, it’s not like we’re all congregated in a store, in a restaurant,” said Atlas. “The police were in the parking lot, they didn’t arrest or give anybody any citations or anything. Everything was calm and peaceful. So, I don’t see what the problem is.” (Hawaii News Now)

American Airlines cutting flights to South America because of COVID-19
American Airlines Co said on Monday it will reduce flights to some destinations in South America because the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced demand. The U.S. airline said it was suspending service to Manaus, Brazil, from Miami until Nov. 2 and delaying the start of service from New York to Santiago until July 2, instead of the planned May 7 start. It will also reduce the frequency of flights to Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo in Brazil, and to Lima from some U.S. airports. (Reuters)

Covid paperwork ‘will be digitally linked to passport to slash queues’
Border Force working on plans to digitally link Covid paperwork to passports. The initiative would enable UK airports to reopen quicker passport e-gates. Fears keeping current system of checks could lead to 10 hour queues at border. (Daily Mail)

Meteor shower drought to end with Earth Day shooting stars
For the first time in nearly four months, skywatchers of all ages will have the opportunity to spot some shooting stars as the Lyrid meteor shower takes center stage on the night of April 21 into the early hours of April 22, spelling an end to the meteor shower drought. (Accu Weather)

Air Lease CEO forecasts potential growth for summer air travel
VIDEO: John Plueger, CEO of Air Lease Corporation, joins “Squawk on the Street” to discuss the return to travel in the U.S. and potential for growth. (CNBC)

Up, up and away: Travel industry prepares for post-pandemic surge
With CDC restrictions loosening and more people being vaccinated by the day, the travel bug is busting out all over. Correspondent Tracy Smith looks at the recent increase in air travel and hotel bookings, and talks with tourism experts about one response to a year spent in lockdown: “revenge travel. (CBS News)

A body with Covid washed ashore. Now this Pacific island nation isn’t taking any chances
A Pacific island country has banned outward travel from its main island for three days after a body washed ashore that later tested positive for Covid-19, Radio New Zealand has reported. The body of a Filipino fisherman was discovered April 11 on a Vanuatu beach a short drive from the main wharf of the capital, Port Vila, on Efate island, according to the report. (CNN)

Florida Keys to release first genetically modified mosquitoes
In an effort to fight insect-borne viruses like Zika, dengue fever and malaria, genetically modified mosquitoes are set to be released in the Florida Keys. U.K.-based biotechnology company Oxitec has partnered with the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District in an effort to control the invasive and disease-spreading female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in the region. Oxitec’s male mosquitoes — which don’t bite, unlike the recently-discovered yellow fever-carrying Aedes scapularis mosquitoes — will be introduced in small areas in a select number of neighborhoods between mile markers 10 and 93 in the Keys. (FOX News)

How to survive hotel quarantine
A number of destinations around the world, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand, have a mandatory two-week quarantine in place for arrivals, while those traveling to Hong Kong are required to remain in isolation for a staggering three weeks. Although this may seem like a lot to go through for a vacation, it’s an unavoidable obstacle for those who need to travel during these uncertain times. But how hard can spending a few weeks trapped inside a suite really be? Tougher than you’d imagine, according to professor Ian Hickie from the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre. (CNN)

Monday, April 19

Yesterday’s TSA Checkpoint Numbers
TSA officers screened 1,572,383 people at airport security checkpoints yesterday, Sunday, April 18. One year ago on the same day, 105,382 people were screened. Two years ago on the same day, 2,356,802.  (TSA)

NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet
NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. The triumph was hailed as a Wright Brothers moment. The mini 4-pound (1.8-kilogram) copter named Ingenuity, in fact, carried a bit of wing fabric from the 1903 Wright Flyer, which made similar history at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. (AP)

Nearly every India-Toronto flight this month carried COVID+ passengers
Flights from India continue to be Canada’s top source of international passengers testing positive for COVID-19. And data provided by Health Canada reveals nearly all of the twice-daily flights between Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport and Toronto Pearson Airport carried passengers infected with COVID-19. (Toronto Sun)

Guess Which 3 Countries United Will Now Fly To?
United add three new destinations!

Emotional scenes at Auckland Airport as first quarantine-free flights land in New Zealand
New Zealand’s airports are the scene of celebration and reunification after the long-awaited opening of the trans-Tasman bubble. For the first time in more than a year, Australian travellers have begun to enter New Zealand without the need to quarantine for a fortnight. The first flight touched down at Auckland Airport at lunchtime on Monday – a Jetstar flight out of Sydney which was delayed by just over an hour. (SBS)

Video: President of France Says Country Will Reopen To Vaccinated Americans This Summer
French President Emmanuel Macron says France will “progressively lift” travel restrictions at the beginning of May, including for American citizens who are vaccinated. Macron says initial plans have been discussed with the White House. (CBS)

Greece to lift quarantine rule for more travelers from next week-official
Greece plans to lift quarantine restrictions from next week for travelers from the European Union and five other countries who have been vaccinated or test negative for COVID-19, a senior government official said on Wednesday. Last month, the country lifted a one-week quarantine rule for Israeli travellers who have been inoculated and test negative. (Reuters)

Vaccine Vacation: Alaska takes a stab at boosting summer travel
Come for the vaccine, stay for a vacation. In a novel approach to reviving tourism to the state, Alaska will begin offering vaccinations to travellers arriving at its airports starting this summer. Trials will begin later this month in Anchorage for Alaskans, with vaccinations open to anyone passing through five key airports starting June 1. Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy said Friday that COVID-19 vaccines would be made available at the airports as part of a national marketing campaign aimed at luring tourists using federal aid money and said the vaccine offering is “probably another good reason to come to the state of Alaska in the summer.” (Travel Industry Today)

Flyer: Not allowed on AA flight because my mask was see-through
A woman was not allowed on her flight out of Charlotte Douglas Airport in North Carolina, all because of the type of mask she was wearing. Despite being offered a disposable mask, the passenger chose not to wear one provided by the airline, which meant she couldn’t fly. “’You can’t wear that, you have to wear a different mask.’ I said, ‘Well why?’” Tarus Woelk said. “‘Well, I can see your mouth.’” A short flight up to Virginia turned into a mess of misunderstanding for American Airlines passenger Woelk. (WGNO)

June Airline Schedules Come Into Focus, and There is One Outlier

  • Aeromexico continues its Texas love by upping Houston – Mexico City from 3x to 4x daily.
  • Air Canada won’t fly Algiers – Montreal this summer. It also won’t fly from Montreal to Keflavik, but it is beefing up Toronto to Keflavik instead.
  • Eastern has canceled its plans to fly JFK to Anchorage and Quito this summer, but get ready for Chicago – Sarajevo to start in May.
  • Porter has pushed its restart into June. At what point does the airline just give up entirely?
  • Singapore won’t fly to Newark or Seattle in June. It won’t fly fifth freedom routes Houston – Manchester and Los Angeles – Tokyo/Narita either.
  • WestJet has slashed several US and Caribbean routes through the summer — along with a couple into Europe — as it comes to grips with the fact that Canada is approaching another lost summer.
    (CrankyFlier)

 

Why You Should Always Order Ginger Ale on a Flight
Because of this, tastes like sweetness and saltiness are impacted the most, according to nutritionist Lauren Grosskopf, MS, LDN, who spoke to Travel + Leisure. The saltiness of drinks like the bloody mary or plain tomato juice can actually seem a bit dull, leaving a fresher and sweeter taste behind. So, bloody mary’s often taste better in the air, providing a sweet and spicy taste that gives humans more satiety (a feeling of satisfaction). When it comes to ginger ale, the drier varieties (as opposed to sweeter, golden ales) are often more popular among the masses. When you’re in a plane, a ginger ale’s extra sweetness may not register on your taste buds, making your ginger drink extra-dry and sharp. Refreshing. (T+L)

How to buy a second seat for yourself on U.S. airlines
If you’d like to return to the sky but want some guaranteed extra room, you can book a second seat for yourself … and potentially even earn or use miles on the additional seat in the process, depending on your airline of choice. This isn’t a response to COVID-19 and social distancing. It has always been possible for a traveler to purchase a second adjacent seat on a plane, whether it’s a “passenger of size” who requires the additional room, a performer with a large musical instrument, or a passenger who just wants more space even though they could safely fit into one assigned seat. In your quest for more elbow room, here’s how to buy a second seat on your next flight. (TPG)

Qatar Airways CEO Call British Airways “Two Out Of Ten” Low Cost Carrier
In the course of just 45 minutes from his boardroom in Doha, he dismisses British Airways as a “two out of ten” carrier; accuses Dubai of becoming a Covid-19 superspreader and lambasts arch-rival Emirates as a gas-guzzling dinosaur; says any airline that offers premium economy is ripping off its customers; and demands $5 billion (£3.6 billion) in compensation from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt for their “illegal” economic blockade of his country, which ended in January. That’s all before he commits the cardinal aviation sin — warning that good times are, alas, no longer around the corner for air travellers. (One Mile At A Time)

Vaccine passports for COVID-19: How they’ll be a part of global travel
Cruise lines and some airlines will require inoculation, and countries will let vaccinated travelers skip quarantines, but others worry about discrimination. (CNET)

Visionary Street Symphony founder Vijay Gupta on trading LA Phil for Skid Row
“LA Stories with Giselle Fernandez” profiles Vijay Gupta, who was one of the LA Phil’s most popular violinists. Gupta shares how he considers himself an “art disrupter” with his nonprofit Street Symphony, proving that LA’s most moving and talented musicians can come from any walk of life — and that music has the power to heal. (Spectrum)

Sunday, April 18

Yesterday’s TSA Checkpoint Numbers
TSA WEEKEND UPDATE: TSA officers screened 1,277,815 people at airport checkpoints across the country yesterday, Saturday, April 17. One year ago, @TSA officers screened 97,236 people at airports nationwide. What a difference a year makes. Please continue to wear your mask! (TSA)

How one restaurant’s experiment may help diners breathe safely
The Big Sur restaurant now featured some new pandemic touches: 18 tabletop mini-purifiers, 10 precisely distributed HEPA air purifiers, an upgraded heating and air conditioning system, and four sensors measuring the air quality in real time. “I’ve become obsessed with indoor air quality,” says Mike Freed, who spent about $7,500 to buy equipment. “I just think it’s so important to our health.” (Washington Post)

COVID-19 cases in Florida since the spring break have surged and deaths from new variants are mounting
Florida’s cases of “variants of concern” surged since the spring break peak, the Orlando Sentinel reported. There were 5,177 cases involving those variants as of Thursday — six times higher than mid-March. (BI

L.A. County sees lowest coronavirus daily test positivity rate since pandemic began
Los Angeles County public health officials on Saturday reported 527 new coronavirus cases and 29 related deaths, noting that the daily test positivity rate of 0.9% is the lowest since the pandemic began more than a year ago. The daily positivity rate is defined as the percentage of all coronavirus tests reported that are positive, officials said. Not all individuals who have the virus get the test. Though officials are encouraged by the steady decline in daily cases and transmission of the virus, as well as increased vaccinations, they caution residents to be vigilant against new variants of the virus by adhering to safety protocols such as wearing face masks and social distancing. (KTLA)

Airbnb’s CEO says the company will need millions more hosts to deal with a post-pandemic travel boom ‘unlike anything we’ve ever seen’
Airbnb’s CEO on Friday said it needed millions more hosts for the post-pandemic travel boom. Airbnb sees a “rebound coming that’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen,” CEO Brian Chesky told CNBC. It has 4 million hosts with about 5.6 million listings, numbers mostly unchanged by the pandemic. (Business Insider)

Site Where Julius Caesar was Assassinated to Open for Public in 2022
History buffs will be able to roam the ruins of Rome’s “Area Sacra,” perhaps catching a glimpse of Julius Caesar’s ghost, after the site becomes an open-air museum next year. Work to adapt the Largo Argentina archaeological site containing the ruins of four Roman temples for tourists begins next month, Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi announced. (Asharq Al-Awsat Newspaper)

The Most Beautiful Drives You Can Take Around the World, According to Instagram Data
Pentagon Motor Group analyzed more than 7 million Instagram hashtags to find the world’s most stunning routes. The research found Australia’s Great Ocean Road is the most beautiful road trip in the world, followed closely by California’s Big Sur and Jebel Hafeet in the United Arab Emirates. That means, there’s truly a road trip for everyone anywhere in the world. (T+L)

Asia is the most expensive place to live in, if you’re rich
If you’re wealthy, the Asia-Pacific is the most expensive region to live in, with Shanghai newly overtaking Hong Kong as the priciest city in the world. Those are some of the key findings from a Julius Baer Group report about luxury lifestyles released earlier this month. The reason? The region’s swift recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. By contrast, the Americas were the most affordable because of the slumps in the US and Canadian dollars and sharp devaluations of Latin American currencies. (SCMP)

A single text message was key to bringing home a lost California hiker
A single text message was the key to bringing home 45-year-old Rene Compean after he spent a night lost in the wilderness this week. The avid hiker lost his way in Southern California’s Angeles National Forest on Monday. After spending the night in a makeshift shelter, hiding from a bear and mountain lions, a dehydrated and weakened Compean decided to leave his shelter in search of a ridgeline. “I was thinking I hope they don’t come over here because I just have a stick and rocks just in case they get close to me,” Compean told CBS News. He made his way to a ridgeline where he was able to text a single picture of his legs dangling over the edge of a cliff to his roommate from his dying phone. (CBS)

Mother creates safety app to help Black drivers alert loved ones during traffic stops
The app has three features: check-in, heads-up and help that can be activated with a simple voice command in a variety of scenarios. App users can “check-in” and notify select contacts that everything is OK, whether they’re out driving late or maybe even just at a friend’s house. The “heads-up” feature can be used if they’re pulled over by police and want to alert their contacts. And the “help” feature activates the user’s location and then notifies select contacts – as well as any other app users nearby – that help at the scene is needed. (FOX 7)

Experts find more evidence COVID-19 is airborne, warn of indoor spaces
The authors of a new paper that found increasingly concrete evidence that COVID-19 is “predominately” airborne say that we need to be focusing on preventing infections in indoor settings, and rethinking how ventilation systems either help spread or dissipate the virus. A Lancet report published Thursday from epidemiologists and experts across both Canada, U.S. and the U.K. found an overwhelming amount of evidence that the disease was spread through aerosols — tiny airborne particles that come from people’s mouths when they breathe, talk or cough. (Global News)

France imposes quarantine on arrivals from 4 countries
France is imposing a compulsory 10-day quarantine on travelers flying from Argentina, Brazil, Chile and South Africa. The new measure has been introduced amid concerns about the highly contagious P1 coronavirus variant, the prime minister’s office said on Saturday. (DW)

Robertson Boulevard In West Hollywood To Close On Weekends For Outdoor Dining
One of West Hollywood’s most famous streets will be closing to traffic on weekends starting today in an effort to expand outdoor dining options. West Hollywood’s Robertson Boulevard is the target of the “Out on Robertson” pilot program. The concept will allow businesses to use sidewalks, parking spaces, and private parking lots as dining areas. Road closures will start Saturday and Sunday at 6 PM from North Robertson Boulevard and extend south of Santa Monica Boulevard and north of Melrose Avenue. Traffic will resume at an undetermined point later in the night, likely when outdoor areas at the dining establishments close. (Deadline)

Make-A-Wish CEO Gives Update On Wish Granting During Covid-19 Pandemic
This past year, we’ve all experienced fear and uncertainty – something that children with critical illnesses are experiencing even more intensely. The wish journey gives children with critical illnesses a piece of their childhood back, and every child deserves a childhood. People can make a difference in the life of a wish kid in your community by donating at wish.org. The organization also accepts donations from stock, retirement, estate and donor-advised funds at plannedgiving.wish.org. While there is still a great need for support to grant the wishes that are waiting, we are encouraged by the continued generous donations of individuals and corporate sponsors. (Forbes)
 

Saturday, April 17

Yesterday’s TSA Checkpoint Numbers
TSA officers screened 1,491,435 people at airport security checkpoints yesterday, Friday, April 16. One year ago on the same day, 95,085 people were screened. Two years ago on the same day, 2,616,158.  (TSA)

Vaccinated travelers should still avoid eating and drinking on planes
You’re vaccinated and ready to travel. Here’s your pre-trip checklist. “When [planes] turn into a flying restaurant, the dynamics of spread become very different,” Wachter says. “I would not eat at an indoor restaurant at this point, even being fully vaccinated, and so the time during which the plane is, in fact, an indoor restaurant is a time when it is somewhat less safe.” A recent study released by the CDC supports Wachter’s concerns. Being on packed planes with maskless passengers does increase your risk of coronavirus exposure, despite the plane’s ventilation system. (Washington Post)

Man Banned From Yellowstone National Park After Rangers Catch Him Cooking Chickens in the Hot Springs
With the privilege of visiting national parks comes the great responsibility of following the rules that protect their natural beauty. After allegedly trying to cook chickens in a hot spring at Yellowstone National Park, one Idaho man is learning the hard way that flouting these rules comes with pricey consequences. (Travel + Leisure)

Delta CEO: Companies are waiting for employees to get vaccinated before business travel resumes
Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian joined CNBC’s Phil LeBeau to discuss the company’s first-quarter earnings results and his outlook for the rest of the year. Bastian said he expects bookings to increase as more customers get vaccinated and workers return to the office. (CNBC)

Three astronauts return from International Space Station
Three members of the International Space Station’s crew returned safely to Earth on Saturday on a Russian Soyuz craft, Russia’s Roscosmos space agency reported. The Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft carrying NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, a microbiologist who in 2016 became the first person to sequence DNA in space, and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov landed in Kazakhstan at 0455 GMT. (Reuters)

Senators Call for CDC to Keep Cruise Ship Industry Shut Down
While the cruise ship industry is struggling to stay afloat and the state of Florida is suing the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to force it to allow cruise operators to sail again, two Democratic U.S. senators are calling for the agency to keep the industry locked down. (Motely Fool)

Anguilla to permit quarantine-free entry for vaccinated tourists
Having recently reduced the quarantine period for visitors, the government of Anguilla says vaccinated travelers can skip quarantine altogether from 1 July. They must have received all vaccine doses three weeks before arrival. A pre-travel Covid test is still required but no further test is needed on arrival. The government says October 2021 will mark the final phase of the entry protocols, when proof of a negative test and secondary testing will end. At that time, only vaccinated travelers will be allowed in. (TravelMole)

The huge Covid-test price differences at airports around the world

Skytrax found a $396 (£287) price difference between the highest and lowest costs for airport PCR testing. The respected UK-based air transport rating agency found a difference of $212 (£153.55) for antigen tests. It said: ‘The pricing and convenience of the process are likely to deter international travel for many’ (Daily Mail)

Cruise line CEOs met with White House Covid team, pressed for U.S. sailings to resume
Cruise line CEOs argued, in a meeting with the White House’s Covid response team this week, to replace the CDC’s phased-in approach to sailings, sources in the room told CNBC. Earlier this month, the CDC updated its Framework for Conditional Sailing Order. However, the agency has yet to specify a date for operators to resume sailing from American ports. Norwegian Cruise Line on Thursday afternoon reiterated its request to the CDC to allow the company to restart cruising from U.S. ports on July 4. (CNBC)

Traveler to Antarctica waits 1 year to receive travel refund from Vantage Travel during COVID-19 pandemic
Unfortunately, slow recovery from a torn rotator cuff suffered during one of her trips forced Carter to cancel her adventure to Antarctica in January of 2020 with Vantage Travel. Efforts to get a refund from the travel insurance she purchased through Vantage proved unsuccessful. “They said, ‘Oh, Vantage took this over in, I don’t know, October or November. Don’t call us anymore. We have nothing to do with it,'” said Carter. (ABC7 San Francisco)

More electrical problems found on some Boeing 737 MAX -sources 
An electrical problem that led to dozens of Boeing 737 MAX jets being suspended from service has widened after engineers found similar grounding flaws elsewhere in the cockpit, industry sources said on Friday. Airlines pulled dozens of MAX jets from service a week ago after Boeing Co warned of a production-related electrical grounding problem in a backup power control unit situated in the cockpit on some recently built airplanes. (Reuters

Southwest Perfects Social Distancing With 9 People On Our Flight to Puerto Vallarta (Cranky Trip Report)
I knew that Southwest had resumed flying to Puerto Vallarta from Orange County, but it seems clear not many others have gotten the message. Sure, we were flying down on an off-peak Monday, but that’s no excuse for an airplane that had a mere 9 passengers onboard, including the four of us. (CrankyFlier)

Crystal Symphony to homeport in Antigua
Crystal Symphony will join Crystal Serenity in the region with the former offering 10-night ‘Luxury Caribbean Escapes’ from Antigua. The deployment at St. John’s, Antigua begins on 5 August through December 2021 and features sailings to Barbados, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Maarten and British Virgin Islands. (TravelMole)

Los Angeles County Lifeguard “blitz” saves eight swimmers in Manhattan Beach
A “blitz” rescue by four Los Angeles County Lifeguards saved eight swimmers from drowning Sunday afternoon. Lifeguard Greg Crum was the first to enter the water after seeing the eight swimmers swept off a shallow sandbar into a deep, inshore hole. A rip current then carried the swimmers an estimated 75 yards off shore. (Easy Reader)

Never Eat Leftovers That’ve Been in the Fridge This Long, Experts Warn
Nothing to do with travel but good to know! According to a statement from the USDA, the safe window for cooked leftovers is relatively short. “Leftover cooked food may be stored in the refrigerator for up to three to four days. During this time, you can reheat the leftovers to 165 degrees Fahrenheit,” they explain. (Best Life)

Study: Moderna immunity wanes 6 months in but still protective
Wonderful. Awesome. Fantastic. Those are the adjectives Emory University researcher Mehul Suthar used to describe the immunity levels seen just after the second dose of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. But Suthar and colleagues at Emory’s Vaccine Center found that stunning immunity dulled after six months but not to such an extent that the vaccine was ineffective. In fact, Suthar estimated that in three age groups studied – 18-to-55, 56-to-70 and 71-and-older – neutralizing antibodies should linger for one to two years. (Boston 25 News)

Richard Quest on the future of international travel
Business trips are expected to stay grounded,  as baby steps are taken to get travelling again. CNN Business correspondent Richard Quest says it’s fair to say business travel won’t get back to where it was before Covid-19, but it’s hard to say to what extent. However, he told Mike Hosking travel between company offices will likely take the biggest hit. (Newstalk)

Friday, April 16

Yesterday’s TSA Checkpoint Numbers
TSA officers screened 1,152,703 people at airport security checkpoints yesterday,  (TSA)

Australia May Reopen Its Borders to Vaccinated Residents
Australia has done things better than most countries to prevent massive, unnecessary deaths from Covid. Its focus on letting vaccinated people travel is the right move and a brave one, comparatively, at this point. (Skift)

Two passenger planes “race” mid-air in viral video
A clip of a pair of planes “racing” each other to touch down on parallel landing strips is going viral online. Passenger TahoeMatt shared a video to TikTok from his window-aisle seat, as his United flight comes in to land opposite an American Airlines plane. Matt captioned the clip: “When your trip home turns into a race.” (Newsweek)

More than 200 travelers fined for refusing to quarantine in hotels after landing in Canada 
Len Desharnais says he believes Canada’s hotel quarantine requirement for international travellers during the pandemic is a fair idea. But shortly after arriving in Vancouver from Bangkok on March 18, he said he decided not to check into his quarantine hotel, because he felt proper COVID-19 safety precautions weren’t in place based on his shuttle ride to the hotel and what he observed upon arrival. “It’s just a joke. It’s not safe, as far as I’m concerned,” said Desharnais. He’s one of hundreds of international travellers who have taken issue with Canada’s hotel quarantine requirement, designed to help slow the spread of COVID-19. As of March 30, 219 tickets have been issued to air passengers entering Canada who refused to quarantine at a designated hotel, said the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). The fine for violating the requirement is $3,000. (CBC)

I went on a 2-night ‘cruise to nowhere’ from Singapore. Here’s what it was like, from the mandatory COVID-19 test to carrying a tracking device everywhere.
I went on a 2-night “cruise to nowhere” that started and ended in Singapore with no stops in between. I had to carry a tracking device called “Tracey” with me at all times on the ship. The experience was highly structured; almost every activity, including swimming, needed to be booked in advance. (Insider)

Man fatally shot by police was ‘shooting indiscriminately toward people’ outside San Antonio airport
A handgun-wielding man who opened fire outside the San Antonio airport was fatally shot by police Thursday, hours after he’d shot at vehicles from a highway overpass in the northern part of the Texas city, officials said. The city’s airport was placed on lockdown after police got a call around 2:30 p.m. about a car driving the wrong way on a road at the airport, police Chief William McManus said during a news conference. An officer stopped the car at Terminal B and the man jumped out and began shooting, he said. Police returned fire, hitting the man, McManus said. The man was later pronounced dead at a hospital. (USA Today)

Flights in and out of Ontario resulting in dozens of COVID-19 flight exposures
People infected in Toronto are also flying to other Canadian destinations. Twenty-three flights were listed with exposures to Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton, Halifax and several Ontario cities. Meanwhile, between Mar. 31 an Apr. 12, 55 international flights landed in Toronto with exposures. The most–16 planes–arrived from Delhi, India, where this spring a so-called ‘double mutant’ variant was detected in the country. Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha and Istanbul are some of the other top places bringing cases into the province. (CTV)

Rocky Mountaineer delays start of Canadian Season
Rocky Mountaineer is delaying the start of the’ Canadian travel season’ until 5 July 2021, due to the continuing travel restrictions and uncertainty of when they will be lifted. (TravelMole)

Qantas boss Alan Joyce admits international flights may not return by October as planned, blaming Australia’s chaotic vaccine rollout
Qantas Australia CEO Alan Joyce conceded the airline’s promise that international travel for Australians could resume by October 31 was highly unlikely in a speech on Wednesday. Qantas had promised it would resume international flights at the end of October based on the expectation most Australians would be fully vaccinated. Health Minister Greg Hunt had originally promised every Australian would be fully vaccinated by October 2021. (Business Insider)

First gate-to-gate autonomous airplane flight
A San Francisco-based company is claiming an aviation first with a gate-to-gate fully autonomous flight. You can see a video of the flight in the embed below. The company, Xwing, is setting out to introduce autonomous technology for regional air cargo, an overlooked space in the global race for autonomy but, with its sub-500 mile predictable routes and significant commercial importance, an intriguing entry point for autonomous air travel. Xwing is betting it can gain ground amid growing unmet logistics demand using its human-operated software stack that seamlessly integrates with existing aircraft to enable regional pilotless flight. (ZDnet)

Brits will be able to holiday in Portugal as flight ban lifted from TODAY
A traffic light system will open up low-risk countries, if they are placed onto the “green” list, with hopes that Portugal may be one of the few EU destinations. The flight ban has been imposed since early this year, following fears regarding the Kent strain, although will expire from today. (The Sun)

People shouldn’t be travelling, says Number 10 amid border queues
People still shouldn’t be travelling for non-essential reasons, Number 10 has said amid reports of long queues at the UK border. Yesterday, Heathrow’s chief solutions officer, Chris Garton, told MPs that the airport “had queues in excess of two hours and up to six hours over the past few days”. (Independent)

Thursday, April 15

Yesterday’s TSA Checkpoint Numbers
TSA officers screened 1,152,703 people at airport checkpoints across the country yesterday, Wednesday, April 14.  (TSA)

COVID-19 travel: CDC study says empty middle seats reduce exposure
Blocking middle seats on airplanes reduces the risk of COVID-19 exposure, according to a study released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The research, done in conjunction with Kansas State University, found a 23% to 57% reduction in exposure to “viable” virus particles when middle seats are vacant. The conclusion: “Physical distancing of airplane passengers, including through policies such as middle seat vacancy, could provide additional reductions in risk for exposure to SARS-CoV-2 on aircraft.” (USA Today)

Delta, American, United, and other major airlines signal rejection of new CDC guidance saying they should block middle seats
Multiple airlines, including American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, and Southwest Airlines, deferred to the trade organization Airlines for America on the issue when reached for comment by Insider. “Multiple scientific studies confirm that the layers of protection significantly reduce risk, and research continues to demonstrate that the risk of transmission onboard aircraft is very low,” a spokesperson for Airlines for America told Insider, indicating no changes would be recommended to airlines. (Business Insider)

American Airlines ramps up domestic summer schedule to nearly pre-pandemic levels
American plans to operate 90% of its summer 2019 domestic capacity and 80% of its international flying. The carrier is ramping up flights in an attempt to capture a resurgence in travel demand. (CNBC)

EU countries move towards COVID passes to reopen summer travel
The certificates would allow those vaccinated, recovered from COVID-19 or with negative test results to travel more easily in the EU, where restrictions on movement have weighed heavily on the travel and tourist industry for over a year. The 27 EU member states “underlined their commitment to have the framework ready by the summer of 2021,” said a document endorsed by national envoys and seen by Reuters. (Reuters)

Covid-19 vaccines: CDC reports 5,800 Covid infections in fully vaccinated people
About 5,800 people who have been vaccinated against coronavirus have become infected anyway, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells CNN. Some became seriously ill and 74 people died, the CDC said. It said 396 — 7% — of those who got infected after they were vaccinated required hospitalization. (CNN)

Airbnb announces new restrictions for Fourth of July weekend and summer rentals
On Monday, the vacation rental company launched the “Summer of Responsible Travel” plan which includes new restrictions on parties and enforces ongoing COVID-19 safety practices. Under the guidelines, Airbnb announced “tough new rules to ban parties and help prevent events that may disturb neighbors.” Guests who don’t have a “history of positive reviews” on the platform will be prohibited from making one-night reservations for entire homes in the U.S. during the Fourth of July weekend. This rule does not apply to guests who have a history of positive reviews on Airbnb or who already booked their one-night reservations. (People)

New Zealand trials ‘early warning’ virus app at border
Days After CBS4 Investigation, Colorado Pauses Requirement For… APD: Couple on scooters gets into argument with man in car passing by… New Zealand border workers on Thursday began trialling a monitoring app designed to detect coronavirus before the user develops any noticeable symptoms, in what is believed to be a world first. The app, “elarm”, connects to wearable devices such as fitness trackers and smart watches, using artificial intelligence to check variables such as heart rate and temperature for tell-tale signs of Covid-19. The developer, New Zealand based Datamine, claims it can detect the virus with 90 percent accuracy up to three days before the appearance of symptoms such as coughing, breathing difficulties and fatigue. (AFP)

Booking that week in Capri is a gamble right now
Italy is lagging behind its Mediterranean rivals Greece and Spain in the dash to save the summer tourist season. Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s stick-and-carrot approach to get Italians to vaccinate the old and fragile before he agrees to open up the country to sunseekers is morally right, but it’s a risky strategy economically. (Bloomberg)

Ontario (Canada) Premier Doug Ford asks people not to fly in or out of province
Nearly a week after declaring a state of emergency and imposing a stay-at-home order, Ontario Premier Doug Ford is urging people to avoid travelling into the province amid the third wave. At a news conference with other Canadian premiers, Ford described Ontario’s pandemic picture as “critical” and said now is not the time for travel between provinces. “We’re encouraging all residents of each province to stay at home, not to be flying into Ontario or flying out of Ontario,” Ford said. (CTV)

Passenger collapses at Heathrow ‘after waiting in seven-hour queue’
A passenger collapsed at Heathrow Airport following a ‘seven-hour wait’ as travellers are forced to queue up due to coronavirus checks at the border, it has been claimed. Around 800 border staff are working at Heathrow and that all are currently in work subject to the normal reasons for absence, according to the Immigration Services Union (ISU). Spokeswoman Lucy Moreton earlier told MailOnline the queues are taking so long because travellers cannot use eGates due to the government requirement to check 100 per cent compliance with Covid-19 border restrictions. (Daily Mail)

The Dutch/Greece travel experiment
200 Dutch tourists flew to an all-inclusive Greek resort for 8 days as part of a safe travel experiment. They couldn’t go to the beach and had to socially distance, but still had a great time. (Now This)

COVID vaccine passports: More cruise lines and airlines climb aboard
Proving you’re vaccinated to travel abroad isn’t a new concept — some countries have required yellow fever vaccines for years — but doing so for COVID-19 would be on a far grander scale than ever before and would present immense logistical challenges. Passport skeptics also predict they could result in discrimination and fraud, encourage risky behavior in the face of new coronavirus variants, and be a privacy minefield. (CNET)

Wednesday, April 14

Yesterday’s TSA Checkpoint Numbers
TSA officers screened 1,085,034 people at airport checkpoints across the country yesterday, Tuesday, April 13. Two years ago, pre-pandemic, 2,208,688 people were screened on April 13, 2019–approximately double compared to what was seen yesterday. (TSA)

International travel is getting easier — except for the unvaccinated
A growing list of countries is reducing or eliminating quarantine and Covid-19 testing requirements for those who have been fully vaccinated, while keeping restrictions in place for those who haven’t. Where vaccines are easing travel restrictions Barbados announced this week that quarantine requirements for vaccinated travelers will be reduced to zero to two days, during which they can move around their hotels. Unvaccinated visitors, however, must stay in their hotel rooms until they pass a Covid test on the fifth day, and wait several more days for results. Children aren’t eligible to be vaccinated yet, a fact which is complicating family travel plans this year, but Barbados doesn’t leave them out. Kids under 18 years old who are traveling with vaccinated parents are subject to the same rules as vaccinated travelers, according to Barbados’ tourism marketing website. (CNBC)

Heathrow arrivals are being forced to queue at immigration for up to SIX HOURS
Travelers arriving at Heathrow are being forced to queue for up to six hours due to coronavirus checks at the border, an airport executive said. Chief solutions officer Chris Garton told MPs that ‘the situation is becoming untenable’ and the police have been forced to step in. (Daily Mail)

Qantas Expects All of Its Airbus A380 Superjumbos to Fly Again
We think we will reactivate all of the A380s. We spent a lot of money on them,” Qantas Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce said at a CAPA Live virtual conference Wednesday. “Once demand is there, they’re going to be good aircraft.” The Australian airline grounded all 12 of its four-engined behemoths in June, saying they’d be useless for at least three years. (Bloomberg)

WestJet will be extending the temporary suspension of international sun flights
WestJet will be extending the temporary suspension of international sun flights to destinations in Mexico and Caribbean until June 4, 2021. Guests with impacted travel will be contacted directly. (WestJet)

Where Can You Fly Right Now?
Airlines just can’t get the world flying again. Despite a U.S. boom in vaccinations, many countries are battling a resurgent coronavirus. That means carriers are now expected to end 2021 offering about two-thirds the number of seats they did in 2019. Passenger demand could be even lower. Globally, scheduled capacity is stuck at about 58% of pre-pandemic levels, says John Grant, chief analyst at aviation data specialist OAG. For every market that grows, another seems to fall back, he said. (Bloomberg)

A Las Vegas hotel says employees must either get vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing at their own expense
Wynn Resorts and Encore employees in Las Vegas must be vaccinated or undergo a weekly COVID-19 test. Workers who don’t want the vaccine must pay $15 for the on-site testing lab, or go elsewhere for a free test. Las Vegas has recently seen a surge in visitors as vaccine rollout continues and restrictions are lifted. (Business Insider)

International Travelers Heading to New York Will No Longer Have to Quarantine If They’re Fully Vaccinated
Vaccinated travelers heading to New York from abroad will no longer have to quarantine upon arrival, the governor’s office announced over the weekend. The updated travel advisory, which went into effect on April 10, allows those who are two weeks out from their final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to skip self-isolation and testing requirements no matter where they are coming from. It also applies to people who contracted COVID-19 within three months of their trip and recovered. The new guidance follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation that vaccinated people can travel freely and do not need to self-isolate unless required by their local jurisdiction, including those traveling internationally. Travelers boarding a flight to the U.S., however, are still required to test negative for the virus within three days of their departure. (Yahoo)

Delta pulls lie-flats from Boston to LAX, leaving JetBlue as sole holdout
In a sign that business travel isn’t coming back any time soon, Delta Air Lines is making a big adjustment on one of its flagship transcon routes. Going forward, the Atlanta-based carrier is swapping the premium 168-seat Boeing 757-200 for a 160-seat Boeing 737-800 on the Boston (BOS) to Los Angeles (LAX) route, per Cirium schedules and confirmed by the carrier. To compensate for the downgauge, the carrier will fly the route four times a day, up from the previously planned thrice-daily service. (TPG)

Who was flying last year during COVID-19? A lot of people carrying guns, according to the TSA
The likelihood of someone trying to take a gun onto a plane was much higher last year than it was in 2019. In 2020, one firearm was discovered for every 270 passengers screened, on average. That was more than twice as often as the previous year, when on average one gun was uncovered for every 521 passengers at TSA screenings. (MarketWatch)

Welcome To America: Man Accidentally Shoots Himself in Walmart Trying On Pants
A man in Oregon accidentally shot and wounded himself in Walmart while trying on pants in the dressing room, his pistol fell out of his pocket. He was rushed to a local hospital and no other injuries were reported. (Newsweek)

Turkey imposes partial Ramadan lockdown amid record cases
Turkey’s leader has announced a partial lockdown during the first two weeks of Muslim month of Ramadan to curb COVID-19 infections as the number of daily infections hit a record. (ABC News)

Johnny Jet
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12 Comments On "12 Things in Travel You Need to Know Today"
  1. Mavis Sawtell|

    Hi, I came across this blog very helpful I am happy to know that we have such great community. I also have passion of drawing, sketching and painting. You may also share my artwork on your own blog here you will see my art work too in the link. Many thanks so much please lets support eachother.

  2. William Walker Jr|

    I have searched your site but can find nothing on the refund policy at Air France which recently sent out a letter to customers announcing an extension of the policy until 30 September 2021.
    How good is this promise by Air France? Is there fine print travelers should know about?

  3. B Manoogian|

    I received an email this morning from a friend who knows that I have stopped reading your news letter due to you “political comments”. He informed me that several others must have felt as I do and wrote to you stating their positions regarding your “Political Comments” regarding the attack on the Capital. We use to live in a country that allowed and encouraged open debate and discussion. Unfortunately, today we live an America where this is not allowed. Your comments on the Capital were the result of either your closed mine or your inability to receive the facts due to the major news sources blocking and presenting only one side of the issue. I know you do not like President Trump – this is something I should not know about you, but it does not allow you to provide only one side of a story as the “Truth”. I hope you will give this and the other comments you have received on this subject full consideration as you continue to publish your newsletter. I am willing to give you a second chance – Good Luck. Don’t blow it.

  4. SMC|

    He doesn’t need your validation nor your threat to not read the blog. Just don’t do it if you don’t want to . And it’s closed “mind” not mine.

    The evidence of truth for the January 6 riots is in all the footage especially the sound. That’s all one needs to hear and see.

  5. Carolyn Lancaster|

    Where is the Map App Every Traveler should have? I’ve looked through your site and not seen it. Thanks.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Hi! Sorry. I forgot to highlight it. It was under Friday’s tip but the direct link is
      https://www.johnnyjet.com/the-map-app-every-traveler-needs-to-download-now/

      1. John J|

        No android version? Boooooo!

        1. Johnny Jet|

          Looks like there is. From a reader
          On Android:

          • Press and hold the power and volume down buttons at the same time.
          • Screenshot (full screen) will be saved to the “Screenshots” folder

          The process may vary if you have a more ‘skinned Android phone (Samsung, etc.).

  6. james wilson|

    I have read the whole thing looking for the map and never found it. This has happened before. When you put a clickbait headline on your email please let us find it when we click through.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Hi! Sorry. I forgot to highlight it. It was under Friday’s tip but the direct link is
      https://www.johnnyjet.com/the-map-app-every-traveler-needs-to-download-now/

  7. Stefan|

    Thanks for sharing your tips with us.

  8. Robin Chalkley|

    5,800 people getting COVID after vaccinations is a ridiculously small number – .005 percent. And the vaccines were never “bulletproof”, it’s always been known that they are about 90% effective according to the manufacturers. This is the kind of statistical b.s. that serves to keep people needlessly afraid when the situation nationally is significantly improving.

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