Why I Plan To Take My First Flight In Months… I Think

Filed Under: Travel

Update: See this post for the details of my first trip during the pandemic.

I’ve been at home for over three months, and that hasn’t been as terrible as I would have initially assumed — some positive things have even emerged from our time at home. However, I do plan on traveling somewhere in the next couple of weeks (probably even by air), and I’d welcome some feedback.

Why I’m more comfortable flying now

For the past few months I’ve avoided flying at all costs, because I didn’t think it was the right thing to do. Not necessarily because I was convinced that it was “dangerous,” but rather largely because we didn’t know enough:

  • We simply didn’t know enough about the virus
  • Testing was limited in many places, and I didn’t want to take away tests from those who needed them more
  • Airlines initially didn’t have many precautions in place, though they’ve evolved in this regard over the past several weeks, from improving cleaning protocols, to requiring face masks

It has gotten to the point where I would be comfortable flying with the right precautions. It’s important to emphasize that this can’t just be about my own safety, but also the potential risk I pose to others, because I want to be considerate to those who may be more vulnerable.

For me, “responsible” flying comes down to a few things:

  • Getting tested and social distancing before, during, and after travel, as much as possible
  • Wearing a face mask, even beyond situations where social distancing isn’t possible, whether that’s at an airport, in a hotel, or even while walking down the street in another city
  • Bringing hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, etc., and being vigilant
  • Thanks to the beauty of miles & points, on long haul flights whenever possible fly first or business class on airlines that offer the most space and physical separation (whether that’s a door or a lot of privacy otherwise)

I’m also more comfortable getting on planes now that we know a bit more:

  • Few cases of coronavirus spreading have been linked to planes when proper precautions have been taken (especially when you consider that over a million people are still flying daily, with hundreds of people in small confined spaces)
  • Studies increasingly suggest that wearing masks is highly effective for stopping the spread of coronavirus
  • While the WHO walked back the statement that the spread of coronavirus from asymptomatic patients is “very rare,” it does seem that it’s significantly less likely than through symptomatic or pre-symptomatic patients

There’s value in knowing what to expect

I’ve avoided traveling over the past few months, but if done responsibly, I think there’s value in me going out into the “field” and reporting on what things are like on airlines, at hotels, at tourist destinations, etc.

In many ways this isn’t even about wanting to go on vacation. Actually, flying sounds rather unpleasant to me at the moment with face mask requirements, virtually no service, etc.

Rather this is about being able to speak to the current state of airline and hotel travel. After all, I know a lot of people come to this site to get a sense of what to expect when traveling, and I haven’t been able to provide that.

For the first time in 15 years, at this point I actually don’t really have a sense of what it’s like to fly on a plane or stay at a hotel.

That brings me to my question. What reviews would you guys find most useful?

My travel focus will still be on road trips

Just to be clear, the above flights wouldn’t even necessarily be for “vacations” per se. The travel Ford and I are planning this summer primarily involves road trips. We’re intending to go to the Northeast and to Wyoming to visit family.

My intention to review some flights and hotels is separate from that, as I think there’s value in being able to say “hey guys, this is what it’s actually like to fly or stay at a hotel at this point.”

Please don’t skip this section

Let me use my platform here to once again emphasize a point, which I feel like I can’t say enough (since people often read what they want to read). If you’re going to travel this summer, please try to take all reasonable precautions.

Personally I don’t think there’s anything wrong with travel in general at this point, but I think it’s crucial to do everything you can to mitigate risk, not just for yourself, but for others.

There’s a difference between a road trip to a cabin in the middle of nowhere, and flying to Las Vegas to gamble while refusing to wear your mask throughout the entire experience because you feel your liberties are at risk. I also think there’s a middle ground between the two.

If you do decide to travel, please be smart, be considerate of others, get tested, do what you can to social distance (before, during, and after the trip), and in situations where you can’t, please wear a mask.

Bottom line

I’d welcome feedback from you guys regarding what kind of trip reviews you’d find valuable at this point. I’ve been at home since early March, and have been hesitant to fly until recently.

However, I think we’ve gotten to the point where it can be responsible to fly with the correct precautions.

Millions of people check this site every month, largely to get a sense of what it’s like to fly. In comparing the benefit to the risk, I personally feel comfortable traveling with the right precautions, in hopes that my travel will help other people make more informed decisions going forward about their travels.

I have no sense of how I’ll feel getting back on a plane. Will I think “oh this isn’t so different and is kind of fun.” Or will I think “that was miserable, I’m not subjecting myself to that again.”

Please let me know in the comments section what you guys would find useful!

  1. Really, @Lucky, people should not be traveling unless it is absolutely essential. You greatly increase your risk of catching and/or spreading the virus.

  2. Well said. I think that’s the right way to do it. I certainly think there will be plenty of responsible ways to travel domestically while this is all figured out and put to rest internationally. My wife and I just had a son, so we’ll be staying put throughout the summer months by default, but that not the case, I’d have advocated for a July or August flight to somewhere outdoors/nature-focused and also taken road trips to visit family as well. Enjoy yourselves and I look forward to reading about your travels once again!

  3. I’ll be taking my first flight next week to FL to visit my mother. All precautions will be taken.

    By the way, the definition of “social” is: “needing companionship and therefore best suited to living in communities.” We all need to be “social,” and thus we should never be be “socially distant.” So during the pandemic, the preferred term for the suggested minimum six-foot spacing is “physically distant.”

  4. Ben, what’s the difference between “asymptomatic” and “presymtomatic “?

    If you feel safe and you are monitoring new infection numbers, etc, I would enjoy reading any of your suggested review ideas.

  5. @ Flyer — Do you want to qualify that statement a bit more, or you truly don’t think people should travel at all (including a road trip to a cabin in the middle of nowhere)? And if that’s truly what you believe, until when do you think people shouldn’t travel at all?

  6. If you want to travel again, I would highly Recommend to stick what is allowed as a resident of the US – and not as a dual passport holder.

    Hotel stays aren’t a lot different (at least in Germany) and the rules are been relaxed more and more (pools and saunas are opening from Monday in certain federal states). So what might be the case on Monday could totally look different on Friday.

    Personal I do think as a blogger and one as well known as you there is a certain role to play aswell, and following guidelines and rules should be at the moment the highest priority.

    Why not starting with a local road trip along the lines what to pack differently, choose a place you stayed before and compare the experience, maybe add a local round trip flight to get a feeling what changed.

  7. Forget to add – maybe also worth going for a different approach and try out a luxury beach house or cabin and compare whats different and why it might work in those times?

    For flights there was a mention that there have been a few cases of positive tested passengers on LH flights afterwards, so I wouldn’t say it’s totally safe (and there were does Chinese bus studies on top)

  8. I thought about flying to Tuscany in July. You know, help the Italian tourism sector recover and all. Now I’m having 2nd thoughts. I have a more concrete plan set up for October to go to Australia for 2 weeks, which will hopefully materialise. I’ll just have to be picky about which airlines have the most stringent measures to protect their crew and passengers…

  9. I think several details escaped your evaluation:

    (1) it’s almost impossible to determine where almost anyone might have been infected, so the fact that few cases have been linked to flying or airplanes is totally worthless evidence in support of the premise that flying therefore must be pretty safe. We simply have no idea at all.

    (2) it’s now well documented that time of exposure and proximity of exposure together create the risk evaluation for contracting a covid infection, but you ignored that entirely; the longer the flight and/or the closer an infected contagious person might be to you, the more likely one will be exposeD enough to get infected—mask or no mask.

    (3) masks only help so much, so an infected person sitting in front of or behind you or two seats away might reduce your risk in a plane….but that risk increases significantly as the duration of the flight increases beyond 20-30 min. Most flights are going to be significantly longer than that.

    Flying is a pretty big risk even today and increasingly in the future because we don’t know who might sit close to us, who might be infected but asympomatic or presymptomatic, how full a flight might be, etc. That may be insufficient risk for you as a travel blogger who needs to travel to find fodder for your blog, but that is more than enough risk for many of us to avoid any unnecessary airplane travel.

  10. @ Ray — To be clear, are you from the US? If so, Australia anytime in 2020 seems highly, highly unlikely.

  11. I like how you weigh up the risks. Life is full of risks and so was travel before corona too – eg tropical diseases. I would say no need to be the first one to travel and by waiting a month or so longer, we’ll know more about how effective the measures put in place for travelling are working. It’s the airports more than the airlines I’m looking at, since as you point out there have been very cases of people catching anything while in a plane.

    Hoping these measures do work well, I’m thinking an outdoors place like the Faroe Islands or Spitzbergen in August.

  12. I’d like you to please review your rental car to the northeast! A few years ago my friends did a roadtrip on a mini-van and it was quite spacious and comfortable! I’d do it again and in some ways prefer it over flying.

  13. I flew for the first time in a long time over Memorial Day weekend. 2 flights on Delta, one on United. Overall, I felt like it was fine. Delta was definitely going to great lengths to promote that their flights were okay. The gate agents at each point made announcements that the planes were being sanitized/ cleaned before we boarded. The gate agents asked everybody to wear masks and checked as they were boarding. Delta is being vigilant about only filling up to 60% of their planes at most, and I had nobody sitting next to me. The flight attendants distribute a snack pack to all passengers while flying a snack pack that included hand sanitizer. On my United flight, a short one from Hartford to Washington, they handed everybody a lysol wipe while boarding – individually packaged. No service on the flight, but that was fine. All the airports I was in had signs asking people to be socially distant. Most people I saw had masks on, but in Atlanta when transiting on Delta I noticed there were fewer masks than elsewhere. ON all flights I was on, most people had masks on during the entire flight, though did see people remove them if they were drinking or eating, then put them back on.

    I’m flying again for vacation a week from tomorrow, and will be sure to bring masks, hand sanitizer, and wipes. Overall, domestically at least, I feel comfortable flying, taking these precautions.

  14. Ben is under no obligation to the readers.

    However , a day trip from Mia-Dfw in first on the 77W would be fun. He wouldn’t even have to leave the airport.

  15. Hi Lucky
    The worse thing about flying at this time may not be the flight itself but rather everything else associated with traveling, specially airports. I have been a frequent flyer for over 30 years now and the inconvenient baggage that is expected to come with flying is putting me off taking my next flight.
    I also find the various authorities’ hypocrisy of enforcing social distancing at airports but not on planes a little insulting for my average intelligence. Add to that airlines depriving passengers of most extras in the name safety and .. I guess you see where I’m coming from.
    What do you think ?

  16. International travel for the purposes of a blog would be irresponsible. The spread of the virus is still increasing in large parts of the world (India, Brazil, Russia ,US) and many European countries coming out of a hard lock down are starting to see spikes in cases. A second wave is almost certainly on the cards and we should all be doing what we can to contain it.

  17. Lucky, you are totally over thinking this. I have had to fly every week since this all began. The airlines are taking every precaution. I never seen such clean airplanes. Everyone wears a mask and service is limited to nonexistent. It is about transportation from one point to another. Everything in life has risks, the risk of flying has been mitigated to an acceptable level. The risk will not change until there is a vaccine and I am sure that is a year off at least.

  18. I’d like to see you try to get on the first international departure overseas. I’ve been closely tracking options for Portugal, Greece, Iceland and now Turkey. I’m ready to head to the first place that will allow entry and would be interested to hear how things go.

  19. @Lucky I think it’s great you’re planning on traveling, I’d like to hear some of your tips and experiences. We can make our own assessments of risk as we learn more about the virus.

    I flew on a short non-business excursion the other weekend to Seattle and rented a car to go to rural Idaho. It’s a great time to experience and visit the outdoor in America. I took precautions on the plane (mask wearing, cognizant about touching surfaces, etc) and then spent most of my time in places outside where there weren’t many people as it was and didn’t wear a mask. It’s possible.

  20. I think if you must fly then it should be domestically, that way if you do fall ill your not putting undue pressure on the health system, travelling outside the US is not really fair on other countries care systems.

  21. Reviewing different airports airlines hotel chains on their pandemic protocols under current circumstances (while taking all necessary precautions) can inform readers and help them make decision on their movements. I personally think this is doing the society a service. As long as yourself is okay with risk, like flying and traveling in general, I’d say it’s gonna do the society more benefit than harm

  22. It seems like cases are really surging right now. A strange time to move about the country, no?

  23. I’m here for Ben’s road trip report to Wyoming when he has to spend an entire day driving through Nebraska. I’ve driven all over the USA & that’s the most boring day you can have.

  24. @Lucky, I would be interested in your review of a domestic trip to Wyoming/Montana. Flights, rental cars, hotels, and also how the locals view tourists from higher infection rate areas. Would they be happy to see more customers, or angry at “outsiders spreading germs” – or at “mask-wearing liberals taking away their freedom”? Earlier in the pandemic there were cases of locals in rural Maine attacking cars with NY/NJ plates.

  25. Ben – I would like to see your reviews on all aspects of the domestic travel experience, including your thoughts on questions like:

    1) What is it like to fly on domestic US airlines in all cabins?

    2) Are premium cabins worth it at this point given reduced soft product and distancing policies (e.g., on Delta you get guaranteed middle seat in economy and no service in premium cabins, so is C+ or F worth it)?

    3) What are airline lounges like? How does this vary across airlines / locations?

    4) What value can customers get from Priority Pass? Are credit cards that offer Priority Pass or other lounge benefits worth keeping as they come up for renewal? Which PP restaurants / lounges are open and available and what are they offering?

    5) What is the hotel experience like and how does this vary for elite guests (e.g., are lounges open / what do they offer)?

    I think there is a lot that you could cover in domestic travel right now that I would find valuable as a reader

  26. Lucky – what exactly are you afraid of? You don’t look like you are obese or over 50 (of course I can’t know if you have some pre-existing immune disorder). Look at the actually data – if you are under 19, the flu is worse. If you are under 45, your chances of dying from a drug overdose or car accident are still higher and it’s not that much worse than the flu. If you’re afraid of spreading it to someone who is in a higher risk group – why is it your fault if someone who shouldn’t be taking risks does? You really wouldn’t take a trip just because you’re afraid some 75 year old with chronic respiratory problems may be sitting next you (which would be really stupid on their part)? If you go to a casino are you responsible for the guy next to you who bet away his life savings on craps when he couldn’t afford to – would you stop gambling in hopes to make him stop? We are at a point where people should be able to assess their own risk profile and act accordingly. If they are unable to, fine, let the government continue to issue guidelines, but do it in a focused way.

    Asses you own situation, act accordingly and live your life. The world is full of danger that we ignore all the time that can’t be so easily compartmentalized and doesn’t discriminate. Where’s the trillions of $ spent on ending drug addiction, drunk driving, gun violence, etc?

    I would love to travel now. Tons of award availability, cheap rates, deals all over the place. If we really used our % risk of death due to the virus as a guideline to leaving the house, we’d never get on a highway, never go in the sun, never take a sip of alcohol, never take a single prescription drug….

  27. I say go for it and report back. It seems like with the BLM protests these days, social distancing went out the window.

  28. I think understanding how travel has been impacted would be good. As an example I read on the WOH Facebook group, that several people staying at Hyatts in the US, do not have daily housekeeping service – rather it is only done before you check in. However, I am currently living at the Park Hyatt in Melbourne (in between house moves) and do have daily housekeeping plus nightly turn down. The club lounge is closed so as a globalist, I can basically order anything from room service for free for breakfast or go to one of 2 restaurants. Staff will only bring your food to your door (which I prefer anyway). Housekeeping however don’t seem to care if you are in your room when they clean. Next week will be Park Hyatt Canberra and Sydney and some local motels (roadtrip).

    Domestically our airlines start back up next month and 2 more of our state borders open (BAD WA!!). I am personally waiting until August as my status year starts on Aug 1. So whilst I am good with status for the next year, I want to earn status credits for the next year – so why fly in July when I am only going to lose them. I am interested in what the experience will be like.

    On this site a lot of people have different expectations in terms of travel (which is great), so being clear on what you get on a domestic flight in economy vs business//first would be great, same with hotels. Personally for me when I travel internationally, my primary concern is the seat – I like the extra space and not being close to random people. Whilst I love the caviar and Krug, it is not my reason for flying SQ first – but for others it is. So knowing what you are getting for your $$$$ would be helpful.

    BTW – please check out the new LGA!

  29. It would be helpful to get some reviews about flying domestically within the US. That said, if you are going to do it, reviews in coach would be better than first as most people aren’t going to burn miles on domestic first tickets especially if it is not a widebody.

  30. @flyer

    We take risks every day doing even the most mundane things. Flying is a risk, however, its been shown that its much safer than you think. Its time to begin returning to a form of normal and acting like were all going to die if we set foot on a plane.

  31. Ben,

    I think you are reasonable human being (perhaps with exclusion of some TV shows :)), and you are aware of risks that your travel could pose to you and others. By the way, asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic is kind of hard to distinguish, including the person who is a virus carrier herself/himself.

    That said, I would guess that most of your readers, who visit your site for a quality content, would prefer to read reviews of your home and Ford’s cooking than seeing you flying on multiple airlines in the midst of new case spikes in nearly half of the states.

    Most of us likely have few years to go to read all your future cool reviews, unless we succumb to low oxygen levels due to COVID-19.

  32. @ Lucky — nope, I live in London. The so-called “air corridors” are to begin soon, I think. I don’t know if I’ll be flying Etihad or Cathay. Again, I’ll have to see how each airlines adapt to this “new normal” until hopefully a safe vaccine is in worldwide distribution

  33. I think you make a great point that anyone who is traveling should take necessary precautions and use reasonable care to protect themselves, fellow travelers, etc. Since travel for leisure is allowed and legal, and several cities are opening up and have their own procedures in place, I think it’s okay for people who are not symptomatic to travel for fun. I think it’s common sense that if someone is symptomatic or does not feel well, they should not travel. Various time frames are rather arbitrary anyway. For people who do not want to travel or do not feel comfortable doing so, that is completely fine, no judgment there. At the same time, people who openly flout requests or requirements for social distancing or PPE should definitely reconsider their actions for the benefit of everyone.

    My city has already opened restaurants backed up at 25% occupancy. I’ve eaten out a couple of times and the restaurants and staff are taking safety procedures very seriously, I appreciate their thoroughness and efforts to be safe, which in turn gives me confidence to continue going out and supporting them. I am also flying domestically again soon and looking forward to it.

    The sooner we can normalize the behavior of mask-wearing, social distancing and self quarantining in case of illness symptoms, the sooner we can all get back to a new normal that includes dining out and global travel.

  34. I find it interesting everyone saying domestic (USA) is ok but international is not. Ben lives in Florida which is absolutely surging with new cases, (as is most of the south) including nearly 2000 new cases reported just today. Europe largely beat this by truly locking down and staying that way for a long time (UK excepted). Americans seem to feel like it’s our right to infect people. And do not blame BLM for this massive surge in cases. BLM may cause a surge, but it’s too early to know. This is fully a result of states opening too early and people not taking precautions.

    The US and Brazil (and maybe Russia) are the epicenters now.

  35. I think there’s a pretty clear litmus test as to whether or not what you’re proposing is right or wrong. I’m pretty sure the current applicable guidelines right now are still: Avoid all unnecessary travel.

    Are your proposed flights really necessary, or just something you want to do?

    Virus spread and hospitalizations are sharply rising in many parts of the US – including your home state (in fact, most of the states that have recently started to “open up”). We are just on the leading edge of the window where we will be able to see the impact of the lack of social distancing that spiked on the Memorial Day weekend (the Ozark Pool Party, as just one celebrated example). In another 10 days, we should have reasonably good data to indicate to what degree (if any) all the recent “opening up” has spiked virus spread. It’s still a bit early to evaluate that, but there are lots of metrics that already hint we are about to see a big spike (the second spike of our first wave). Give things another 2 weeks and the picture should become much more clear.

    Personally, I’ve already canceled an international trip I had booked in September. I’ve been hoping for a domestic road trip this fall, but given all the graphs I’m seeing showing big, sharp, hard-to-ignore upward trends in virus spread in the very states I was hoping to visit (big, rectangular, Trump-country states), I’m going to put detailed planning for that trip on hold for another few weeks to look at how big the looming spike turns out to be. It’s quite possible that half the country is going to be “on fire” (think New York City in April) come July, and if that’s the case, I’ll shelter at home some more rather than contributing to what could be Wyoming’s woes this summer. I’d urge everyone to consider such things as well.

    We are still in the early days of this pandemic, despite the whining impatience of the denialists.

  36. I’ve never seen so much hand-wringing and fear in my entire life.

    I honestly can’t keep reading these blogs and comments much more.
    It’s just so utterly depressing and insane, I can’t describe it.

    I flew this morning.
    I will fly Monday.
    I’ve been to something like 12 states in the last 6 weeks.
    I’ve been to 9 or 10 countries already in 2020.

    It’s amazing what happens if you don’t watch the news, or don’t live in a level of fear and anxiety that must be turning some commenters here – insane.

    Flying is effectively zero % different than it was in February.

    The two changes are:
    1) people are pumped full of anxiety and fear by the media to a level that is, at this point, incomprehensible.

    I’ve tried every logical argument, I’ve shown people I’m traveling regularly. And the fear just… it’s paralyzed a world.

    2) Your flight times might change. I’ve had a number of flight times adjusted or cancelled, so you have to be flexible.

    Otherwise, the last 3 months of traveling the US have been some of the most relaxed, enjoyable and beautiful traveling I have experienced in my life.

    500,000 people flew yesterday.
    When will that number be high enough for everyone to say ‘ok, I can take a plane ride too today….’

    I just… I am lost for words any more on the deep seated and incessant level of fear that most humans have bought in to still. This will certainly be one of the most life changing few months for me in my life.

    I will never again claim to understand people on any level, it’s just, this is not something that can be understood logically.

  37. Totally agree that we should start travelling again. We are going on a small trip to the black forest in Germany (as a substitute for our yearly Miami vacation) next week as soon as the borders in Europe open up. We’ve also decided to take our south of france holiday this summer to support tourism and travel. If everyone stays at
    home the sector is going to go into meltdown. Strangely enough our pitstop in lyon at the Marriott has been cancelled because the hotel won’t be reopening untill late august. You would think they would be eagerly awaiting guests… anyway Lucky would love to hear your experiences travelling domestic us and intercontintental just to have a feel what is going on with the measured being taken worldwide. Keep up the good work and stay safe!

  38. Sorry Lucky, but you are traveling from a location with one of the worst uncontained outbreaks in the country. While the risks to you may be manageable with precautions, that flatly does not make it responsible. You are literally contributing to the spread of the virus (to employees, other people on the flight, people at the destination) for purposes of a blog post.

    In the scheme of things it’s probably not a big deal. But responsible? Not even close. Not yet anyway.

  39. George, I invite you to visit the mass graves in New York or our refrigerated trucks that were used as temporary morgues to understand why people take this seriously. Or speak to my very healthy friend David who ended up on a ventilator for two weeks and came very close to dying. His sin? He had minor, controllable asthma.

    I this, I that. Me this, me that. It’s a bit sad. The people choosing not to fly/travel are doing so because they are thinking of people other than themselves. They’re taking reasonable efforts to break the chains of transmission so others may live. They’re being god damned American citizens.

  40. @ Out There And Back — I totally see where you’re coming from, but in my view it’s not that black and white. In my view it can be responsible to travel from a place with a high number of cases, and can be irresponsible to travel from a place with a low number of cases. It all depends on the circumstances.

    For example, would you consider it irresponsible if I get tested, the test comes back negative, and I social distance before going on a trip?

  41. Attention America: just because you’re bored of the pandemic this does not mean it is over.

    Travelling for pleasure at this point is selfish and unnecessary.

  42. I can’t understand why you have NOT started flying again. You owe it to us to share your post C-19 experiences.
    Here in New Zealand we had very little COVID, but sadly our Prime Minister has locked down the borders and we are Fortress New Zealand. I am not happy about this.

  43. This may have already been said in earlier comments, but it is worth restating. Don’t believe a thing the airlines tell you… we booked a “socially distanced” flight to take care of some important family business on Allegiant only to find the following…no one respecting 6 feet distance, few with masks, and to our surprise an absolutely packed plane. We almost deplaned as the feeling of discomfort increased…but we had our supplies and chose to continue as the trip really needed to occur to settle an estate. Unfortunately mid-flight the gentlemen behind be whom had been couching the entire trip without at mask went to the front of the plane where he collapsed on the floor and despite the valiant efforts of several first responders passed away. The plane was then diverted to Nashville. As if all of this hadn’t been stressful enough they let passengers disembark. So once more at least half the plan passed within inches as they disembarked and rebounded, most without masks. We checked drive time to our destination and once again thought of leaving the plane… We obviously made to our arrival airport where everyone stood shoulder to shoulder to disembark. I won’t fly again until there is a vaccine or they put my ashes on a plane for delivery to my relatives. If you could fly first class, guarantee that you are the last to board and the first to deplane I’d consider it, otherwise you are taking you life in you own hands. My two cents….

  44. I have copied and pasted from Taylor (above), as I couldn’t have said it any better.

    Ben – I would like to see your reviews on all aspects of the domestic travel experience, including your thoughts on questions like:

    1) What is it like to fly on domestic US airlines in all cabins?

    2) Are premium cabins worth it at this point given reduced soft product and distancing policies (e.g., on Delta you get guaranteed middle seat in economy and no service in premium cabins, so is C+ or F worth it)?

    3) What are airline lounges like? How does this vary across airlines / locations?

    4) What value can customers get from Priority Pass? Are credit cards that offer Priority Pass or other lounge benefits worth keeping as they come up for renewal? Which PP restaurants / lounges are open and available and what are they offering?

    5) What is the hotel experience like and how does this vary for elite guests (e.g., are lounges open / what do they offer)?

    I think there is a lot that you could cover in domestic travel right now that I would find valuable as a reader

  45. I would say that as long as this pandemic is still raging, and it currently is, I would limit any air travel to essential only. I’m not going to shame you for wanting to fly but the risk is not worth the reward so long as people are still dying from this virus.

    I’ve had two flights in the last month and both were for essential business travel. I can tell you that not everyone in the airport wears a mask and even once aboard not everyone wears their masks. My first flight I was geared up with an N95 mask which is extremely uncomfortable for extended periods of time and I was methodical wiping down my seat area as well as my rental car. I did feel the rental car was much dirtier than the plane seat.

  46. @George, you cannot understand people logically perhaps because your frequent travel during the pandemic is bot that logical either?

    If everybody paid attention to recommendations, U.S. would not be spiking with new cases from already unacceptable levels that never significantly decreased after peaking. Look at any other country that took this seriously (not always early but eventually) and compare the data in the U.S. Do not need to send the astronauts to space to realize that something is completely off with our approach here in the land of the free (free of common sense for some).

  47. Lucky, you have cabin fever.
    It’s irresponsible to travel unnecessarily today and for longer if the cases continue to rise in the US.
    It would be a tragedy if you and Ford caught Covid just because you wanted to fly.
    Here’s part of an e-mail from a previously healthy friend who lives in the UK.
    “I’m not really recovering, because coronavirus doesn’t work that way. The symptoms keep recurring even though you’re no longer infectious. Once it’s in your body it keeps attacking your immune system which is what causes the constant fatigue and weakness. My other problem is constant breathlessness, so I’m going for a chest x-ray on Monday to check lung function. I’ve become seriously anaemic and have dropped 15K in 3 months. So all in all I’m still quite seriously ill. I’m what they call a Longhauler, one of the people who’s had a really bad case and hasn’t been able to shake it off”.

    Hang in there a bit longer, Lucky.

  48. @Lucky, part of my work involves risk assessment. Some of the data we consider is related to COVID-19 itself, but other information relates to things like hospital capacity/access to healthcare, public services, regulatory environment, compliance with health advisories, etc. There are still many unknowns to these things and services we depend on internationally are still not functioning even in countries least affected by COVID-19. As such, I cannot recommend any international travel in good faith at this time. In the US, some aspects of the situation are actually even more concerning with rising cases of COVID-19, especially in Florida and a number of states in the Western US. For this reason, it is my personal recommendation that non-essential travel not be conducted at this time – even if via personal car.

  49. Lots of interesting comments, but why isn’t anyone addressing that fact that the virus DOES discriminate. Someone here tell me the risk to a traveler under 40 without any of main underlying conditions (obesity, immune disorders) and why aren’t all these guidelines targeted. As far as I can tell – there is absolutely no extra risk to a large segment of the population regardless of 6th or masks.

    And by the way, all of you quoting the ‘new’ outbreak in places like FL. Do you understand anything? As testing is more widely available the numbers of people who have had the virus will go up. It’s meaningless. Keep in mind that the estimate is 10X more people have actually had than have tested positive. So take all you death rates based on confirmed cases and reduce them by that factor.

    Travel restrictions should be based on your demographic, and then by free will – not some idiot politicians who like being on TV with the appearance that they’re doing something. It’s simply not fair to punish an entire population when you know who the problem groups are.

  50. @Out There And Back

    You can’t say things like ‘mass-graves’ and expect anyone to take you seriously.
    Sorry, it’s hyperbole like that that causes such division.

    400,000 people have died in 7 months.
    In those 7 months, 35,000,000 (35 million) people have died of other causes.
    Covid-19 is hyped up, but, the numbers don’t bear it out.
    Maybe if it was 10Million or so, it would be worth of fear and panic. But, 400,000?
    It’s a rounding error in the normal, regular, annual death rate.

    You’re scared, so you’re acting on your fear.
    That’s fine, you do what you what.
    But, that doesn’t mean *I* have to be scared.

    And I don’t get why you are telling *other* people what to do?

    If I never wanted to die in a car accident, I would never get in a car.
    But, I take that risk, as, I want to have a life.
    I don’t tell other people not to drive cars – I accept the risk as an adult.

    Stay indoors, lock yourself in.
    Wear a mask for the rest of your life.
    I certainly don’t care.

    But, why does your fear have to define *my* life?
    Oh wait, it doesn’t. And I show it every day by not listening to people like you.

    You can call it what you want, I call it logical and having a brain.
    You want people to be locked indoors for 3 months so your friend doesn’t get sick?

    Millions will suffer and die because you don’t want your friend to get sick
    And you think *I’m* selfish?

    It’s just inane level of hypocrisy here.
    You have to see that by now.

  51. For the average person, I don’t think they should really be travelling, I’ll eat my hat if US new case numbers don’t spike in the next 2 weeks.

    That said, I think there is value in you documenting what travel is like during this period of time (especially air travel), as long as you take reasonable precautions and are personally comfortable with the risks. It would at least satisfy my curiosities without having to fly myself.

  52. Good for you Ben. Travel shamming will be a real thing until there is a vaccine. Don’t mind the haters. All anyone can do is self evaluate the risks, plan and react accordingly. You are young and healthy and we know you will be responsible after travel.

  53. First off, good on you for flying again! It is the cornerstone of your profession, after all.

    With this being said, I do find it sad that you feel the need (rightly so, I’m afraid) to defend yourself. This Covid debacle has revealed a near-majority of your readers to be sanctimonious authoritarians; many of the rest are hypochondriacs.

    It is amazing to me that half of you ever got on a plane pre-corona, let alone in a car or even made it out your front door in the morning. Life is risky! And it ends the same for all of us.

  54. I’m with you George!

    Look I know somebody who was militant about the quarantine and was just diagnosed with corona. The anxiety would kill me before the virus if I gave in to the fear mongering.

    I will be on the first flight if there is a country that will let me in. I would really like more information about service on board. My few domestic flights were peaceful but the lack of catering and airport concessions was rough.

  55. No Thanks! Not taking any chances until a “real” vaccine is widely available! Most likely sometime in 2021!

  56. We all have to die at some point. So why not climb to the top of the Stratosphere and hop off right now, with no parachute, bungee cord, or anything else to prevent your splatter?

    Why have you decided that being cognizant of facts and endeavoring to reduce the risk to everyone — yourself and others — is “being scared”?

  57. @DeltaDMND2021 You make a really important point: The restart of travel (as is the case with society and the economy, more broadly) is more political at this point than it is scientific or medical.

    This is especially the case when it comes to the slow (agonizingly so, in most parts of the world) re-opening of borders. Keeping out “dangerous” foreigners in order to “protect” citizens is perhaps the surest way to score points with the electorate—and, hopefully, to win your next election.

    Eventually, however, economic reality is going to trump political fairy tales, especially for countries that depend heavily on tourism and foreign investment. Technology and innovation are going to stand it, at long last, for the pathetic, pea-brained fear that has guided most public policy in 2020.

    Whether anyone likes it or not—least of all, the judgmental Judys that frequent this comment section—point-of-entry testing stations and mandatory tracing app downloads are going to enable a sizable restart of international travel and tourism, and serve as a bridge to a vaccine/cure. Smart countries are going to implement these protocols sooner rather than later, hopefully with some level of global coordination.

  58. I am with those who think that travel for now should be limited to essential travel only, and in my view, you going out “into the field” to report on what it’s currently like to fly or stay in a hotel does not fall in the category of such essential travel. I still think it’s too early to say whether one can fly “responsibly.” The whole reason we’ve been cooped up at home for the past several months is because social distancing is the best way to prevent the spread of the virus, and it seems to me that being confined to a metal tube with hundreds of other passengers for several hours is the very opposite of social distancing. Remember, also, that the reason this is a global pandemic is because of the ubiquity of air travel.

    I get that you’re antsy to be traveling; I think we all are. I’ve been looking at hotels and flights in my spare time just because it feels weird to me not to have any trip coming up in the near future. But I also recognize that if I can do something to help minimize the spread of this virus, and ultimately allow things to get back to normal more quickly, I should do that. And in my view, that means for now not traveling unless it is essential. I think that is the only responsible path at the moment.

    And for those wondering, what about the protests? There are those that believe that protesting systemic racism and inequality is essential enough to put aside social distancing rules. I don’t view traveling for the sake of some blog posts (or to vacation or get away from things) to be anywhere close to being as essential.

  59. just connect at CLT, crowed.. Airlines cut service on board and airport limits facilities = no social distancing at food courts
    few restaurants open with long queues

  60. I’ve traveled twice now. Once in May and once last week. In May was to Dallas for essential travel and last week was a vacation to Florida. You’ll be fine.

  61. @Andrew Of course you just lectured Lucky (and the rest of us) about what’s “essential” (and what isn’t) for three paragraphs and then excused the protests/riot. Of course you did!

  62. My company is doing IT services, we never stopped to work even at the pike moment of Covid-19 in Europe, many customer need us at this time.
    As a blogger who work and inform us about flying and hospitality, its clear that you need to show us what is about flying now. It will help many people to take decision/be prepared and also to make us return to normality faster.

    Escaping the reality and living with fear just make you look not very serious and credible anymore.

    Soon the border will open to Asia I will fly to breath, meet relatives, meet my friends I miss. Fear ? really not, I can protect myself and do the right things, I am not a child.

  63. I feel it is not responsible to fly now. There are exceptions, such as for humanitarian reasons (medical personnel, maybe even a funeral). A weaker exception is for people like Lucky, who depend on writing travel reviews for a living.

    Right now, we’re no different from when hundreds of people were dying in NYC except there is less reluctance to wear a mask. The virus is still the same.

  64. Ben and all.
    We got cabin fever after months in Park City so we flew a few weeks ago
    Delta SLC-ATL-SRQ ( Sarasota )
    No Problem at all. Never have I seen the planes recent or old look sooo clean center seats blocked and vacant.
    I would not worry at all. Zero concern.
    Mask / Gloves

  65. I don’t know why people are behaving like the pandemic is close to over when we barely passed the peak. And from the comments clearly people are not even thinking how places like Florida is well on their way to a second wave. Yeah yeah I hear lots of excuses like we’re suppose to be social and not distant or live life and enjoy blah blah. They’re all excuses to do whatever you want without the guilt that’s its selfish. Working in a hospital and seeing workers mentally and emotionally beaten down and not even getting a break and have to prepare all over again for another possible influx meanwhile all you guys do is clap and say we love our Healthcare workers and then turn around and go out without your masks and enjoy your life.

  66. @Robert Schrader – Ben asked for my opinion, and I gave it. And you’ve spent several POSTS lecturing all of us, so…

  67. The problem isn’t whether we, as international travelers, are comfortable with the risk of the virus but rather if a foreign country wants the additional traffic (risk) of foreigners who may contract the virus and spread it to their populations. The travel restrictions are not about your (low) demographic risk but rather the risk to other high risk individuals who are less fortunate and the burden on the health care systems for those citizens if they get sick and perhaps additional sick visitors. It’s a complete shitstorm for public health officials to attempt to figure out the best approach with the limited knowledge they currently have on the mechanisms of how the virus spreads and how easily it’s transmitted. The good news is that with more knowledge as time passes there may be more clarity of future risk. I want to travel just as much as everyone here since my livelihood depends on it but I’m stuck until the restrictions are lifted.

  68. Ben knows how to generate comments, that’s for sure!

    I am traveling now with driving trips for work. Slowly, carefully, cautious as I can. I am actually in Miami now for a meeting I had today.

    Hotels are barely staffed. As an example I am at a Ritz Carlton and you are fortunate to get anyone to answer the phone internally. Room service is in bags. Services are very limited. I am fine with that (but really, just stay at a limited property these days is it’s not much different). The hotel feels so empty though as to be eerie. I am not criticizing, but just pointing out that to expect travel now to be somehow “fun” and “luxury” is living in a dream world of pre-covid. It’s all about function and simple.

    As well, depending on where you go, hotels can be fairly lax. At a property in Savannah earlier this week the staff wore masks dangling around their necks and with no screens at check in. It was rather surprising.

    Good luck, Ben and others. To travel for enjoyment right now you are in for a big surprise. It’s all but. Not to discourage those doing business that need to keep the engines turning. But for those thinking this is opportunity to enjoy empty hotels and flights and an opportunity to relish the moment it’s far from some fantasy. Unless your fantasy is dystopian.

  69. I was looking forward to my first flight in months this weekend.
    I thought the plane would be half empty and I would be relatively comfortable with precautions in place. Surprise, Surprise.
    I got an email from the airline this morning telling me my flight was leaving 2 hours earlier than I expected and it was going to be a full flight….overbooked as a matter of fact!
    They gave me the option to cancel my trip or select another flight if my schedule was flexible. When I clicked on the link to choose a different flight…….Surprise! No additional flights were available..
    Usually I love to fly I have been known to book a weekend trip just to take a plane ride. Right now, I am not looking forward to this at all and if they offer me any other option I would cancel at the drop of my hat.
    When I bought this ticket, this mess is not what I bargained for!

  70. For the love of all things holy, it’s not about being afraid of catching the virus yourself. Like Lucky, I too am relatively young and healthy and have done many more life-threatening things in my life than risked catching coronavirus. Rather, it’s about doing the right thing for the public good and not becoming a vector. AGAIN: you are not brave for traveling freely without precaution during this time. You are just selfish.

    That said, I do believe that if one takes the precautions to A: test themselves right before they fly and social distance post-test, B: know that you can get tested in your destination a few days after arrival and C: know that you can social distance at destination, then it may make sense to travel. Also if one has the time to spare, traveling internationally to a place that has a low case load and is doing mandatory quarantine for international arrivals may make sense too. Then you know it’s highly unlikely that you become a vector. My fear is that, unlike Lucky, people won’t travel responsibly and hence we see the spread.

    Given that I trust Lucky to get tested, social distance and wear a mask, I would be interested in biz class domestic flight reviews, hotel reviews AND if a country opens up to US passport holders and is doing testing on arrival + has low case loads, etc, reviews of an international trip.

    That said, if you decide to stay put for a little while longer, Lucky, I am in full support. I too can’t remember the last time I’ve gone this long without stepping foot on a plane, and you know what, it’s a-okay. I can see that it would be a tough decision for you. Maybe wait a little longer to see if our current uptick really takes off? Or go on a road trip and get tested before taking off and at some point on the trip. (I live in a city where it’s easy to get tested and there isn’t a shortage of tests. I’d certainly want to research if that was also the case at my destination.)

  71. @George, I am fit young and healthy. I am not at all worried about this, notwithstanding the fact that other fit, young and healthy people have suffered from this virus. I’m not scared or hiding from it. I’m

    I am assuming you are obese and from Texas, based on both your self-centered worldview and writing style. You’re absolutely not young (as we know better). You’re likely at more risk than you think, but I agree that’s your problem not mine.

    The problem is people like you who don’t care can get people like my parents sick. Or my friend David. Or the person sitting next to you on a not socially-distanced flight. Because you feel like being a Typhoid Mary who isn’t going to be told what to do.
    Your right to swing your fist ends where my mom’s nose begins. That isn’t that complicated.

    I appreciate that you don’t like facts or google (we all know where you get your news), but Hart Island is where we’ve been burning our Covid 19 unclaimed deaths. And yes, it’s a mass grave.


    I take it back – don’t come visit us in New York. I hear Florida is wide open.

  72. I personally believe the question if you should or not travel depends on the place of origin/destination of the trip. Here in Europe we are starting to see an important reduction in the number of cases, and life is everyday, slowly, going into the ”new normal”. I can confirm precautions are taken in almost every public area, masks are widely used and hand sanitizer gel provided in almost every business open to the public. Therefore starting July I do feel confident about traveling inside Europe, taking all precautions and doing so responsibly. That is my personal case as a European.

    In your case it is the United States, the country with the most cases reported worldwide at the moment, therefore it would be risky to receive in tourists from here, however if you are tested negative a couple days before your travel, self isolate for the beginning part of your trip, and then get tested again while taking all precautions, I do not see why this should be a problem. Only you know how responsible you have been during your travels, and by taking all precautions necessary you are doing your duty with the public health of the country you are visiting, while boosting their economy with tourism which is very much needed at the moment.

    Cheers and all the best !

  73. @Robert, the public health risk of systemic racism in our country is much greater than that of the virus. The BLM protests occurring now are absolutely an essential service to society.

  74. People who book flights and then are surprised their flights are full… Lol. I guess everyone thinks they’re a snowflake.

    But then again USA is a nation filled with selfish know-it-alls.

  75. I’ve had to fly numerous times over the past few months because my job requires it. I don’t fear it. The planes are sanitized between every flight, everyone wears a mask, and most flights were at about 10% capacity. Actually, it’s been quite nice without the crowds.

  76. I think it’s important and useful to set people’s expectations on what travel today is like. I’ve just returned from a required domestic trip. We flew out on American Airlines and back on Delta. The experience was very different. Layovers in Miami and Atlanta were also totally different. It would have been helpful to have some insight from others we had just traveled. Delta lounges in Atlanta are open and American limited first class capacity to 50%. American filled their flight and lounges were not open; there was a long line at the one Priority Pass restaurant airside in Miami. Some passengers neither wore masks nor respected distances. No restaurants were open at the four Bonvoy properties accessible from the Atlanta Skytrain. So many unexpected experiences that I’d have loved to know about ahead of time. I’m not planning to leisure travel now until next year at earliest.

  77. I’m not going to tell anybody whether to travel or not, but It is interesting how many people talk of being young, healthy etc. being a factor. That doesn’t affect the likelihood of you catching or spreading COVID-19. Just look at the graduation parties, etc. It may mitigate how serious it will be on you if you do get it.

    So such comments are an indication that you are thinking much more of yourselves, and not of others. I guess the good thing is that you’re unlikely to ever know of you pass it on to somebody that is not so lucky (so you have no guilt assuming you would have it in either case).

    Tests are better than nothing, but you can test rest negative one day and positive the next.

  78. If whole US had really shut down for four weeks straight, then we wouldn’t be in the mess we are in right now. It’s sad that some refuse to do minimum such as wearing a mask to protect fellow Americans. The reason US is in such a mess right now is the “me, me, me” mentality. “if you are old, fat, have pre-existing conditions then you should stay home and protect yourself. What does it have to do with me, me, me?” If the country would just pause me me me attitude for a month, the mess we are in would have long passed. Sadly the only way out of this mess is for someone to find a vaccine because the me me me attitude in US will never change. We will still be dealing with this mess through the whole summer into fall while most of the Europe and parts of Asia have it together now or very soon and likely will be opening up to each other by fall (but not to Americans).

    @Lucky, I do think it’s good that you are possibly traveling to Iceland because it’s another data point for people to go. Have a safe trip and stay healthy. Look forward to reading the blog posts. Maybe you can even vlog it live on Facebook or Insta. It would give people have a good sense of what it is like out there.

  79. I thought this a great post. I recognize that different parts of the country have different restrictions, issues and needs. But the lack of facts (vs media hyperbole and political point scoring ) makes good decision making hard.

    I was also thinking of just a road trip in the NE but curious if short haul flights (probably 2-3 hrs tops, no connections) are something worth considering. I’d love to get a sense of how that looks and feels.

    Be safe !

  80. I’m in Europe, and we are literally laughing at you guys. The rules are so simple – to stop the virus, stay at home. That’s it. It is so irresponsible for someone like you, who has a public platform, to contravene rules to travel because you want to. People like you are the problem. You may think that by social distancing you might mitigate the risk, but you doing it tells other people it is OK to do so, when it so obviously is not. Just look at Dominic Cummings in the UK if you want to understand the dangers of your suggestions.

    I just do not understand why it is so difficult to follow the very simple rule to stay at home?

  81. I disagree with a lot of the tenor of the posts here…

    1) Most of the world began to ramp up “nonessential activities” a long time ago
    2) Travel is essential to a lot of people’s incomes and livelihoods
    3) “Nonessential” activities (art, sport, leisure, travel, etc) are really “essential” to people’s mental health and wellbeing

    At the end of the day, Covid-19 cases have been flat nationally for several weeks. with spikes in some areas and declines in others. With proper intervention, those spikes can turn around. Saying there should not be any travel for now is not realistic.

    What is more realistic is emphasizing safe travel – encourage widespread mask wearing on a plane (not N95 masks, which you rightly point out are restrictive – regular cloth masks worn by the entire plane is fine as these masks will block asymptomatic spread from any unwitting passengers), enhanced hygiene in hotels, social distancing at restaurants/attractions, etc. Also, frequent testing (every week) of hotel employee, restaurant workers, theme park workers, flight attendance, TSA agents, and other “front line employees.”

  82. Question to the folks who think that the pandemic is overblown and that we (humanity) can travel safely and that people who disagree are “living in fear”:

    Why do your think that position is more correct than basically the advice of every epidemiologist and infectious disease expert in the world???

  83. I’m flying for vacation within the US tomorrow on Delta and home next weekend on AA. I’m Diamond and EP. Happy to report back a comparison if that’s helpful.

  84. @Lucky – Do you have mixed feeling that people think it’s good for you to travel because it’s another data point , or I’d like to hear some of your tips and experiences, or it’s your job as a blogger?

    Personally I find myself enjoying life even with some COVID-19 limitations, and feel no pressure to travel for a while. You may have 40 years of travel ahead of you to enjoy, and should include that in your balance (IMHO), Even though you are asking for thoughts, it sounds like you have talked yourself into traveling shortly (for business reasons as much as anything else), so be safe. Look out for yourself and those around you.

  85. @JC Epidemiologists (and “experts” more generally) have been inconsistent in their messaging, inaccurate in their projections/forecasts and plain wrong about many of their medical prognoses about the pandemic, and the policy recommendations they have conferred therein. (To say nothing of the WHO, and the fact that it is little more than a PR agency for the Chinese government at this point.)

    These individuals and organizations have destroyed their own credibility. No sane way person will blindly follow them, as you see wont to do.

  86. Just to confirm The Australian ban on international has been extended until September 17th. That doesn’t mean the borders open on Sep 18th – it just means they are not opening before then. They do state that “exemptions will be made should nations be deemed safe”. For an Australians wanting to read about it, it is in “The Australian”.

  87. @Robert Schrader – so clearly the right option is “I’ll do whatever I want, cuz ‘murica!”? You don’t have to blindly follow “experts” but you can look at places where things are improving and try to learn from them.

    But at any rate, I’d take an expert over an anonymous douchebag on a travel blogging comment section, haha.

  88. I booked a trip to Serbia yesterday. For a week at the end of June/beginning of July. Nonstop flights to BEG on Air Serbia from JFK were reasonably priced albeit not cheap, and Serbia has dropped all entry restrictions.

    I flew last month on Allegiant (for the first time ever) to Savannah, and I found the experience entirely devoid of exceptionalism. The plane was quite full, but everyone was in a good temper and pleasant. I felt completely comfortable the entire time. Savannah was a nice respite from New York, and I expect Belgrade and the secondary Serbian cities to be similar.

    The availability of flexible tickets (mine can be changed with waived fees to any departure this calendar year) provides a level of assurance that, should something change in the state of my health or the health environment in the destination, I can reschedule with ease.

    I fully plan to be responsible (e.g., get tested a couple of days in advance, wear a mask on the plane), and, given my age and lack of secondary risk factors, I assess that the risk both to my health and to others at my destination to be reasonable. I will likely bid for an upgrade to business class to get more space, and I’ll certainly pay for a seat assignment away from other passengers to the extent possible should that upgrade not clear.

    Given Ben’s profession and age, in the absence of other confounding factors, the posturing and plaintive cries of “Just wait for the vaccine!!!” and “But there’s a second wave coming!!!” seem childish and utterly divorced from a rational, objective consideration of the risk associated with a responsible travel plan.

  89. It would be helpful if people in states where the virus is spreading didn’t come to states that got the situation under control and risked respreading the virus. Seriously, if your state isn’t doing the right thing then we DON’T want you here. Last thing we need is people coming here for non-essential travel and exposing our populations to risk again. You want to see what hotels are like? Then stay at hotels in your own state until they get things under control.

  90. @JC Actually, I don’t think you should trust me or any other random internet “douchebag.”

    I do think you should think critically, however, and think for yourself. No one is infallible, no matter how many degrees they have, or how many credentialed people cape for them.

    Skepticism is smart and healthy, and a necessary part of the “follow the science” approach so many people have now conflated with blind allegiance to institutional orthodoxy.

  91. @Robert Schrader, I assume you are successful in whatever you do for a living. With that, comes some expertise. How would you feel if your business partners or anybody else you deal with professionally dismissed your recommendations on subjects you know about and just went with an unqualified advice because they felt like objecting you due to “n” reasons.

    If you are reasonable, you would be dismayed as knowledge and facts matter. In a similar fashion, others cannot understand why we would listen to non-epidemiologist and non-doctor recommendations about the virus that has made sick millions and killed hundreds of thousands, including doctors and nurses who sacrificed their lives trying to save ours. Every other country that shutdown and stayed shutdown patiently for 6-8 weeks saw a significant decrease in cases, so obviously social distancing works. Somehow, we are experts in everything here in the U.S., including healthcare, religion, guns, etc. that we cannot be bothered to even attempt to distinguish between facts and sh.. that some politicians and media outlets throw at a wall to see what sticks.

    Hope everyone has a lovely evening.

  92. I can understand your point of view, but to me the biggest problem today is the increasing amount of cases throughout the U.S.. The effects of opening up haven’t been fully felt yet throughout the country and the protests most likely spread it even more. As a result, many may have it and are pre or asymptomatic and as a result, I don’t feel safe in an airport since masks aren’t required there.

    And with rising passenger numbers, I’m afraid we might see more cases on planes.

  93. LaGuardia would be interesting and new but I would understand wanting to put that off for a bit. Reno would be good because you would need to connect once, you would be in bigger and smaller airports to get a sense of that, and there is plenty of outdoor activities around the area while being able to check out a chain hotel’s procedures.

  94. (continued) Even a chain hotel on the smaller side would be helpful as that is what more people are likely to stay at while road tripping.

  95. You shouldnt travel unless it is essential, however people’s views of what is essential are different.

    I just flew today, and it went well. However, I had a lot of questions leading up to my flight that I never got an answer to.

    For example, I took a flight on a regional carrier that the major carrier uses for that route. The major carrier lists a lot of safety procautions being taken(electrostatic cleaning, airplanes having hepa filters). But does the small embraer the regional fly have the hepa filter and do they clean as often as the major?

    I think that the best thing you can do is be an advocate for safe travel.

    Take a few domestic flights on the airlines and report your experiences (even if it’s as small as remember to not touch the elevator button in the parking garage without a paper towel or that TSA is going to ask you to take your mask down momentarily when checking your ID)

    Maybe you in partnership with the airlines could host a weekly chat with users most common questions being answered.

  96. You truly need to further research your mask protocol….outside on the street? Nonesense. Hypoxia is the only danger you will face. Many,many medical professionals are NOT advising wearing masks. Don’t drink the Koolaid.

  97. At this point, everyone has a responsibility to get back to travelling. The destruction that the lockdowns have caused is disgraceful. Never again.

  98. @Ray, there is almost 0 chance of you being able to travel from the UK to Australia this year.

    If it does become possible, you are looking at a two week mandatory hotel quarantine (at your own expense).

    Our borders are not open – and will not be to you any time soon. Other countries That have managed will receive higher priority (Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam all to follow New Zealand).

  99. “Three weeks after Memorial Day, the coronavirus is surging dangerously in states that opened quickly”
    — The Washington Post, 12 June 2020

  100. I agree with Reaper and Sarah.
    Can’t you just peddle more credit card stuff?
    RIP This Blog.

  101. To be socially responsible you should be tested th DDT throughout your trip, as you may an asymptomatic carrier. You can get sick if you want but don’t make others sick. I have vhf little faith in the airlines to do the right think, like not filling a flight to max and giving no options other than canceling. I have even lower expectations for hospitals and restaurants. In short, when travels the opportunities to pick up the virus from a minor oversight by you or someone else is far to high for tragic consequences that can arise from the virus. Until there is at least a reliable cure in the early disease stage, stay. Out of harm’s way.

  102. It would great if you did some domestic trips as international travel is unlikely to resume any time soon. I would focus on travel to states who have the virus under control and avoid hotspots like Texas, LA, North Carolina, Arizona etc. Stick to states where people are being sensible about wearing masks. It would be good for you to check out some hotels. We had a great experience at the Hakone Hyatt, but Japan has done a good job at limiting the virus, so we felt safe. Once we move back to the US in the fall, we need to travel to see family.

  103. I have never seen so many comments responding to one single blogpost. If you have bandwidth, Lucky, then I will throw in just one more comment. I think flying on LH long haul from the US to Europe could be a good option, considering how many people were flying on transatlantic routes before the pandemic. Now that LH is doing testing at hubs, that’s even more relevant than some other airlines in my view. You could tag a segment to DVB or SPU for example, and bring down the cash price for the trip if you are paying with cash. Who doesn’t love the Adriatic sea during summer time? 🙂

  104. @robertschraeder sicne you claim to know so much about science, you would also agree that this virus was an unknown quantity. Considering one is dealing with the unknown, it is only logical that there would be mixed messages and the occasional retraction.
    You also clearly showcase that youre anti science as basically anyone who follows what EXPERTS IN THEIR FIELD(S) say is “insane” in your own words.
    I would point out that there were idiots who claimed that the virus is gonna blow over or a hoax. Ironically a lot of those people got the virus and died.
    BTW, I guess when you need legal advice, you dont go to a lawyer, or when you need your teeth cleaned you get the Missus to do it with a hammer and chisel?

  105. @Robert Schrader, I really do admire that blue shirt and jacket you’re wearing in your pic. You seem like a very fashionable man.

  106. Traveling at this time like camping
    No food or drink on planes
    Many or most hotels no hot food, just a take away bag of juice bottle, pre packaged bakery item and a warm yogurt for breakfast
    I was not allowed in Restaurants to order in KC, waiting in line with the cars as a walk up

  107. As an American living in Asia and having to go back to east coast of USA I can’t imagine wearing masks on flight over 12 hours over Pacific. I can’t even take it for an hour.

  108. Robert Schrader has been quite the laughable commenter here for weeks and it appears others are seeing it now. His self proclaimed job as a “travel coach” must be interesting these days.

    I can imagine him saying to Bob and Martha, his new “clients,” “Don’t worry about a thing, I can book you a nice itinerary to Brazil next month. You are perfectly safe because as your travel coach I have discovered that if you ignore science you actually can’t have problems with travel. It’s my new mantra as your coach and I call it, mind over virus. Now get out there, don’t think, and have fun! And don’t forget to like my shirtless Instagram photos”

  109. I could get hit by a car. Does that mean I shouldn’t drive? I could get ebola. Does that mean I shouldn’t go to Africa? I should get meningitis. Does that mean I shouldn’t go anywhere?

  110. “Thanks to the beauty of miles & points, on long haul flights whenever possible fly first or business class on airlines that offer the most space and physical separation (whether that’s a door or a lot of privacy otherwise).”

    That’s a great observation for the 10% that have your advantage and status. How about real current reviews for the rest of us in the back of the cattle car. Think about everybody and not the spoiled people like yourself who have your unique privilege!

  111. @Joyce Palmer

    I can’t believe I’m rising to this, because I assume this is just trolling, but nevertheless:

    To limit the risk of being hit by a car, it’s probably best not to go running in traffic. If there is an ebola outbreak in an African country, then, yes, you should not travel there. If you’re worried about meningitis, I suggest you ensure you are vaccinated.

    If there is a virus pandemic that is killing hundreds of thousands of people (in excess to normal deaths – and we can say that every excess death due to this outbreak is significant to someone, not least the victim), then it’s good idea to take precautions, and it’s ok to be worried about it. We have survived as a species because of our ability to manage fear and risk.

    As for those decrying that they are tired of “experts” – this is really disheartening. Epidemiologists and infectious disease specialists have devoted their lives to studying this field – the vast majority of them (and the ones in public positions) have no other vested interest other than protecting people’s lives. That guidance has changed during the course of this pandemic demonstrates scientists’ willingness to learn and improve, and do so humbly. The idea that their credibility can be dismissed simply because contrary opinions exist is greatly concerning. There is not a global conspiracy to stop the economy or bore those with wanderlust – they just want to limit the amount of unnecessary death.

    Just avoid non-essential travel for now, as suggested by the global scientific consensus.

  112. Hi everybody …please. ..why allways comments covid. .covid. ……when you going enjoy your hollidays …for my the more important. ..is the plane arrive …don’t crush… if you going for example. ..Cambodia. .India…Africa. .you all day going with cleaner liquid… .the gloves… the mask. You don’t want go or feel the food in the streets. .smells. .tastes..
    In market so closed with a lot people..
    Sit down in the tuktuk. .or cars in Vietnam or India or Cambodia. .
    .we can look and observe the people in Africa. ..don’t have for eat. ..don’thave water…
    Country so poorer. ..so you see everyone is wearing mask..gloves. .or cleaner the hands. ….if don’t have for eat. …dieing a lot people for don’t have water potable. .diseases. ..malaria. ..and more. …..
    Really my congratulations for this people. ..
    Leaving the life how you can. ..enjoy the life..the hollidays ..and when arrive the hour for died. .arrive. ..
    Please stop the word covid. ..live the life
    So everyone don’t going feel this ..is better you been home. .and follow with the scare you going dead or anything like that. ..
    Another commentary people is tired about the mask. ..wear the mask one hour ok..but 14 hours in a plane…with the time must take out..people sleeping with the mask. ..have any study with the mask 7..14..18…27 hours all day. ..included airport. .escale. ..plane …and more hours for finished the journey
    Enjoy the life and your hollidays

  113. The rationalizations and self-delusion in this post are remarkable. Health agencies and professionals whom you’ve claimed to trust in the past warn against unnecessary travel. They say travel increases the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19. But f—k it, let’s get some clicks.

  114. If you’re going to travel, and I’m not here to debate the merits of whether or not you should, option 1 would be the most relevant for my interests. We aren’t doing any “vacations” as such this year, but all of our family lives several hours away from us in all directions, so it’s very likely we will be taking at least a couple domestic flights later in the year and/or staying at a hotel or two.

    Safe travels, whatever you choose.

  115. @Ben ( Lucky)…..
    If I were you, I would try and keep an eye on Dr. Anthony Fauci’s air travel, ( non private governmental flights that is, if he does them at all ). When he flies commercial again, then you fly. Seriously, until we get an effective vaccine, the reality of sitting in the metal tube for hours with other strangers , mask or no mask, first/business or economy, is like “russian roulette”. Spin the chamber if you feel that you absolutely must fly. That is the reality of the situation today. Believe it or not. Good luck with your travels and be as your nickname suggests.

  116. Ben et al., While it is highly unlikely that you would contract and spread Sars-CoV2 at this point traveling by air given diminished passenger loads, and distancing and mask protocols being taken by airlines I think you should think long and hard about whether or not the trips you are considering are essential. I read your post entirely, including the disclaimers, but I would argue that even with these caveats spelled out, as a long time reader I would view you beginning to travel again as an endorsement of widespread air travel in general at this point. I think it’s important that you think about how your actions will influence the actions and decisions of people who read your blog when it comes to travel.

    I miss traveling as much as most people reading your blog (these past months are the longest I’ve spend in a single country since graduating college nearly a decade ago!), but at this point those reduced passenger loads and diminished airline routes in general are one component of preventing further spread and are what are making air travel for those that really have to do it relatively safe. That said, have you ever considered reaching out to readers who are working in essential sectors like healthcare or infrastructure who are still traveling out of absolute necessity about maybe contributing some guest pieces on travel during the age of Covid?

  117. Got to admit I’ve missed your trips and reports. Stay safe and let’s see what it’s like out there. The Krug, the Lufthansa first class terminal , you know what we like.

  118. We are nowhere near to herd immunity; we do not have any effective treatment for Covid-19 nor any reasonable expectation of a treatment in the foreseeable future; any vaccine is at least a year away from widespread availability; the disease is highly contagious without symptoms; the disease appears to cause permanent damage even if it does not kill you; even if your immune system protects you, if you spread the disease to others, you harm the community and vulnerable individuals; our economy, our food supply, our healthcare system needs a certain amount of interpersonal contacts – make those interpersonal contacts count and forego those that are non-essential.

    For these reasons I feel that you should not be traveling and you should not be publishing anything that could encourage someone to travel. A new wave of infections is occurring, we need to minimize low value interpersonal contacts in order to keep Covid at bay, to let the healthcare system manage the caseload and to give scientists time to develop a vaccine.

    A decision to travel or attend a gathering right now is selfish and irresponsible. Save the trips for essential workers. We can resume travel when we have a treatment and/or vaccine.

  119. For selfish reasons, please do a review on CX first class. I am booked in F in November to HKG en route to NZ but I doubt the NZ leg would happen since the country is still closed to tourists. I can still fly to HKG with residency status there and honestly no one wants a tourist from USA at this moment until we can get our act together.

  120. You should do a review of all of the ICU wards across the US. Let us know which ones have the best breakfast and upgrades!

    Seriously though: COVID-19 is not a live or die scenario. Getting this terrible virus can often times mean that you lose part of your lung function for the rest of your life.

    This is the longest time I have ever abstained from flying, but I am trying to do the right thing by looking out for myself and others. By the way, I am in my 30s and have no underlying health conditions and I’m in great shape. I am still terrified of having a disability for the rest of my life if I contract this.

  121. Hi Ben, it would be great if you can review about the real situation at airports and hotels. Are the new measures delaying the process of going through security, boarding, collect luggage etc. And how does it feel to stay at a hotel and perhaps not being able to use all facilities. Is it bearable wearing a mask for a certain number of hours while flying, queuing etc. Thank you

  122. @Wade: “To be clear, not a single person has died from COVID-19 that wasn’t about to die from something else very shortly anyway.”

    You don’t honestly believe your own drivel.

  123. The severity of Covid is extremely overhyped by selective reporting, hysterical media, knee-jerk politicians, and SJWs under mass psychosis.

    Any dissenting scientific views are shouted down but the fact of the matter is that most healthy people are completely unaffected.

    The rest of you can stay in your homes and continue to panic. I’ll be outside, going about life as much as possible, and not wearing a mask of illusion.

  124. I have read the comment section with interest. So many responses. So much variety!
    Of the responses I have read there were just a few that stood out to me! The first was jojo! What was shared was no surprise at all! I’m glad it was posted because of the simple logic that is severely lacking in the US! That was more than obvious when people were protesting in the streets, stomping their feet like little children who were told no for the first time in their life. Newsflash! We are all in the same boat! Grow up!
    Impressive was Rin’s post! Go back and read it again! It is all true people! I spent 25 years in healthcare these warnings have not been issued lightly! So Chuck can be added to the common sense group!
    In the end, here’s what this old lady is going to tell you! Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one! Stick with the facts! Keeping an eye on Dr. Fauci as someone suggested! I understand the travel “itch” you are experiencing you will survive that bug! Lol! I was rather looking forward to your road trip report! (Avoid Nebraska at all costs! It is torture!)

  125. @Wade “To be clear, not a single person has died from COVID-19 that wasn’t about to die from something else very shortly anyway. If you’re in this category: self isolate and social distance.”

    So, they’re going to die shortly anyway, or should they self isolate? Why self isolate and social distance if they’re going to die shortly? Surely you see how contradictory these two sentences are.

    And, in case you we were wondering, plenty of people have died that were not going to die “very shortly”, although it’s true that it does affect elderly people or people with pre-existing conditions more.

    “Yes, we’ve seen a small spike in deaths in the beginning, as one would expect from any novel viral or bacterial infection. But, the number of deaths due to COVID-19 pales in comparison to cancer, heart disease, and even automobile accidents. The global stupidity regarding this new virus shocks and amazes!!”

    Well, let’s just look at the numbers. So far, 117,000 people have died in the US this year from COVID-19, essentially all since the beginning of March (3.5 months). Annualized, that would mean 400,000 deaths. And, of course, large portions of the US were essentially shut down for much of that time; the death rate would certainly be higher without that.

    An estimated 38,800 people in the US died from automobile accidents last year, so this kills at a roughly 10x higher rate. Cancer and heart disease both killed over 600,000, so still more, but think about how much time and money is spent trying to find cures for those. Is that overblown too? Should we just throw up our hands and stop spending billions researching cures and treatments?

    I can’t tell if posts like this are serious or not. I think it’s a reflection of the level of disinformation out there and the fact that many people are too lazy to do even the slightest amount of research themselves to verify whether what they are reading is true. Which is then a reflection of our failing education system. A shame, really, and I can’t see it improving anytime soon given the backlash in many parts of the world against intellectualism and education.

  126. @Lucky GOOD plan to start flying again. If your allowed to. In Europe things are still kind of locked down. I fear that all the measures taken (which are against the constitution btw) will stay in place more or less. In the beginning those measures made sense. Currently not so much anymore! I would love to start flying again, but my fear is that I’m not allowed to enter the country 🙁

    Australia, yes, I agree 2020 highly doubtful. Maybe December?
    USA I would love to go there soon. We canceled our road trip due to obvious reasons. Only it’s really unclear when we can enter again (meaning From Europe to USA) If you have news on that front it would really help if you could share this on the blog….
    Happy travelling and stay safe

  127. @Marisa. Plenty here can tell you. It’s horrid right now at hotels. You get canceled last minute as the hotels can’t get staff to come to work. You show up to find they can’t honor your reservation as some are enforcing 24 hour cleaning between guests and are having trouble integrating that to the reservation system. Cleaning at many looks spotty as heck (As I do now I disinfected one room at a Hilton myself…the towel was black when I was done). Employees wearing masks are spotty. Guests rarely do. No elevator protocol on top of it. Luxury properties are hardly that, few staff, it’s impossible to get anyone to answer the phone, room service takes an hour and a half if you can get them to answer and it comes in a bag and plastic.

    I talked to two duty managers this week who told me the biggest issue most properties are facing right now. They can’t get people to come back to work. With the increased unemployment benefits many of the housekeepers, operators, and desk staff are just not interested commuting and risking getting sick for $12 an hour. Can’t say I blame them.

    Trust me, travel is anything but fun right now. I am only out here so as to keep my business alive. If not for that I would much prefer to be home right now. Which is not the usual for me at all. I used to hate sitting at home! 🙂

  128. @eric

    Do show us the part of the US Constitution which stipulates that federal and state governments MUST NOT take action to protect the citizenry. I’ll wait….

  129. @Richard Macdonald So the fact that NZ has had NO new C-19 cases in weeks and have no existing cases (all recovered) is a bad thing because it stopped you travelling. I understand the economic problems this caused, and will sadly continue to cause for quite some time. But for 2 months pain, you can now travel within your beautiful country with impunity and no risk of falling ill or passing it on to anyone else. Something most people in the world cannot do.

    @ Ray Pretty sure you will need to put those October plans to fly to Australia on hold until 2021. From what I can gather, we have no plans for letting anyone into our big island (smallest continent) for a very long time.

  130. @ Chuck I meant Europe and the best translation would be the constitution. Off course the words will be different in our “constitution”. I can assure You the current measures here are not allowed based on current law in my country.

  131. @eric

    Europe is an excellent country.

    I’m interested in learning about this particular European country about which you are hinting where the government is afforded even less clear power than the US federal and state governments have. Can you share the name of this country, in which actions its government has taken to protect the populace are illegal?

  132. Guess whos gone on several flights, not worn a mask when hanging out with friends, ignored social distancing policies and not stayed home.

    That would be me. Still waiting for COVID to get me or one of my friends. :/
    Call me irresponsible I dont care.

    Also if you can go out and protest with BLM you can travel.

  133. @Will – how old are you Will? I’m assuming it’s the “not at risk and just don’t give a damn about anyone who does” age group? Or is it the “COVID-19 is a hoax” age group?

  134. “However, I think we’ve gotten to the point where it can be responsible to fly with the correct precautions.”

    There’s another layer – how do you feel when you’re being responsible to a level you feel comfortable with, but are amid others whose level of compliance differs, as is shown to be the case by other articles on this same site?

    There’s no easy (or maybe even correct) answer to this, but the calculus has to include one’s feelings about their level of precaution AND how well they feel mixing with others that don’t feel the same amount of responsibility applies to them/is needed/whatever.

    Short answer: road trip to the cabin sort of year for me, personally.

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