The travel industry is filled with fakes. But no one knew the cost of the bogus reviews, blog posts filled with affiliate links, and influencer content. Until now. Here's what these fakes mean to your bottom line -- and my solution to the problem.
It happened again on Friday. An angry passenger screaming "STOP THE PLANE!" tried to break into the cockpit on a Delta Air Lines flight from Los Angeles to Nashville. The crew restrained him, and the flight diverted to Albuquerque.
Travel is back -- but not like you remember it. Some parts have returned, others haven't. It's almost like a favorite character in a zombie movie who makes a surprise appearance at the end. Did he turn? In this case, the answer is probably yes.
Take cover! The travel boom is almost here. Experts have been predicting it for months, warning that pent-up demand for travel would lead to a record-breaking summer for travel. Did it sound like they were all reading from the same talking points? (Art by Dustin Elliott)
If you want to visit Europe this summer, you have no choice. If you want to take a cruise, you don't either. And you'll probably need one if you want to see Canada, too. You'll have to get a COVID-19 vaccination -- and you'll have to carry a controversial vaccination passport. (Art by Dustin Elliot)
If you're not confused yet about mask requirements, just take a trip. You will be. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued new guidance for vaccinated Americans. If you've received your shots, the government says you can participate in outdoor activities and recreation without a mask, except in certain crowded settings and venues. (Editing by Iden Eliopolous/Art by Dustin Elliott)
The U.S. State Department's announcement last week that it added more than 100 countries to its “Level Four: Do Not Travel” advisory list seemed almost routine. The government adjusted its classifications to "better reflect the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) science-based Travel Health Notices that outline current issues affecting travelers’ health." But it wasn't routine. (Art by Dustin Elliott/Editing by Iden Eliopolous)
If you want to know what the tourism recovery looks like, you have to visit a theme park. Not just any theme park, but the bellwether of American tourism, Walt Disney World in Orlando. So that's what I did. (Editing by Iden Eliopolous. Original artwork by Dustin Elliott)
You have my permission to travel again. But some restrictions apply. Five months ago, I urged you to stay home. COVID-19 cases were surging, and the outlook was bleak. And yet some parts of the travel industry acted as if nothing was wrong. All that has changed.
If those crazy pictures of Miami Beach during spring break aren't enough to give you second thoughts about spring break, maybe this will: I have an exclusive list of places in the United States where the risk of infection is rising.
The TSA is a bloated, incompetent agency that's expanding. What could make it even worse? Mistreating its customers. A case that crossed my desk recently will leave you shaking your head and worrying about the future of the agency tasked with protecting the nation's transportation systems. (Edited by Iden Eliopoulos)
Nine million airline passengers. That's how many people had a problem with a ticket refund last year, according to new numbers reported by the Department of Transportation (DOT). A staggering 89,518 people wanted their money back from an airline in 2020 -- a 5,687 percent increase from the previous year. But that figure, which is thought to represent only 1 percent of overall airline refund complaints, suggests nearly 9 million Americans had an airline refund complaint last year.
(Thanks to Podington Bear for the music and Iden Eliopoulos for the editing.)
It was a gift that seemed too good to be true. During the early days of the pandemic, the airline industry offered passengers who wanted to cancel their flights a generous ticket credit, valid for up to 24 months. It also revoked many of its hated ticket change fees. And guess what? It was too good to be true. (Thanks to Podington Bear for the music and Iden Eliopoulos for the editing.)
The Biden administration has floated two ideas to curb the deadly new COVID-19 strains. Both of them would almost certainly protect Americans, but they could also kill what's left of the travel industry.
It isn't just some travelers who are acting like the pandemic never happened. A few travel companies are, too. They encourage dangerous activities like flying long distances, hanging out in a sports bar, and attending a food and wine festival. That's shameful and irresponsible -- and it has to end.