Travel Industry Update as of May 1, 2020
Because the time will soon come to travel again, our friends at Kanna Travel sent us an update on the current state of several aspects of angling travel. We thought this would be helpful for those considering booking a fly fishing trip.
TSA checkpoint is currently seeing less than 100k travelers a day on average in the month of April, which is a drastic difference to the ~ 2.3million travelers a day on average in April 2019. Daily TSA figures can be found here.
Health Screening Impact
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) plans to hold virtual meetings with governments and stakeholders starting this month to collaborate on health screenings and travel restrictions. The outcome will have implications for travel management programs regarding communications with travelers and the pre-trip authorization process.
COVID-19 Cleaning and On-Board Social Distancing
All airlines have increased cleaning protocols and most airlines are eliminating middle seats or blocking seats so no one has a seatmate. For example, to encourage and support social distancing, Delta is blocking all middle seats in Main Cabin, Comfort + and Premium Select across all flights through May 31st. In addition, Delta will only be boarding 10 passengers at a time. United will be blocking seats so that no one has a seatmate. This means middle seats are being blocked, and regional jets with a 2- 2 configuration, one seat on each side will be blocked. American is blocking 50% of its middle seats and has their team monitoring flights closely to maintain social distancing onboard.
Delta is currently fogging all aircraft that remain on the ground for a period of 4 hours or more with a Matrix 3 product, known to kill most viruses including COVID-19. Starting in May ALL planes will be fogged before each flight both domestic and international, regardless of turnaround time. United is currently disinfecting wide-body aircraft with electrostatic sprayers, different than fogging, for flights arriving from international destinations. American identified 11 surface points that would be targeted for fogging including seats, In-flight entertainment, tray tables, overhead bins, all leather on board, and seat backs. American uses an EPA-approved disinfectant that poses no threat to passengers, similar to what is used in hospitals.
Airline Elite Status Updates
Airlines have been impacted significantly in the past few months. Fortunately, most airlines have extended many of their Elite Status levels through 2021. Airline tracker OAG states that since March 1, US Airlines have been operating many flights at less than 20% of their usual passenger load. On the bright side, most have been able to still operate cargo flights to deliver much needed medical equipment and supplies here in the US and globally.