Categories
Travel

EasyJet founder warns airline will run out of money by August if Airbus order goes ahead

The founder of easyJet has warned that the airline will run out of cash by August if an order for more than 100 new Airbus jets is not cancelled.

Stelios Haji-Ioannou, who has no executive role but whose family controls one-third of the carrier’s shares, is seeking to remove the chief financial officer, Andrew Findlay.

An extraordinary open letter from the businessman begins: “My main objective is to terminate the £4.5bn contract between easyJet and Airbus for 107 additional useless aircraft.

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“If this £4.5 billion liability to Airbus is preserved – and not cancelled – by the easyJet board then, I regret to report, easyJet will run out of money around August 2020, perhaps even earlier.”

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, and the collapse in demand among passengers, the airline has grounded its entire fleet throughout April and May.

While many in the aviation industry hope that flights in significant numbers will be resumed by June, Sir Stelios says restarting mass air-travel could be much longer: “Almost every country in Europe has now closed its borders to foreigners. Nobody really knows when they will open again.

“Fear has now taken over human behaviour when it comes to any form of foreign travel.

“Each country will want to keep others out for much longer than the date that their own local national lockdown ends.

“I think that easyJet at the end of national lockdowns will feel more like a start-up trying to find a few profitable routes for a few aircraft at a time.

“How many Brits will want to fly to northern Italy or Spain on holiday this June and vice-versa? Not many I think.”

Sir Stelios criticises a forecast last week from Credit Suisse for what he says is an “assumption that easyJet will fly all its current 330/350 aircraft to full capacity from October 2020 and earn higher profits in 2021 than it did in 2019”.

He writes: “Terminating the Airbus contract is the only chance current shareholders have to maintain any value in their shares.

“If easyJet terminates the Airbus contract, then it does not need loans from the UK taxpayer and it has the best chance to survive and thrive in the future.”

He is seeking support from other shareholders to oust Mr Findlay, along with a non-executive director, Andreas Bierwirth, in an extraordinary general meeting.

A spokesperson for easyJet said: “The board is managing the unprecedented challenges facing the airline and the aviation sector as a whole.

“We remain absolutely focused on short term liquidity, removing expenditure from the business alongside safeguarding jobs and ensuring the long-term future of the airline.

“We believe that holding a general meeting would be an unhelpful distraction from tackling the many immediate issues our business faces.”

In the past four weeks, the easyJet share price has approximately halved.

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Transport

Delta Extends Medallion Status and SkyMiles Benefits Amid COVID-19

Delta Air Lines is doing its best to reassure its loyal customers during this time of unprecedented upheaval in the air travel industry. As the COVID-19 pandemic has effectively halted travel and thrown people’s future travel plans into question, Delta is making sure that members are able to preserve their statuses and benefits until after the crisis has passed.

“As coronavirus continues to dramatically impact travel across the globe, you don’t have to worry about your benefits – they’ll be extended so you can enjoy them when you are ready to travel again,” said Sandeep Dube, Delta’s Senior Vice President – Customer Engagement and Loyalty, and CEO of Delta Vacations. “We are continuously monitoring how coronavirus impacts travel and will make additional adjustments to support our customers’ needs as the pandemic evolves.”

The following adjustments will be applied by Delta automatically over the coming weeks, with no action needed from customers:

Medallion Members:

—All 2020 Medallion Statuses for will be automatically extended through the 2021 Medallion Year.

—All Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) from 2020 are being rolled over to 2021 to qualify for 2022 Medallion Status.

Delta Sky Club Individual and Executive memberships with currently set to expire March 1, 2020, or later are entitled to six additional months of Delta Sky Club access beyond their expiration date.

Delta SkyMiles American Express Card Members:

For members with any of the following in their SkyMiles “My Wallet”, which are still valid or have expired since March 1, 2020, Delta is extending their expiration dates:

—Delta SkyMiles Gold Card Members with a $100 Delta flight credit will have their current expiration date extended by more six months.

—Delta SkyMiles Platinum Card Members with Companion Certificates that have an expiration date between March 1 and June 30, 2020, will now be able to use them when they book and fly by December 31, 2020. Those that expire between July 1, 2020, and April 1, 2021, will have six extra months added onto their current expiration date.

—Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card Members with Companion Certificates having an expiration date between March 1 and June 30, 2020, can use them when they book and fly by Dec. 31, 2020; and those that are currently to expire between July 1, 2020, and April 1, 2021, will be given an additional six months beyond their current expiration date.

—Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card Members will also be afforded a six-month extension to use their Delta Sky Club One-Time Guest Passes beyond their current expiration dates.

SkyMiles Members:

For members with any of the following in their SkyMiles profile “My Wallet”, which are valid now or expired since March 1, 2020, Delta is will be extending their expiration dates:

—Upgrade Certificates or $200 Travel Vouchers set to expire between March 1 and June 30, 2020, will now be available for use when booking and flying by December 31, 2020. Upgrade Certificates or $200 Travel Vouchers that expire after June 30, 2020, will receive an additional six months’ validity beyond their current expiration date.

—SkyMiles Select members’ Priority Boarding benefit and any unused drink vouchers will also receive a six-month extension of expiration.

For more information, visit delta.com.

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Cruises

Cruise secrets: Ship crew worker reveals alarming truth about ‘unexplained deaths’ onboard

Cruise ship holidays see passengers exploring a number of different destinations and enjoying life on the floating hotel. While most go off without a hitch, sometimes things do go wrong on cruises. A former cruise ship crew worker has revealed the truth about deaths onboard – or rather overboard.

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Brian David Bruns shared the insight in his book Cruise a la Carte.

He explained that some deaths on cruises never come with any explanation.

“Though statistically utterly significant, unexplained deaths on cruise ships do happen,” wrote Bruns.

“Because most occur in international waters, reporting obligations and behaviour are decidedly less than altruistic.

“Cruise lines invariably fudge reporting, because people read headlines, not articles.

“Whether it’s a suicide or not matters little to critics, who pounce upon any hint of cruise line recklessness.

“Even if it is a suicide, days can pass before verification from land-based authorities, even with the presence of a note.

“By then sensational headlines would have already blown things wildly out of proportion.”

Bruns revealed he had once been on a cruise ship on which a “mysterious” death occurred when someone went overboard.

“Rumours of how and why among passengers and crew were rampant,” he wrote.

“The leading story among the former being that two honeymooners were arguing and there was a push.

“Crew thought differently. Another suicide, most agreed. For suicides are not so rare on cruise ships.

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“More than a few folks intentionally spend their every last penny on a final week of wild abandon and, late on the final night, jump overboard.

“What better way to ensure no one will rescue you? How many people are looking aft of a ship at 3am?

“It is possible to survive such falls, but unlikely unless you’re a fighter.”

Bruns went on to explain what he eventually heard about that tragic death.

“On that dark cruise outside the swamps of Louisiana, nobody knew for certain what happened, what caused the mysterious death,” he said.

“An investigation was eventually resolved somewhere on land, as was always the case.

“The only fact the crew knew for sure was that the man was never found until he washed up on the Gulf Coast several days later.”

According to a cruise line insider who spoke to cruising website Cruise Critic, up to three people die per week on cruises worldwide, particularly on lines that typically carry older passengers.

For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 116 123 or visit a local Samaritans branch.

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Cruises

Hyatt Updates Cancellation Policies and Member Benefits

Hyatt has just released an update to its cancellation and modification policy, and ‘World of Hyatt’ benefits, adding flexibility for its guests and loyalty members in light of today’s difficult and unpredictable circumstances.

Existing reservations for stays through June 30, 2020, that were booked on or before April 1 can be changed or canceled at no charge up to 24 hours before a guest’s scheduled arrival. This also applies to Advance Purchase Rate reservations.

New reservations that are being booked between April 2 and June 30, 2020, for any future arrival date can be modified or canceled at no charge up to 24 hours a guest’s scheduled arrival, which also applies to Advance Purchase Rate reservations. The only exceptions would be reservations at Destination Residences and Special Events Rate reservations that were booked after April 1, which are subject to their own cancellation policies as outlined during booking.

These refreshed policies apply to reservations that were booked directly through Hyatt, so guests who booked their stays through third parties, including travel agents and online booking engines, will need to contact their booking providers for assistance. These policies don’t apply to group business or convention guests, owing to the contractual nature of their reservations.

Since most companies’ customer service lines are being flooded with inquiries amid fallout from COVID-19, reservations can be most easily altered or canceled on Hyatt.com or via the World of Hyatt mobile app. Guests with reservations at Hyatt Residence Club property who did not book through Hyatt channels should contact Hyatt Residence Club.

World of Hyatt loyalty program members will also find that additional flexibility being applied to their benefits. For all members, globally, World of Hyatt benefits will be extended in the following ways:

—More time to use points: While points do not actually expire, they are usually subject to forfeiture if a member’s account is inactive for 24 months. Now, Hyatt is suspending that forfeiture rule through December 31, 2020.

—More time to use rewards: All unused Free Night, Suite Upgrade or Club Lounge Access awards set to expire between March 1 and December 31, 2020, are being extended through December 31, 2021. This extension will be applied automatically by World of Hyatt and includes existing awards and covers both existing rewards and rewards that may be earned throughout this year with a 2020 expiration date. Those that recently expired between March 1 and March 31, 2020, will be replaced on April 20, 2020. All other qualifying unused rewards will be refreshed by the 20th of their original expiration month.

—All existing elite members’ status and benefits will be extended without the need to re-qualify. Whatever a member’s status stood as of March 31, 2020, will be automatically updated to reflect an expiration date of February 28, 2022. The extensions should appear on elite-tier members’ accounts by no later than April 15, 2020.

For more information, visit hyatt.com.

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Categories
Destinations

Mexican Officials Announce Closure of Beaches, Over 1,100 Hotels

Mexican officials announced Thursday that all beaches have been closed after beach tourism was deemed a nonessential activity as the country attempts to slow the coronavirus outbreak.

According to Mexico News Daily, Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell revealed every beach in the country would remain closed until at least April 30 after the federal government declared a national emergency.

“The order has been given,” Lopez-Gatell said in a statement. “It obliges state and municipal authorities to take coherent measures and suspend tourist activity on beaches, be it international or local tourism.”

In addition to the beach closures, the Mexican Hotel and Motel Association (AMHM) announced more than 1,100 hotels across Mexico have temporarily closed due to travel restrictions associated with the viral outbreak.

Of the closures, the AMHM said 645 of the hotels were run by small and medium-sized businesses rather than large chains. Cancun and Mexico City have seen the highest number of closures.

Around 460 hotels in Baja California Sur will be forced to close on April 6, while more than 500 hotels in Sinaloa are temporarily shuttering in the coming days. Occupancy levels across Mexico have dropped drastically since travel restrictions were implemented.

While the closures hurt the tourism industry, the National Tourism Business Council said Mexican authorities have spoken to hotel owners and CEOs about possibly providing beds for coronavirus patients if the country’s health system becomes overwhelmed.

Last week, the United States Ambassador to Mexico, Christopher Landau, asked tourists and citizens still in the country to consider returning to the U.S. as the coronavirus outbreak continues to impact the world.

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Categories
Holiday

Naturalists flock to Chris Packham’s DIY ‘Springwatch’ on Facebook

Lockdown day 10 in south-east London. A loud rhythmic tweeting is emanating from the cherry plum tree in my back garden. A great tit? Blue tit? I catch a glimpse; too small for a great tit, not as colourful.

I don’t know my birdsongs beyond the basics, but I remember a friend imitating calls to coax birds nearer so he could identify them. I have an idea and grab my phone and Google “coal tit song”. I press play and the rival tweeting produces instant results. Hopping from branch to branch towards me a delightful but agitated coal tit emerges and alights on a branch barely two metres away (I think it knows). Is it angry or amorous? My exhilaration at our proximity turns to doubt and guilt – I’ve used gadgetry to disrupt the natural world. What was I thinking? The coal tit flies off, its song tinged with irritation.

Clearly, playing birdsong on phones can produce results but could this be unethical? I decide to ask Chris Packham through the Facebook page he’s set up, the Self-Isolating Bird Club , which is crewed by thousands of nature enthusiasts.

There can be few better online platforms than this in showing how modern, accessible tech has revolutionised local wildlife reporting. People have put mini cameras in nest boxes, on feeders; installed trail cameras on patios; and remote-triggered DSLRs have been placed in tree canopies. This stuff is no longer the preserve of well resourced global-roaming wildlife film production teams.

Packham says of the daily morning live feed, the focal point of the group, which has attracted more than 500,000 viewers daily: “We’re doing it all on mobile phones and Skype with earpods, and I’ve got a digital microscope. Fabian Harrison, a former RSPB guy, is mixing it in his bedroom in Norwich. It’s Dad’s Army makes TV. It’s very real and in the moment but with no campaigning – no banging on about shooting or anything. It’s all just joy and enjoying wildlife and getting people to engage. As long as it [lockdown] lasts, we’ll just keep going.”

The results are extraordinary, and not just on the live show. Each day, the public posts gems such as barn owls evicting jackdaws that had attempted to squat their nest box; sea eagles being mobbed by red kites; hedgehogs scurrying under garden furniture; and adders emerging into the spring sunshine.

Michaela Strachan, Packham’s colleague on the BBC’s Springwatch programme, who has also featured on the Self Isolating show from her home in South Africa, tells me that even she has now changed the way she enjoys wildlife: “A whole new wave of birdwatching is happening. Amazingly, I’ve never taken the time to sit down and watch birds on my feeders.”

Strachan says the appeal of placing cameras in the garden comes from a different place to the motivations of expert birdwatchers: “The birds become like family. Right now our lives have never been so uncertain. You know the birds are coming to feed every day… we look for those kind of certainties. The mental health benefits are proven. When I took those two hours in my garden, I instantly felt better.”

Others go further, suggesting that watching animals is instinctive behaviour. In an essay for Aeon, biologist David Barash writes: “Our well-being – survival, even – depended on relationships to other animals, many of which were predators, with us as their prey.” Our ancestors’ awareness of animal behaviour would hold a “potent selective advantage”.

Strachan says it’s important that people remember that webcams will show violent, upsetting scenes and warns that we shouldn’t turn against species for being predators: “There’s nothing wrong with getting emotionally attached but you have to put it in perspective. Don’t demonise animals.”

She recommends webcams such as those run by the Dyfi osprey centre (ospreys are a favourite bird of hers), and local wildlife trusts featuring “flagship” birds such as peregrines (Leamington Hall) and barn owls (Dorset), as well as badgers, bats and waterfowl. With several webcams on screen at once you’ll soon be feeling like naturalist security guard.

Watching webcams can be monotonous of course, but the action, when it happens, is often spectacular – ospreys touching down, peregrines returning with their prey, an otter passing a lakeside nest … and anything you might have missed will be picked up and pored over by the commenters.

Osprey webcams are already up and running this year, the majestic birds returning from Africa in recent weeks, others will be online early in April. Among them will be Wild Days on the Earthwatch Europe platform, featuring Strachan as part of a team offering an hour’s worth of daily activities online, to show you what’s going on in your gardens, patios and balconies.

Although Packham says his group is about enjoying and engaging with wildlife, webcams also play a role in campaigning for nature. Rewilding Europe invites you to “become a citizen scientist and help analyse camera trap photos”.

Using the Zoological Society of London’s Instant Wild platform, animals such as wolves and wild boar, pine marten and porcupine have been tracked in Italy since the programme’s start in August last year, with plans to expand into more rewilding areas across the continent. “With camera trap photos and videos from locations around the world posted online, Instant Wild lets citizen scientists take part in vital global conservation work,” says Kate Moses, a project manager with ZSL’s Conservation Technology Programme.

Back with the Self Isolating Bird Club, I’m waiting for my admonishment for using Google to attract a coal tit through recorded birdsong. Meanwhile, naturalist Lucy Hodson is waxing lyrical about woodlice (“crustaceans not insects”) and millipedes (“absolutely love ‘em”). Then I get my answer: it’s OK as long as you don’t keep doing it in the same place with the same species, and don’t do it with rare birds at all. It’s a partial let off, but I get the feeling that for me and many others, our relationship with the natural world is about to become more intimate.

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Categories
Travel

Five best travel documentaries to watch during coronavirus self-isolation revealed

Coronavirus has made the days seem longer and emptier as social events get cancelled and holiday plans get put on hold. Many Britons were just getting ready for summer to begin before lockdown thwarted their plans. But while some people have taken to dreaming about their holidays plans on Google Street View, others have decided to give some classic travel documentaries a go.

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From Louis Theroux to Simon Reeve, below are some of the most essential travel documentaries to watch while in self-isolation.

Simon Reeve

Simon offers what most documentary series do not – endearing enthusiasm that is infectious.

Who can really say they have been put in a bad mood by Simon Reeve?

From Ireland to the Indian Ocean, and Bangladesh to Columbia, Simon will take you on an adventure across the globe that is jam-packed full of information and stunning sites.

His documentary on the tropic of cancer sees him track 23,000 miles through deserts, mountains and simmering conflicts.

All Simon’s documentaries are available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

Louis Theroux

Louis’ documentaries are not travel-based per se but instead explore the people in various corners of the world.

The infamous documentarian has remained a favourite on our TV screens for decades with his programmes covering both the weird and the wonderful.

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His best series include Dark States, LA stories and Altered states which all cover the vast land of America.

The series looks at murder, drug addiction and the world of dogs in LA.

All of the above are available on Netflix or BBC iPlayer.

The Trip with Rob Bryden and Steve Coogan

Rob and Steve provide plenty of laughs in this hilarious travel documentary that sees the two men journeying to different locations while bickering.

The series has everything you want from a documentary: delicious cuisine, stunning scenery, local culture, inside jokes and lots of impressions.

Some of the series is on Netflix.

Michael Palin’s Around the World in 80 Days

Michael is a kind soul that immediately makes viewers feel relaxed and in safe hands as he takes you on a trip around the world in just 80 days without using aircraft.

Based on Jules Verne’s classic book of the same title, the documentary series sees Michael go from Egypt to Singapore, to America and back to the UK as he trecks around the world.

The series is available on Google Play.

Bethany Hughes

Bettany offers up a historical look at the Mediterranean.

Her documentary-style is serious rather than jokey but offers authority on the subject.

Rather than learning about the modern-day Mediterranean, the programme delves deeper into the past which makes you feel as though you have walked back in time.

Some of the series is available on Channel Five.

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Categories
Destinations

Caribbean hotel occupancy at 10 percent

The latest data from STR paints a grim reality for hotels in
the Caribbean, and the bottom hasn’t been hit yet.

On March 28, occupancy was 10.6% and revenue per available
room was down 89% from a year earlier, said STR’s Emile Gourieux in a webinar
on Friday. Puerto Rico had 7.6% occupancy, the Dominican Republic 7.1% and
Barbados a lowly 1.5%.

Gourieux said STR expects that declines will continue
through 2020 and that there will be a “strong comeback for 2021 but most hotels
will not return to their peak RevPAR and high occupancies until 2022.” 

He pointed out that China already has started back on the
road to recovery. 

“I feel that the demand for travel will be even stronger
than before, and the best thing to do now is to take care and to start planning
and preparing for the return of demand,” he said.

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Categories
Destinations

Greater Miami CVB Launches Program to Support Front-Line Responders

To thank the front-line and first responders for all their hard work and risking their own health to help patients infected with coronavirus, the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) is launching the Miami Salutes program. The program calls upon local hotels, restaurants and retailers to support hospital workers, medical professionals, firefighters, paramedics, law enforcement officers and National Guard by providing them with special offers to makes their days a little easier.

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The program includes local restaurants such as Bulla Gastrobar, Divino Ceviche, and Pollo Tropical, which have been offering 50 percent off to all front-line and first responders. National brands like Krispy Kreme are offering free donuts while local Starbucks’ are offering free coffee. Sweetgreen has been delivering free salads to local hospitals and Crocs has donated a free pair of shoes to healthcare workers. Miami Salutes provides a compiled, updated list of special offers on the GMCVB’s website.

“Our community is indebted to the heroic medical professionals, police officers, firefighters, military personnel and essential workers fighting to keep our communities safe from COVID-19,” says Miami-Dade County Commissioner and Chair of Miami-Dade County’s Military Affairs Board Jose “Pepe” Diaz. “It is wonderful to see businesses show their appreciation to these workers for their service and loyal dedication, even though many may be going through their own difficult times right now. This program is a testament to the spirit of Miami-Dade County’s community, which will help us all get through this.”

Miami Salutes is just one of several programs that the GMCVB has launched in response to the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. Miami Eats was created to support local restaurants by promoting delivery and take-out options for locals. Hotels for Essential Lodgers, meanwhile, was created to keep the hospitality industry afloat by providing accommodations for essential workers who did not want to risk potentially spreading the virus to family or roommates. The GMCVB also set up the Help for Tourism webpage to provide the industry a look at how to secure assistance.

Additionally, the GMCVB has partnered with United Way of Miami-Dade, Miami Herald/Nuevo Herald, Health Foundation of South Florida and The Miami Foundation to create a fund to support hospitality workers and their families with emergency needs including food, supplies, utilities, rent/mortgage assistance and micro-grants.

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Categories
Travel

Grounded: What life is like for the world’s most frequent flyer



Tom Stuker sitting in a car: Featured photo by Zach Honig, TPG

Hitting a million miles flown is a big deal, especially on United Airlines. With some airlines, you’ll earn elite perks for life. In the case of United, you even get to share your current status with someone special, giving them the benefits of elite status without the hustle and spend. Perks increase the more you fly, with United lifetime elites earning Platinum status at 2 million miles, Premier 1K at 3 million, and Global Services for life at 4 million miles flown.

Tom Stuker passed that four-million-mile mark many years ago. In fact, he was just about to hit22 million — before he had to cancel his celebratory trip to Australia, due to COVID-19. Now, the world’s most frequent flyer is sitting out quarantine in New Jersey, where he’s already beginning to adjust to life on the ground, eating three meals a day at home, rather than on an airplane.

I had a chance to chat with Tom this week — we talked about canceled trips, some “secrets” he plans to reveal in a new book, and what life is like right now.

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A post shared by Tom Stuker (@ua1flyer) on Mar 2, 2019 at 5:52pm PST


Where are you sitting out quarantine?

At home in New Jersey. It’s the first time I’ve been at home for two weeks in 45 years. It’s like a bucket list [item] — it’s like a “before I die I’d like to spend two weeks at home” type of thing. One of these days I’ve gotta stay at home and get some of these projects done that we’ve been talking about for years and years, like cleaning out the closets, and cleaning out the garage. My wife’s a teacher so she’s on the computer a lot during the school day, but I’m having breakfast, lunch and dinner with [her].

What was your last flight? What was that experience like?

My last trip was Frankfurt to Newark, in mid-March. The last week I was flying, I could see, flight by flight, business class was a third full, and there were fewer and fewer people on each flight. The following flight would have been my 22 million flight, so trust me, I really wanted to go on that flight, to Australia.

You’ve mentioned in the past that the United agents you work with are like family to you. Have they been in touch? How’s everyone doing?

I still keep in touch with a lot of my United family. I email them, I communicate back and forth with them on Facebook. It’s tough on everybody, but those friendships are deeper than just a a couple flights and check-in. I still chat with a lot of people on the reservations lines. I still have some reservations out there I’m pushing out.

What do you think United will do about frequent flyer status?

I think United, so far, says we’re going to leave everything alone for now. If I was United, from a business standpoint, I wouldn’t say whatever your status is, you’re guaranteed to have that status in 2021. I think United’s waiting to see when the green light is back on, for people to fly, and then I think they’ll incentivize and reward the people that jump back on airplanes with United. Not just, we’ll give you the status whether you fly this year or not. I think they’re going to aggressively reward people who come back to flying. But the majority rules in the airline industry; if two out of three go a direction, the third one’s gonna follow as well. It’s always gonna be that way.

When are you thinking of getting back on the road?

I have absolutely nothing planned for the month of April, but I’m hoping to be back in the sky mid-May. I have some Japan, some Hawaii, I’d like to get back to Australia ASAP. I have Mexico planned for Memorial Day. I’d like to get back and be somewhat busy again.

What are you doing until then?

Two things. I’m going to go on a public speaking circuit, so I have to finish my perfect 45-minute speech. And I think this is the year I write the book. It’s gonna be about 22 million miles from home — the life and travels of the world’s most-traveled man. I want to talk about all my experiences flying, the journeys, the relationships, the experiences I’ve gone through. I’m gonna tell a lot of secrets in the thing, a lot to things people don’t know.

Have you been looking back at a lot of pictures from your adventures?

My wife and I have over 30 or 40 complete albums. The other night we went through literally… we’ve taken at least 100 honeymoons together. And I mean the trip of a lifetime. I’ve done about 100 of them over the last 20 years. We’ve reminisced about all the places we’ve been to, all the memories we shared, all the people we met. The thing I really enjoyed in the last two weeks is the simple things. She’s teaching me how to cook. We’re sharing the meal experience rather than eating on a plane or eating at a restaurant, which I’ve done the majority of my life. I’ve talked to more of my friends and relatives in the last two weeks than I have in the last two years. It’s so good to connect with people, because poof, before you know it, you’re 66 years old. I hope to live to 100, and drive the people at United crazy for another 30 years.

What are your tips for anyone who still has to fly right now? Anything they can do in particular to stay safe?

I would feel 100% completely safe on a flight with United right now. My biggest concern is from here to the airplane, and from the airplane back home. Flying, I would be 100% comfortable knowing how the crews are keeping it safe, how United’s keeping it safe. All my life I’ve always sat in row 1. My whole life — that’s my seat, in row 1. If I were flying right now, I’d be in the last row of business class. Nobody coughs backwards. I wouldn’t be paranoid about wiping down my seat, although I would around the head area, since that’s the only part of the seat I touch. I’d probably wipe off the seat in front of me – if I have to get up to go to the bathroom, and they have the seat back, I have to hold onto the seat to get up. I might even wear disposable gloves, because I don’t know if I have enough sanitizer to wipe everything off 100% of the time.

Visit TPG’s guide to all coronavirus news and updates

How do you think coronavirus will change how you travel this year?

April’s gonna be the toughest month we’ve ever gone through. About a third of the cases are within 100 miles of my house. It’s unbelievable. I’m counting on going to Mexico for Memorial Day. I’m hoping to. If the flights are there, and the hotel’s open, and I take the necessary precautions — the place I go to in Mexico is a private villa, and I would self-quarantine. I have 100% confidence in the resort we go to, and I know they will take every necessary precaution to maintain the wellness of their customers. On the plane, I’m not worried about it. Depending on what’s going on, I might wear a mask. I’m going to listen to the experts.

What other trips are you looking forward to after we’re able to fly again?

As soon as Australia opens the borders, and there’s straggler flights back to Australia, I’m on that flight. I was really looking forward to two cruises, but I canceled both cruises for obvious reasons. Every day there’s a ship stuck and nobody wants them. The cruise line I’d go back on is Crystal. It’s the best cruise line in the world, and they’d do everything to make it the safest ship. I’d rebook them for later in the summer, if the green light comes up. And the resort we go to in Mexico — we’ve been there 10 times and it’s like a second home to us. Another second home is in Hawaii. We love going to Hawaii, mostly Oahu because her brother lives there. I love Australia, because I have work there, and so many great friends. We were looking forward to going to Italy this year, but that’s pushed back indefinitely. We’re starting to think a lot more domestically this year, to go see friends and relatives we haven’t seen in a long time. I’m always going to every corner of the world, but I’m thinking there’s no place like home.

SPONSORED: While travel is limited right now due to COVID-19, you need your everyday purchases to give you flexible, forever useful cash. In general, TPG gives preference to transferable points and using your points to travel, but on some days, cash is king.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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