Eye on Travel

Radio Guest List — New York — September 12, 2020

On this week’s broadcast of Eye on Travel, we look at three dates in September — September 9 (for laughs), September 11 (for remembrance) and September 30 (and what it will mean for U.S. airlines and the future of travel and transportation). Founder of ViewfromtheWing.com, Gary Leff, gives his perspective on what’s at risk, including the very real possibility of the loss of 40,000 to 50,000 jobs — and nearly 70 U.S. cities from airline schedules. Jill Schlesinger, the money and business analyst for CBS News, talks about the real unemployment numbers in travel and tourism and the way forward. President and CEO of Airlines for America, Nick Calio, explains the real economic impact of the current situation as airlines are losing $5 billion a month. We’re also joined by GeoSure CEO, Michael Becker, who breaks down his global ranking system for evaluating how safe a city is and how the data gets collected from hundreds of structured sources. And what it means to you before you travel just about anywhere. There’s all of this and more on this week’s broadcast of Eye on Travel.


Tune in to PeterGreenberg.com  from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. ET for the latest Eye on Travel on Saturday, September 12, 2020

Have a travel question? Then ask Peter. E-mail him at peter@petergreenberg.com, or tweet your questions to @petersgreenberg (include #AskPeter).




Gary Leff, Founder of ViewfromtheWing.com, explains that it’ll be a long time before the airlines see any sort of cash flow. The notable thing is that Southwest isn’t furloughing anyone and it’s not taking on government loans from the CARES Act. The airline is also losing money, but it went into this with a strong budget sheet, and it doesn’t want to take on debt until it has to for now. When it comes to further government bailout for the airlines, both sides of the aisle believe that the airlines need to receive more money, but they have not been able to agree on terms. He states that none of the U.S. based airlines are in jeopardy of going out of business this year. What’s at risk on October 1st is 40,000 to 50,000 jobs. The only thing that will really benefit the airline industry at this point will be a return of consistent travel. Unfortunately, we most likely won’t see a return to close to normal numbers until March.


Arthur Blackel, Celebrity Event Planner & Hospitality Consultant, describes the new reality of dining out in the United States. Fast casual dining had already been growing since the pandemic, and so it stands to reason that fine dining restaurants will be the last to come back. Dining capacities are back to about 25% in New York, thanks to outdoor seating. But that is not sustainable for restaurants in the long term. It used to be the sign of a successful restaurant to see how packed it was, but now it’s successful based on how safe people feel.


Jill Schlesinger, CFP CBS News Business Analyst, talks about how this is going to be a long slog coming out of this and it won’t be bouncing back as quickly as people would like. People’s confidence in traveling needs to come back before they are willing to fly again, and it’ll be a while out still before we get to that point.


Nick Calio, President and CEO of Airlines for America, says that airlines are down to about $5 billion losses a month, which seems high, but that hemorrhaging is way down from what it was in April. The CARES Act really helped a lot of the airlines and kept people employed. Flying is not like most other jobs, he says. Flight staff can not be furloughed for months and just come back, because they will have to be recertified. If flight crews were laid off in masses, there would be a huge impact on travel months from now.


Michael Becker, CEO of GeoSure, speaks about the overall rating of the safety of a city. GeoSure’s system measures safety on many different levels, but one innovative and important feature is a rating for how safe a city is for women and also a measurement for how safe it is for the LGBTQ+ community. The information is compiled from hundreds of structured data sources. The system rates the underlying conditions and environments. There are one-time events that could increase or decrease those scores. It also is important to look at what the scores mean for both companies and individual travelers. There are countries around the world that don’t score as high based on them being in third world countries, but that does not inherently mean they are more dangerous than a major city in a first world country for a traveler.


Jim Salge, Yankee Magazine Contributor, describes the New England foliage scene this year and how it is starting earlier because of the drought. Unfortunately, because it’s starting earlier, that probably means it will end earlier as well. Now is the time to get in your car and do a day or a weekend trip. The road systems in the Northeast are easy to navigate, and there are many areas to explore. Of course Vermont and New Hampshire are always the big stars of the foliage show, but as the season progresses, head down to Boston for some of the colorful highlights.