This week’s broadcast of Eye on Travel comes from New York City. In a week of massive flight cancellations, delays, stranded passengers at airports and yes…duct tape, Peter updates on the perfect storm that grounded so many planes (and it’s not just weather). And of course, the latest reports on unruly passengers. Aviation consultant Mike Boyd, talks about the impact of leisure travel dollars in terms of airline ticket sales and why he’s concerned about what may happen in the fourth quarter. Arnie Weissmann, Editor-in-Chief of Travel Weekly, has his own report on the chaos and what can be done. Last week, the United Kingdom opened its borders to vaccinated Americans with no requirement for quarantine. And in just a few days, Canada opens up as well. David Slotnick, Senior Aviation Business Reporter at The Points Guy, chats about Canada’s game-changing decision and what it’ll mean for the airline industry there. And Jacqueline Gifford, Editor in Chief of Travel + Leisure, celebrates the 50th anniversary of the magazine. There’s all this and more on this week’s Eye on Travel.
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Mike Boyd, Aviation Consultant & President of Boyd Group International, addresses leisure dollars in the economy as it relates to airline ticket sales and why he’s concerned about what will happen in the fourth quarter. Airlines are chasing leisure traffic, but what happens when inflation takes that leisure money out? When is business travel actually coming back? Boyd shares his thoughts and predictions on the return of business travel. He argues that some of it is gone forever. He then discusses whether or not the airline industry will be able to adjust to the new business model, what the real unknown has now become and what this all means for airfares. Buckle up…or don’t, because you might not be able to go anywhere.
Jacqueline Gifford, Editor in Chief, Travel + Leisureis celebrating the 50th anniversary of Travel + Leisure and speaks about how the magazine has navigated challenging periods during its lifetime. Gifford talks about the importance of doubling down in hard times in order to survive periods of uncertainty and remembering that people always want to be around one another and travel. Gifford then talks about the current state of the travel industry as it recovers from COVID-19. She discusses how people want different things now compared to before the pandemic. People are also going to different places for longer periods of time and are more focused on safety and health precautions than before, which Gifford believes has allowed for increased creativity in the hospitality industry as places pivot to fit these new needs. There is an increased demand for hotels and vacation rentals, especially for multigenerational vacations — so much so that some places are seeing numbers that are comparable to what they saw in 2019. Gifford also encourages people to be aware of the staffing problem and increased demand that many places are experiencing, which may lead to long wait times and a less smoother than usual experience.
Danielle Wiener-Bronner, Reporter for CNN Business, speaks to the staffing shortage faced in the restaurant industry at the moment and tries to offer an explanation for the lack of personnel. Not everyone who was in the industry is coming back and there’s a learning curve for new employees entering the field. Wiener-Bronner argues that higher wages to tempt employees back into the workforce might not be enough anymore as the pandemic has given people time to reflect and try new things. But staffing isn’t the only dilemma that restaurants are facing. Food costs are rising due to supply chain issues, third-party distributors and more. She says how just because the pandemic restrictions have eased, it doesn’t mean that the restaurant industry is able to jump back super quickly.
Geoffrey Kent, Founder & Co-Chairman of Abercrombie & Kent, speaks about how his team has been able to continue to provide travelers peace of mind as travel resumes. Now more than ever, travelers want to know the place they are going is safe and that they will be able to return home safely. They want to be able to talk to someone who can guide them instead of just trusting an Internet booking site. Because of this, Kent believes that tailor-made personalized travel will be the new hot ticket in the future. Abercrombie & Kent has reopened travel in many areas including Europe and is looking forward to reopening trips to the Arctic and expanding into more of Africa by the end of the year. He is hopeful that travel will resume in full force by the second quarter of 2022 and is excited to offer more unique itineraries in destinations you think you already know.
David Slotnick, Senior Aviation Business Reporter at The Points Guy, chats about the game-changing decision Canada recently made to open up the border to vaccinated Americans and what it’ll mean for the airline industry there. What about the demand for travel? Slotnick speaks to the pent-up demand for travel as a whole and where demand is actually higher than it was pre-pandemic. It may surprise you. He expands on the state of leisure-led demand, why he’s looking to September and whether or not there are any actual airline ticket deals left and why this is the case. Then, Slotnick shares more on how he plans trips when redeeming miles. It’s not an easy task.
Ann Abel, Senior Contributor at Forbes, speaks about Portugal’s slow path to reopening as it’s one of the more recent countries to relax some of its restrictions and to welcome back American travelers just in time for the country’s August holidays. Restrictions like wearing a mask in large crowds and needing a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination to dine indoors during the weekend remain in place. She also discusses the fact that Portugal has managed to remain affordable for American tourists and where you can find some fantastic dessert in the country. Abel also shares more about her experience as an American expat living in Portugal, how she fell in love with the country, and her journey towards learning Portuguese.
Arnie Weissmann, Editor-in-Chief of Travel Weekly, joins the program to discuss the perfect storm of long lines, delays, and cancellations in airports that are making travel difficult right now. Weissmann believes that one reason behind these issues is because there are simply not enough people working right now as many people are leaving the travel industry in search of more stable jobs. This includes flight attendants as well as hotel staff. One way to avoid some of these issues is to use a travel agent because they often have preferred supplier relationships and can see things that travelers can not. He also talks about the increase in unruly passengers and how some are even turning violent and are forcing flight attendants to use items such as duct tape to restrain these passengers. And he discusses how the alcohol that people consume before boarding as well as the alcohol they bring on board may be playing a role in this problem and how airlines are trying to prevent it from continuing. However, Weissmann notes that if you can stand the long lines and delays, it is a great time to travel to Europe as it is not experiencing the overtourism it normally does and is much more empty than the United States. He encourages travelers to take advantage of this pause because it is only temporary.