Trending Travel News
How Much Did Air Travel Contribute to the Early Spread of COVID-19?
A recent study examining travel from early COVID-19 hot spots in the U.S. found that air travel did not have a significant impact on the spread of the virus to other parts of the country. The study also suggests that limiting or restricting air travel may even be more dangerous than allowing more travelers to fly.
Prior research into the effects of the 9/11 attacks on air travel found that increased airport security and fear of another attack lead to many travelers substituting driving for flying, which in turn, lead to an increase in driving fatalities.
No evidence was found in this recent study to suggest that air travel from early COVID-19 hot spots helped to spread the virus across the U.S. during the first quarter of 2020. As flying poses a low risk for becoming infected with the virus, the study argues that restricting travel will lead more travelers to drive, which is significantly more dangerous.
Airport Testing May Detect 90% of Infectious Travelers
Another recent study, using a simulated model, found that most imported infections could be prevented with a combination of pre-travel testing and a 5-day post travel quarantine that is only lifted with a negative test result.
The simulation utilized a model of 100,000 hypothetical travelers, public health data on COVID-19 clinical cases, and published natural history parameters. An estimation of 150 infections per day per 100,000 people was used as a baseline to evaluate 5 different testing strategies for travelers:
Anterior nasal PCR test within 3 days of departure
PCR test within 3 days of departure and 5 days after arrival with 5 day quarantine after arrival
Rapid antigen test on day of travel (assuming 90% sensitivity of PCR during active infection)
Rapid antigen test on day of travel and PCR test 5 days after arrival with 5 day quarantine after arrival
PCR test 5 days after arrival
A travel period of 3 days prior to and 2 weeks after travel was measured with the condition that anyone who tested positive prior was not permitted to travel.
With no testing or screening implemented, the study assumed 8,357 infectious days with 649 actively infectious passengers on days of travel.
Pre-travel PCR testing reduced the number of infectious days to 5,401 and identified 88% of the 649 infectious travelers. Additionally, post-travel quarantine with PCR testing reduced the number of infectious days by 70%.
Rapid antigen testing on the day of travel reduced the number of infectious days by 32% and identified 86% of infectious travelers, while post-travel PCR testing alone reduced the number of infectious days by 42%.
Even with such a low estimated risk of infection of about 10%, some tests may still be inaccurate, which suggests that wearing masks, practicing good hygiene, and social distancing practices are still necessary to ensure passenger safety.
United Adds New Flights as Travel Rebounds
The airline will add 26 new nonstop routes from Midwest cities to vacation spots, restart more than 20 domestic routes, and initiate new service between Orange County, CA and Honolulu.
Southwest Shows Confidence in 737 MAX
Southwest Airlines has agreed to purchase 100 of the planes, with the first 30 being delivered in 2022. This is the largest 737 MAX sale since the worldwide grounding of the aircraft last year.
The Future of Airline Seating is Flexible
A Hong Kong-based design agency has proposed a new “checkerboard” concept for airplane cabins to better accommodate changing route and passenger demands. The model would allow the cabin of the aircraft to be converted on the day of travel to provide more or less business class seating, depending on the needs of the particular flight. The cushion of an unused seat would fold to create an armrest, while folding the unused armrest increases the seat width.
United Returns to JFK
After a 5-year hiatus, the airline will return to the New York airport with direct service to Los Angeles and San Francisco. United Airlines will now serve all three New York airports.
Alaska Airlines Joins Oneworld Alliance
After previously announcing a code-share agreement with American Airlines, Alaska Airlines is now a full member of the Oneworld Airline Alliance as of March 31st.
Is Your Passport Valid?
If you plan to travel internationally in 2021, now is a great time to check your passport validity!
As a general rule, passports should be valid for at least 6 months after the intended date of travel, but these rules may also vary depending on your destination.
The current normal processing time for passports is 10-12 weeks, so there is no time like now to get started on your renewal.
Need assistance with renewing or applying for your passport?
Give us a call today!