It is strange to talk about leisure travel in a time when airlines are shutting doors, and those that aren’t are flying very limited schedules. Social distancing has become a key catchphrase in 2020. And of course people dying, there’s that. With regard to travel, things are changing so quickly, it is hard to keep up. I recently talked about some upcoming travel, and how I was pondering whether to fly or not. While my trip is not for several weeks, and flights haven’t been cancelled yet, needless to say, I’m not taking that trip.
While I often work from home, this won’t be a drastic change, and my home time will increase without business trips for at least a month. Much of that time, my wife and I will have to balance working and teaching our kindergarten aged child, since her school is closed. Times like this, I feel it is better to laugh than cry, and I remembered these old Snickers commercials with their tag line, “Not going anywhere for a while?”
Don’t rush to change your itineraries
I cancelled my work trip for this week. My company finally stopped all travel for at least month, although there are exceptions. Given much of my work is in hospitals, I don’t see too many of them wanting visitors with everything else going on. Thankfully, changing this itinerary was easy. I cancelled it online via corporate booking tool (Concur), and already have a credit waiting for future travels. No change fee, either.
A planned trip to visit family in Arizona over spring break for next week is next to go. While I’d love to get out of the house and have a change of scenery, I just don’t see how that will be smart, especially since the main purpose of the trip is visiting my parents, who are at higher risk for COVID-19 due to their age. The other part of it was watching spring training baseball, but that obviously won’t be happening either. These flight are still going, but I’m waiting just in case of a rumored domestic travel ban, or other cancellation. That way I can get a full refund rather than travel credit. We’ll get use out of either, but cash is always king.
Finally, my fun trip in a few weeks to stock up on American miles and EQD was a deal on Qatar Airways. Originally the trip had 4 legs in Q-suites, among the best business class products out there. Now none of the flights are scheduled to have that product. Beyond that, I cannot enter the country where my departure leaves from (Denmark). I had an overnight layover in Doha, but Qatar is also blocking entries by foreigners. Plus my destination, Hong Kong, might be past the worst of COVID-19 by the time of my trip, but time spent here requires quarantine in many countries. Needless to say, this trip is not necessary, especially at a time like this. I can get a credit on Qatar, although I’m trying to determine what it would cost me for a full refund.
Other flights pending changes
I booked a flight to Copenhagen to pick up the Qatar itinerary. Having some fun with it, I was looking forward to trying out United’s Polaris product for the first time. The flight from Chicago has been cancelled, so my flight changed to one via Newark. Not ideal, but still the same product. Unfortunately, that flight connects to SAS which has essentially shut down. Since there isn’t currently an end date listed, my trip hasn’t fully cancelled yet, but it almost certainly will. To get home, I’m booked on an AA award ticket, which is fully refundable thanks to my status. Even though AA has announced a major drawdown of their trans-Atlantic flying, my itineraries are still showing active. Presumably this is because my trip is far enough out that there is still a (remote) possibility those flights will go on those days. Highly doubtful.
In any case, I’m not rushing to change/cancel anything until it gets closer to my original departure time. Even my upcoming trip scheduled to depart in a few days, I’m in wait and see mode at the moment. Airlines call centers are overwhelmed, so use online tools as much as possible. According to this email from American, apparently, ticket value can be applied to future travel even if unused trips aren’t cancelled.
Not going anywhere for a while? Remember, social distancing means no travel.
As someone who loves to travel, this period of social distancing, and simply staying home will be likely be a challenge. But bottom line, it is the right thing to do. My work trips are off for at least a month. While I have some leisure travels in the works, anything in the short term is definitely not going to happen. Another leisure trip is planned a few months further out. Departure date is well past all flight current restrictions. Of course, things are constantly changing, I’m not too sure it what the status of things will be even then.
I was really looking forward to some of these trips. It is frustrating, but there are way more important things to worry about. As frustrating as it can be, we’ll be making ourselves less comfortable now for a little while. By doing this, less people will get sick, or at least more slowly. Then we can more quickly get back to more normal times. That’s the hope.