Aug 28 2021
It would appear now, given the gift of perspective, that there are people blocking our way as we make our way towards the light at the end of the travel tunnel. This makes travel planning and the certainty of departure dates more of a problem than we might have imagined when we first heard that the world would soon be traveling again with four major vaccines in production.
Everything seemed to be on track for a quick turnaround in the fortunes of the trip – until it wasn’t. It turns out that planning your activities on the assumption that everyone will soon be vaccinated and living their dreams late could have been an oversimplification. The point is, even now, as airlines add flights and hotels spruce up their rooms, we realize that America is not a country where simple, if not just logical, solutions are easily adopted. Not by everyone and, perhaps, not enough of us to achieve collective immunity. It turns out that we are not a herd going in the same direction. And as we have just found out, neither do most of the industrialized countries.
The latest projections predict that airline schedule changes will likely affect 25-30% of all domestic flights over the next 24 months. State Department travel advisory levels change, pilot shortages are met, and border crossing requests at destination change in no time.
We can fight our divisions on the issue of vaccines and travel.
We’re all wondering when an app to confirm immunization status will be standardized and available so Americans can cross borders in waiting arms. (There are apps, but they need to be coordinated.)
President Biden has said he has no plans to create a federal vaccination verification app, but there has nonetheless been a strong political backlash on the concept of a “vaccination passport”, with the Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., calling the concept “Biden’s mark of the beast,” and she and others in her political circle have likened the vaccination check to Nazi policies to identify Jews.
The Florida governor strongly opposes it, but New York State has created a vaccine-checking app, and New York City is expected to follow suit. But for now, it looks like, unlike the EU, we won’t have access to a federal vaccination passport.
It would be easy to join our deep divisions, but I think we should stop. The point is, no more than two-thirds of Americans have never participated in anything. Yes, we are divided, but the point is, we always have been.
John Adams once wrote that only about a third of our country supported the American Revolution.
In September 1939, the Gallop organization asked Americans whether the United States should declare war on Germany. Britain and France had done it before, but still, 48% of Americans said no to the question of whether the United States should declare war on Germany.
At least a third of Americans were opposed to a civil war that saw far more American soldiers killed in the Battle of Antietam than by storming the beaches of Normandy in World War II.
Ours is a divided country, and those of us in the travel industry had better get used to it. We will need Covid strategies in our agencies, on our ships, on our planes and in our hotels. We will live with this for a while. We will not get collective immunity.
How divided are our customers and potential customers? One in five Americans believe the government is using the vaccine to “chip” people. In a recent YouGov poll, 66% of Republicans and 20% of Democrats in Southern states say they now support secession from the United States and the formation of their own country.
I wonder how this will affect airline schedules.