It Looks Like I’m Persuading People It’s Time To Book Future Travel

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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Yup, it’s definitely time. Got International trips book for August, September, October, November and December already!

    Doing the domestic thing every week through June, but looking at chance of international trip as early as July (Russia) now too. As long as embassy is open to process visa.. *rollseyes*

    Things are really opening up, and it’s going to be a great summer to travel I think.
    Lots of people at work have jumped on late Summer airfare to Europe too, so, it’s not just me anymore. It’s happening!

  2. I’m curious as to how many trips Gary has booked for himself and family when and to where. Of course with the generous cancellation policies currently in place, booking travel is not the same as saying one will actually travel.

  3. @ john — Yeah, it seems like a great time to plan if you are bored. The great time to cancel and refund will come next. I have a hard time actually imagining how all of this supposed travel will actually unfold. I will be watching from my desk at home.

  4. @Gene

    Seems a bit silly to say what you did. You realize flights have been coming and going from the US to Europe… every day right? They never stopped?

    Same for Australia.
    Same for Asia.

    Nothing stopped.

    I’m flying every single week (In the US at the moment). As long as you are a bit flexible – like all of traveling requires. It’s, uhm, pretty normal.

    Hundreds of thousands of people a day are doing it, just here in the USA.

  5. @George, Have you been tested? If not you may be spreading the virus everywhere you go, if that is something you care about.

  6. The testing narrative is bunk. Say you go and get tested today and you’re negative. What are you supposed to do, go and get tested again 24 hours from now, then again 24 later, etc, etc? How ridiculous.

  7. @George perhaps you missed that Australia and New Zealand banned entry to all non-residents since mid March. There are some reduced flights to Australia (but none from Qantas), but they’re flying with few occupants.

    I think some people have been listening to too much Fox News propaganda and aren’t aware of the actual facts.

    I think many of those encouraging people to start planning travel have a vested interest in seeing that sort of planning and booking happen. It doesn’t cost them much to say so, and yet they don’t know any more than anyone else when it comes to forecasting the future of travel during a pandemic.

    I’ll be entertained watching people plan travel that largely won’t come to fruition—at least internationally. I’ll be entertained watching people who do travel that have to deal with 14 day quarantines or worse when they do. I’ll be entertained watching people getting stranded abroad or having to incur medical expenses (except for those single payer counties that actually don’t rob their citizens blind for medical care and actually provide better medical care than most Americans can even dream about) or other travel expenses they didn’t expect because of their ignorance.

    Ignorance is bliss…until it kills you or those around you.

  8. @bill
    Stupidity is worse than any virus, and it seems you have been infected at birth
    People who plan travel know where they are going and the rules about it
    Stay home and do everybody a favor (and pls do not procreate)

  9. With the new disease affecting kids now showing up in NY, I hope people realise we are NOT out of the woods, or even close to it with this yet. Stay home for a year, it wont kill you, and maybe it will keep someone ELSE from dying…

  10. “Seems a bit silly to say what you did. You realize flights have been coming and going from the US to Europe… every day right? They never stopped?”

    I guess that’s great if you have citizenship in a bunch of countries. But I’m quite certain I would not be allowed to cross the border into Europe right now.

  11. “You can plan and you can be banned from travelling. “
    Before planning travel please find out where you plan to go, what airline you plan to take , and where you stopover on the way to your place of destination. I have a Singapore airlines ticket from Manila-Singapore-London on June 24. Currently, the Singapore Government requires a two week quarantine whenever someone transits through or plans to stay in Singapore. Since my airline ticket passes through Singapore on the way to London that makes my trip non viable so I have to cancel and get my cash refund back which will take the airline about four months to do.

  12. It’s always time to book *future* flights. I did it, as CV-19 had already hit Wuhan hard and was already spreading across Italy’s Lombardi region. I booked a ‘future’ trip to fly from JFK through MUC and IST to KHI and back on LH and TK. The *future* trip, of course, did not happen because it was cancelled. However, although I could see the cancellation coming, I wanted that *future* trip so badly I ignored obvious warning signs about what would happen if I went ahead and booked. I was left trying to get TK and Orbitz (for LH flights) to reimburse me after the trip was cancelled, in what was not an especially pleasant experience.

    Bottom line: When people badly want travel or any other activity to resume (mostly for personal/selfish reasons), they will ignore obvious warning signs. That’s what Trump’s been doing, and that is what those pushing for ‘book travel now’ are doing. I suspect that it won’t end well because, as Dr. Tony Fauci will be testifying today in a senate committee hearing, it remains too soon to relax most safety measures…

  13. @George & Doug Go ahead and travel as it’s only a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time before you get the virus and die.

  14. @Rog
    You are correct
    My problem is people telling others not to travel because of their own fears
    Now take your last sentence (the wrong place at the wrong time….etc etc) and replace the word VIRUS with one of many like car accident, cancer, plane crash, being shot while jogging, hospital infection, terrorist attack, and you realize that anything you do has risks, you just need to decide what level of risk you tolerate
    People climb over fences to take a better selfie and they die
    People choose to take drugs that kill them, people drink themselves to death
    I lived in israel when buses were blowing up daily, and yet we carried on
    Bottom line, people need to choose between living with calculated risks and living constantly with fear
    I choose the first one

  15. We were fortunate because we took our big round-the-world family vacation for six weeks (used 1.6M miles and points) ending 21 January 2020. We have a series of mini-vacation trips planned for the remainder of the 2020. At the end of March, we had a week in Kauai that required cancelation (hotel notified us of expected 14 day quarantine). The next scheduled trip starts the weekend of Memorial Day and the flights have already been canceled and rescheduled by the airline three times. We probably won’t be able to do most of what we want anyway, so I expect to cancel later this month – or let the airline cancel first. We have another domestic vacation planned in July that has also been rescheduled twice by the airline. I have lots of expiring miles (SQ) and wallet credits (AS) that I need to execute in the next two months. We would LOVE to travel, but we are not all in the lower risk groups. If we were, I would be booking late 2020/early 2021 international travel like crazy during recent sales. Opportunities won’t be this great again for a long time. However, I will still book some modest trips in North America and Central America and hope for the best.

  16. @Doug — A virus causing a pandemic is nothing like a car accident or cancer or a plane crash or being shot while jogging, etc, etc, etc. and I will give you a hint as to why it is a ridiculous equivalence: anyone dying because they chose to climb the fence to take a better selfie or chose to take acid and died or drank himself to death kills no one else…

    It should not be too hard to do, but once you figure out the clear difference on your own, you’ll finally get just how silly is your position.

  17. @DCS
    I agree that dying while taking a selfie does not kilo anybody else but the point is that the chances of catching the virus to begin with and then the chances that you even develop symptoms are ridiculously low
    People react emotionally
    It is more dangerous to get killed on the way to the airport than actually flying and yet a lot of people have fear of flying
    In Louisiana you can get a daiquiri at the gas station and drive away happily and yet thousands die from drunk drivers hitting them and the government doesn’t regulate that
    Thousands and thousands die from second hand smoke and yet cigarettes are not banned
    You care to explain why my comparison is ridiculous?
    It is a dangerous world out there with or without the virus
    You can choose your own risk tolerance

  18. @Doug — Your position on this is called ‘rationalization’. You have already staked out a position and are just fabricating reasons to support why you are “right.” It is not based on any kind of reasoned analysis.

    For instance, you just stated: “I agree that dying while taking a selfie does not kilo (sic) anybody else but the the point is that the chances of catching the virus to begin with and then the chances that you even develop symptoms are ridiculously low.”

    No, the point is that you are conflating several separate “risks” so that you could conclude that overall risk is low. So, let me walk you through your own position:

    1 — There is risk to yourself. One could not care less if you wish to take foolish risks, including minimizing those associated with CV-19, and die, that is your problem.

    2 — There is risk to others. If you should fly while infected you might infect and lead to the death of others, which does not seem to trouble you at all, thus making your position immoral and sociopathic. To get around this that incovnience, you foolishly minimize the next risk…

    3 — Risk of catching the virus. You minimize this risk and, on the surface, that is your own problem. However, in reality, it is not just your problem. It affects other people too. You have chosen to ignore the reality that we have been living in for nearly half a year and in which there are some 80K dead and over 1M infected, and rapidly counting up, just in the US. You ignore overwhelming scientific data supporting SARS-CoV-2 as a highly contagious virus, which is also several times more lethal than season flu. In short, you are ignoring the facts because they get in the way of your rationalization and narrative, which brings to mind this real news headline:
    “Anti-lockdown protester – who called coronavirus a ‘political ploy’ – dies after contracting Covid-19.”
    Just because you choose to ignore it does not mean it cannot kill, and, worse, kill others too because you got infected first for being a denialist, and then spread death before dying.

    The bottom line is that while you are free to kill yourself (risk 1) and do so foolishly by ignoring the facts (risk 3), you are not free to harm anyone else in the process (risk 2,3) because it makes your position immoral, malignantly narcissistic and sociopathic. As sociopath none of that stuff bothers you. However, you lose this debate because all that stuff *should and would bother* anyone with a conscience and a sense of morality and responsibility — i.e., all qualities that make us, yes, human.

    Are you a human?


  19. @DCS
    Clearly you are a smart person ( I am not being sarcastic) but you do not grasp the concept of calculated risk
    Yes, selfie doesnt kill others but I was talking about risk levels
    You know well that your chances of getting killed in an accident right now are greater than catching the virus and much greater than dying from it
    In regards to infecting others, again, my chances of killing someone when I drive are greater than me infecting someone and to be honest since you asked, I do not care if Infect others as those on the plane with me are taking a calculated risk as well
    I will never convince you and you will never convince me, the good thing is that I do not need your permission to fly and you do not need my permission to wear a hazmat suit at the grocery store, or a homemade
    Mask from an old sock, or to never go to the movies again, you are a free man

  20. @Doug — We are going in circles. You are still trying to make same bogus point by relying on a faulty logic that if taken to the extreme would sound like ‘only dead people are ever safe truly, so why bother with any safety measures?”

    Accidents are called accidents because they are, well, accidents, meaning *unpredictable*. The way one calculates the risk associated with an accident is by probability of occurrence: “Flying is the safest way to travel” because plane crashes are very rare.

    The risk associated with CV-19 is not considered “accidental”. It is a known risk. The chance of infection when one comes *directly* in contact with the virus is 100%. You will be infected. It is why safety measures like “social distancing” and lockdown that are taking global economy down to Great Depression territory were necessary and remain necessary. Your position would be that none of those safety measures were necessary, relying on the fact that we do not know what would have happened if those measures had not been put in place. But we do know: 80K dead, 1M+ infected, and just Google search “Spanish Flu”. Relying on the fact that a negative cannot be proven is not much of an argument.

    On the other hand, whether you would develop the CV-19 after being infected is a different matter because there remain many things that are known about the virus, including, importantly, how each person’s immune system guards against it. However, if “your chances of killing someone when you drive are greater” than me dying from a pandemic when I *refuse* to follow safety measures [which is what you are effectively saying], then you are a reckless and sociopathic driver who should be stripped of your driver’s license and never ever be let near a car driver’s seat.

    We agree on one thing, I will never convince you because you are impervious to logic. Just have a relative post here about your passing from CV-19 as warning to others like you.

  21. @loungeabuser — Nice word play, but our sociopath here is definitely not a “denihilist’. He’s a polar opposite, i.e., “nihilist” 🙂

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