It’s Time To Stop Using The Covid Excuse

Marriott hotels – though not only Marriotts – ignore elite breakfast benefits because of Covid-19. In fact you now need to do a lot more research on hotels when considering a booking to find out whether they’re offering the facilities and services that you want and are paying for. No towels for the pool? Blame Covid.

Union boss Sara Nelson doesn’t want flight attendants working on flights because Covid. The CDC, apparently, needs to update its guidance on virus spread to include catching Covid-19 from aircraft galley ovens because the temperature of food is a risk:

AFA recommends that airlines only serve cold food and drinks on flights less than 1,800 miles or three hours, that drinks are only distributed in individual cans/bottles, and that onboard alcohol sales are suspended until the pandemic is over.

Ms. Nelson may have heard that there are vaccines, and now more supply than demand. And if it’s not necessary to block middle seats for distancing on an aircraft, and the CDC says surface transmission is a non-issue, then how can selling alcohol put cabin crew – who can generally get vaccinated – at risk?

We need to update our priors and stop giving companies a pass ‘because of the pandemic.’ And we should genuinely give thanks to biomedicine for giving us miraculously effective vaccines. Any adult in the U.S. who wants a vaccine now can have one (children are generally at less risk without a vaccine than older Americans are who have had one) and they are far more protective than anyone could realistically have hoped. They let most everyone return to normal life.

There are people who won’t get a vaccine. That’s a choice they can make, but that choice shouldn’t impose a cost on the rest of us. Even most immunocompromised individuals are recommended to get vaccines. There are a small number of people who ought not. Ms. Nelson, who a year ago wanted to make leisure flying illegal, should advocate for her members to be able to take a temporary reassignment of duties if they cannot become vaccinated and have concerns with doing their job.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been horrible for this country and for the world. It’s disrupted the lives of billions of people, and cost of lives of millions. But it is not an excuse, a get out of work but still get paid free card, we should guide decisions based on the science and vaccines allow most to return to normal life.

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. From the beginning it was very clear that hotels and airlines will seize the opportunity for theatre
    All the catchy phrases like “extra cleaaning” “clean guarantee” we clean with lysol, we partnered with the cleveland clinic…etc etc was all for show and now it will be ages before they go back to normal procedures since obviously the “to go” breakfast for “safety” saves a lot of money
    Its all smoke and mirrors

  2. They are saving lives by not offering food & beverage on earned benefits

  3. Great post. It applies to practically every business that exists today in the US. Another example: Telehealth. I have a psychologist friend who wants to return to his in-person counseling appointments with his patients at the local mental health counseling facility, but they’ve shut down the entire 3-story building with numerous offices and staff (!) until January 2022. He says the patients have been told it’s for their health and safety, but the reality is the medical corporation is saving a bundle in overhead.

  4. A pox on the flight attendants union “leader”…total idiot who wants to get paid for doing nothing.
    Just returned from Los Cabos in business class on United…snacks were more than enough & the vino was flowing…great flight attendants …couldn’t ask for a better flight

  5. KimmieA hit it out of the park…follow. the. money…health & safety?…most couldn’t care less!!

  6. Agreed! “Our bathroom is closed due to the Covid.”

    Me: no, you’re just cheap!

  7. If Sara Nelson could have her way, flight attendants would give a safety briefing, then stay in the galley for the entire flight. Maybe a pass through the cabin near the end to pick up any trash. Then watch the passengers get off the flight before bitching about how the company works them too hard and pays them too little.

    For the FAs that need to go on power trips, they can walk through the cabin threatening mask violations with federal penalties and no-fly listing.

  8. Remember 9-11? That served as an excuse for poor service and ridiculous security theater for years. I think we can expect many years of COVID-related service cuts.

  9. The problem is that everybody is tolerating it as a general rule. If people are still booking the flights and hotels regardless, then why should they change. The best solution is to stop giving them money till they change practices, encourage all of your followers to stop giving them money… the solution is quite simple.

  10. Someone should follow Ms. Nelson for a week and see which businesses she frequents, where employees are working and fully engaged with the customer. Typically lazy ass union mentality.

    The local post office has a big sign out front “Hero’s Work Here.” What a clown show

  11. Drop the mask theater if you wish the return of loyalty program benefits. The mask is the symbol and the control device.
    As long as we keep wearing the mask, it will forever serve as a reminder of a pandemic that no longer is, thereby allowing businesses to continue taking advantage of the situation by reducing benefits and services to their customers, and cutting costs wherever and whenever they can, all under the veil of Covid.

  12. Before covid, sometimes I wore a mask to prevent seatmate getting too close to me, now it doesn’t work anymore.

  13. Some hotels still give free hot breakfast from the menu, so if some can do it why not the rest. Using covid is just pathetic! Also annoying is that some hotels force you to use FaB benefit of $10 on their bar that serves breakfast to order because they closed the lounge and does not want to provide any free breakfast.

  14. It’s quite clear reading these comments how most of us feel. Complaining to upper management via social media, written correspondence, phone calls may be the only way to get their attention. I was in San Diego a couple of months ago and stayed at the Hilton. I made sure to speak directly with the GM about my concerns thoughts and we had a nice 10 minute chat. I agree with others that this is theatre and the pandemic is being used as an excuse to cut service and save money, despite the Govt giving these companies millions of dollars in aid. Support the companies who are providing good service and amenities. They are out there.

  15. @Cmorgan brings up some good points. But I doubt any of this will end soon. Corporations like those being discussed have the cover of the US federal government, who is going to drag this out as long as they possibly can. Everything now is a “crisis” and it helps them push through all this wild spending, large portions of which have nothing to do with COVID. Sad, scary shit, that they can control us to the extent they do.

  16. Well said Gary – the COVID excuse has run its course

    Federal air mask mandate ends May 11 – time to end it or specify a hard end date

  17. EVERYONE is using COVID as an excuse for everything! I bought some iPhones and sent them into a buying group (USA Buying Group). Apparently a Fed Ex driver has stolen the phones as USA Buying Group said they have security footage with NO delivery by Fed Ex during that day/time. I know several friends that had iphones delivered the same week and none of them arrived.

    I’ve been trying desperately to get a simple police report filed. I’ve called the Newark, Delaware police department and they refuse to take a police report. Even if I fly there. Where I live in Southern California the police also say they can’t file a report as it has to be in the city where the theft occurred which is Newark, Delaware.

    It’s crazy as no one wants to work during COVID.

  18. Well said. Airlines need to compete on product and service. Both standards need to be raised.

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