Travel Booking Site Fired 100 People Via Videochat

News notes from around the interweb:

  • War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and nearly $60 billion in federal dollars earmarked for the airline industry isn’t a ‘bailout’ according to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

  • 10 cruise ships are sailing around, not permitted to dock

  • Business travel site TripActions – not booking much business travel right now – fired 100 people via videochat.

  • American Airlines planned capacity reductions:
    Entity Capacity: April YoY Capacity: May YoY
    Domestic Down 60-70% Down 70-80%
    International Down 80-90% Down 80-90%
  • If you’re wondering how the US became the country with the most novel coronavirus cases in the world, it was bureaucrats at the CDC and FDA who blew it,

    America’s chance to contain the coronavirus crisis came and went in the seven weeks since U.S. health officials botched the testing rollout and then misled scientists in state laboratories about this critical early failure. Federal regulators failed to recognize the spiraling disaster and were slow to relax the rules that prevented labs and major hospitals from advancing a backup.

    Scientists around the country found themselves shackled as the disease spread….The nation’s public health pillars — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration — shirked their responsibility to protect Americans in an emergency like this new coronavirus, USA TODAY found in interviews with dozens of scientists, public health experts and community leaders, as well as email communications between laboratories and hospitals across the country.

    The result was a cascading series of failures now costing lives.

  • We’re all working from home, here’s what it’s like when a flight attendant works from home (mildly amusing)

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. I am curious what remote worker termination should be like in the age of COVID-19.

    Do you fly to them? Do they fly to you? Both can be dangerous.

    Phone call? That seems worse than a video chat.

    I’m not defending him in any other regard. Firing 100 people then proudly speaking up business prospects and your “cash in the bank” seem like a questionable approach.

  2. Gary, you offered a really misleading, irresponsible summary of how the United States came to lead the world in covid-19 cases.It’s by no means on just the CDC and FDA. By spreading disinformation and denial for two months, including ignoring repeated warnings from intelligence agencies and public health experts, Trump bears tremendous responsibility for many of the cases and deaths. Sadly, he’s still exhibiting horrible leadership on the crisis even today.

  3. Huh? The lack of ubiquitous/universal testing is costing lives?

    Most people who contract the virus will be asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. Getting a test, or not getting a test, does not at all alter the probability of a person becoming infected.

    Admittedly, if everyone in the U.S. got a test today, it would give us an accurate picture of morbidity and the fatality rate – today. It would also allow for mandatory quarantine of the asymptomatic infected.

    But, having a negative COVID test result today does not mean that you will not contract the virus tonight, tomorrow, or the next day. Daily testing of the entire population is not practical.

    Social distancing and frequent hand washing and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth will lessen the probability of becoming infected – with the COVID-19 virus and other pathogens – at this time. It doesn’t guarantee that you will NEVER become infected. Yet it buys time so as to lessen the current stress on the healthcare system and gives researchers more time to, hopefully, find effective treatment for those who are infected.

  4. Since your comment section does not offer the option to “like” another contributor’s posting, I will say that I completely agree with Steve’s posting of March 29, 2020 at 8:28 am.

  5. @Steve, get a grip. The President’s manners and sound bites are cringe-worthy, but the hubris of the CDC and FDA actively prevented testing well before the virus had spread. Read the article in the USA Today for the full picture.

    The countries bucking the worldwide trends have been testing everyone.

  6. Not having blanket testing delays when we can open up the economy. I suspect we will not be able to begin to open up the US until October or November. Expect jobless claims in the millions every week for next few weeks.

  7. The Chinese government Lied and tried to cover up the WuHan Virus for months, so they get the full blame for this thing. They should get a bill for 2 trillion dollars from the U.S. government. Remember, the WuHan Virus was “Made in China”.

  8. Number 1 reason why the USA became Number 1 in Corona virus cases is because the number 1 thing in the USA is $$$$ in all aspects of public health (or lack of) and government (or lack of).

  9. Hey, Man. It was NOT “bureaucrats at CDC and FDA who blew it”. I AM a bureaucrat, not for the feds. I do NOT make policy. I do NOT order people. That is the nature of being a bureaucrat in a democracy.

    We elect a federal boss, who appoints his people. Look to the leaders. Who saved money by firing a Presidential-level advisory group on pandemics? Who could have ordered the two agencies to act proactively?

    After this is all done, we can share the blame around. You really clicked through a bit too fast on this one. … Anyway, stay home. Be safe. Stay healthy.

  10. Why weren’t we onto Trump earlier? After all, we had lots of previous examples of his failures with the H1N1 virus, Bird flu, Swine flu, SARS, Ebola, Nile River virus, etc. What’s that? You mean someone else was involved in all those? Never mind.

  11. “If you’re wondering how the US became the country with the most novel coronavirus cases in the world, it was bureaucrats at the CDC and FDA who blew it”

    The fish stinks from the head: DJT

  12. You people with your Trump Derangement Syndrome are a joke. Sure, he has made missteps, but not that many. He was slagged MERCILESSLY by the mainstream media and every lefty blog as a RACIST BIGOT for closing the border to Chinese travel at the end of January. Do some searches to verify for yourself, if you have any personal honesty, and if all that has not been already deleted.

    You may note that Trump’s approval is at or near an all-time high. Funny, that.

    So how is all that globalization, unlimited trade and travel with China, turning 90+% of our medicine/ventilator production over to Xi, jam-packed housing, forcing reusable shopping bags, shoulder-to-shoulder public transportation, open borders, all that working out for NYC?

    How about this?:

    “The risk to New Yorkers from coronavirus is low and … our preparedness as a city is very high,” [New York City health commissioner Dr. Oxiris] Barbot said at a Feb. 2 press conference supporting the Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade and Festival. “There is no reason not to take the subway, not to take a bus, not to go out to your favorite restaurant and certainly not to miss the parade next Sunday [Feb. 9].”

    “Health commissioner.” Hahahahahaha

    My left *** would do a better job. Useless ignorant political hack, responsible for God knows how many deaths.

    Mayor DiBlasio of NYC getting on MSNBC and bloviating about the Chinese flu ON MARCH 10 did not help much either, as long as we are blaming politicians. MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH more irresponsible that anything Trump ever did.

    Google “DiBlasio MSNBC virus” and it’s about the first thing that comes up. Or maybe this link will work:

    The problem with the CDC is that they DID NOT do their jobs. They morphed into some sort of silly Social Justice Warrior outfit, caring more about ADHD and transgender nonsense and 100 other stupid things. Maybe as a CENTER, they could have paid attention to, you know, DISEASE CONTROL.

    They had ONE JOB. And they utterly failed. The entire top management should be fired ASAP.

  13. Oh no, not one more nut-job website unable to distinguish between information (maybe you remember that?) and opinion, blame-blame-blame-it-was-really-Obama-not the contemptible pathological narcissist in office now.

    That blame-the-CDC screed was inaccurate, one more horrible example of SAD new world.

    This is truth: (Thank you Steve.)
    “Gary, you offered a really misleading, irresponsible summary of how the United States came to lead the world in covid-19 cases.It’s by no means on just the CDC and FDA. By spreading disinformation and denial for two months, including ignoring repeated warnings from intelligence agencies and public health experts, Trump bears tremendous responsibility for many of the cases and deaths. Sadly, he’s still exhibiting horrible leadership on the crisis even today.”

    But, of course, in what we can only hope are the final days of the great tsunami of bad, mis-leadership, it is hard to tell how much the whole apparatus of government has been corrupted.

    Gary, read the lengthy NYTimes article today 3/29/20 on the failed supply chain of profit-making corporate buying and selling of ventilator manufacturers.

    Anyway, I’m outta here. There are more than plenty of sources of pathological misinformation.

  14. I don’t really consider anything USA Today writes as unbiased so the FDA CDC story don’t hold much weight to me. Testing really doesn’t do anything. There is no cure for this flu virus strain. In fact, the demand for testing from people who aren’t seriously ill has led to short supplies. I’m sure by now most celebrities and people in power positions can get tested at will even when they feel fine.

  15. Can someone please explain to me how it is possible that your President’s approval rating is going up? I cannot understand it.

  16. @Gary: In a single day, you’ve managed to misrepresent the most important causes of two crucial setbacks in the battle against covid-19.

    More specifically, your comment blames “the failure of bureaucratic contracting” for our inadequate supply of ventilators. There’s a bigger story and a far larger share of the blame here, in the very NY Times article you’re citing, including this paragraph: “The stalled efforts to create a new class of cheap, easy-to-use ventilators highlight the perils of outsourcing projects with critical public-health implications to private companies; their focus on maximizing profits is not always consistent with the government’s goal of preparing for a future crisis.”

    A small company, Newport, got purchased by a big company, Covidien, which in turn got purchased by an even bigger company. Personnel originally assigned to the project got reassigned, the project was downgraded as a priority, and “Government officials and executives at rival ventilator companies said they suspected that Covidien had acquired Newport to prevent it from building a cheaper product that would undermine Covidien’s profits from its existing ventilator business.” The upshot was that performing a public service while making a decent short-term profit with lucrative long-term potential got tossed by the wayside.

    Also from the article:

    “In 2014, with no ventilators having been delivered to the government, Covidien executives told officials at the biomedical research agency that they wanted to get out of the contract, according to three former federal officials. The executives complained that it was not sufficiently profitable for the company.”

    Viewing this crisis through the lens of a narrow anti-government ideology, and misrepresenting news analyses in the process, does your readers and your credibility a disservice.

  17. Gary do we have any videos of TSA agents working from home? I mean then I could be sexually assaulted from the comfort of my own couch and save myself a trip to airport.

  18. @David and @Cassandra: Thanks.

    For any other folks interested: Yesterday’s NY Times piece, “The Lost Month: How a Failure to Test Blinded the U.S. to Covid-19” presents a more complete picture of the testing mess than the USA Today article does.

    There’s no doubt that the CDC and the FDA screwed up. But a series of lousy decisions from the White House (not all addressed in the article), including disbanding an anti-pandemic unit at the National Security Council, eliminating a position for a federal public health employee who would have been based in China when the Wuhan meltdown took place, Trump praising the Chinese leadership even as it was keeping out our public health experts and downplaying the plague, and Trump repeatedly claiming the virus was no big deal all played key roles. And if we’d had an NSC unit focusing on this and a president taking the crisis seriously, the CDC and the FDA would have been forced to act much sooner and more effectively.

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