11 May 2020 – Monday – #57

Brad and I are scheming to get him back to Barcelona, but it’s hard to plan travel, especially international travel, more especially when a visa is in play. To enter Spain from the US right now, you have to be a Spanish citizen or resident, which takes a visa. To obtain a visa, you need proof of a ticket to travel. You can buy a ticket for a theoretical flight to Barcelona, but it’s not clear what airline will fly the route soonest or whether any airline has the cash to refund a ticket. That’s Brad’s travel puzzle without the visa details, which complicate things more.

Our discussion got me to checking out travel news. According to this article, US airlines saw a “spike” in demand as states relaxed stay at home orders. Spike is an interesting term. After weeks of no demand, the sale of one ticket could qualify as a spike.

We may be changing our airline safety habits more than we did after 9/11. No one is sure what’s safe in the skies, but everyone seems to want masks during a flight. Ditto empty middle seats.

However, according to this article, medical professionals returning from helping in New York found themselves on a flight so full that all the middle seats were taken. So, the official policy is empty middle seats unless there is a enough demand to fill them with passengers, which is how I think it used to be, but who can remember that far back. This story made me wonder if there’s a demand asymmetry in New York travel. It could be that all flights leaving New York are full right now, and all flights to New York are empty.

Then there’s the whole issue of long haul international flights.

According to this article, US citizens shouldn’t expect to travel out of the country until the US gets its Covid-19 act together. According to this article, UK will let you enter as long as you self-quarantine for 14 days, which is what most countries with open borders do already. Not sure why it took the UK so long, except every country is figuring out travel on its own.

If you think getting to the airport 1-1/2 before an international flight was bad, try four hours.

Among the steps under consideration: no cabin bags, no lounges, no automatic upgrades, face masks, surgical gloves, self-check-in, self-bag-drop-off, immunity passports, on-the-spot blood tests and sanitation disinfection tunnels

Forbes, “Future Air Travel: Four-Hour Process, Self Check-In, Disinfection, Immunity Passes,” 10 May 2020

Arriving at the airport four hours ahead of a 6-12 hour international flight is bad enough, but two weeks of quarantine precludes most international business and holiday travel. As an incentive to get Brad to return to Barcelona, I did offer him a choice of water or gruel while he luxuriates in his sealed bedroom during his quarantine.

Because the US has a two week international travel quarantine, I’m not sure I would return even if I could catch a flight, but then I’m not sure if I’d return to the US anyway until it gets its Covid-19 act together.

In a nutshell, no one has any idea what’s going to happen with travel or when. Except, here’s a catalog of where airplanes are taking their vacations.

Aircraft storage for during Covid-19 pandemic.

And here are some satellite photos of cruise ships taking vacations when you can’t.

Satellite photo of cruise ships during Covid-19 pandemic.

Now I’d like to turn your attention to Covid-19 beauty contests. No, not a photo essay on mask design (although I will hasten to say that Paris, the capital of fashion, is embracing masks while continuing to ban burkas and that I am re-thinking my position on masks).

There are many Covid-19 beauty contests right now. Here are the winners of a Covid-19 beauty contest comparing countries’ Covid-19 responses.

Countries beating Covid-19, 11 May 2020, EndCoronavirus

If your country isn’t in this group, please keep your social distance and wash your hands.

Here’s a Covid-19 beauty contest showing US states best prepared to relax Covid-19 restrictions.

Preparedness to relax Covid-19 restrictions by US state, 11 May 2020, Covid Act Now

In this contest green is a winner and red is a loser. The map colors are based on three factors that determine a state’s preparedness to relax its Covid-19 restrictions: 1) declines in Covid-19 cases and deaths, 2) Covid-19 testing capacity, and 3) hospital capacity.

There is third beauty contest that I saw but can’t find. Darn! It shows Covid-19 test-and-track preparedness by US state. If you’ve seen that one, please pass it along in a comment.

[UPDATE 12 May 2020: TestandTrace is the third beauty contest. Winners of this contest are ready to start testing at high enough volume to enable contact tracking and quarantine. This is the next phase of our Covid-19 lifes].

TestAndTrace shows states ready to implement Test, Track, and Quarantine. 11 May 2020.

I wanted to look at Covid-19 business innovations today, but that will wait until tomorrow because I’m out of time. We’re all in this Covid-19 mess together and lots of us are finding interesting ways forward.

Instead of business innovation, I’ll end with this!

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