Airlines Shave A Few Cities Off Their Destinations List

Airlines Shave A Few Cities Off Their Destinations List

Airlines Shave A Few Cities Off Their Destinations List

In an effort to recoup the losses experienced by airlines over the past few months, The U.S. Transportation Department said late yesterday that it had granted tentative approval to 15 airlines to temporarily halt service to 75 U.S. airports because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Only half of the qualifying U.S. airline companies applied to the Department of Transportation to receive the tentative okay to cut flights to certain destinations. So far, the Department of Transportation permits both United Airlines and Delta Air Lines to halt flights to 11 airports. JetBlue, Alaska Airlines and Frontier Airlines were approved to stop flights to five airports each.

Even though airlines have seen a slight uptick in air travel over the past few weeks, the damage is already done. We’re talking a cash burn of around $10 billion per month, collectively.

U.S. airlines have canceled hundreds of thousands of flights, including 80% or more of scheduled flights into June as U.S. passenger traffic has fallen by 95% since March.” –David Shepardson, Tracy Ruchinski, Reuters

First, the planes are parked. Second, routes are trimmed down. Third, schedules get consolidated. And fourth, well, from a personal standpoint, I really hope we don’t get to number four. The news outlets are focusing on cash burn in the aviation industry. They are pouring more jet fuel onto this fire by showing parked aircraft, empty airports and individuals wearing masks seeming petrified of being trapped in a fuselage that is undoubtedly contaminated by other strangers.

Announced yesterday, Delta will suspend flights to Aspen, Colorado; Bangor, Maine and Flint, Michigan to name a few. United will halt service to Chattanooga, Tennessee; Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Key West, Florida; and Lansing and Kalamazoo, Michigan.

I mean, who is going in and out of Michigan, anyway, right? Who, at this point, wants to go to the land of Wicked Witch Whitmer of Botox?

Back in March, CNN Business asked the rhetorical question in response to the slow-down in domestic travel:

How long does it make sense to keep doing that?”-Chris Isadore, CNN Business

Not long, CNN. Not long does it make sense for airlines to keep flying empty planes. In April, Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA), proposed ending all leisure travel until the virus is contained. Earlier this month, a doctor who was providing his services to aid in the COVID-19 fight in New York, went on a Twitter-inspired rant that passengers were “scared” and “shocked” because the aircraft was not adhering to keeping the middle seat free of passengers.

Really, let’s follow the logic here. Does any of this make sense? If routes are closed off, airlines have no choice but to be as efficient as possible in filling up their aircraft. The industry has already caught flack from climate change nut jobs who want to put them out of business. Flight Attendants are not working right now and want to work but regardless of the worst-case scenario hitting the industry come September in the form of furloughs, Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, will still be collecting a paycheck.Easy for her to say that FAs should put down their feet until the virus is “contained”.

And what is “contained”, exactly? Do Americans wait for a vaccine before boarding a 737? Do we go a certain number of days without any humans dying in our nation? Or does “contained” mean when numbers of cases and deaths in each state is on a consistent and significant downward trend? What in the hell does “contained” mean, really? The news media likes to spin the tale of woe of the airlines to be that they received government bail outs time and time again but still can’t survive when in reality, they have been put in this position through no fault of their own. Yet still, some of our state governors are playing these games, wrecking our local economies and instilling irrational fear and panic upon our residents.

When I was little, my dad would take me to JFK. I would marvel at the jets flying over and when I was 6 years old and finally got to fly in an airplane myself and get my first pair of wings, I was beside myself with excitement. I think I was more excited about the airplane ride than I was about going to Disney World! Fast forward, 48 years later, I miss the airport. I also have been home for about 7 weeks with an antsy 737 pilot who is bouncing off the walls and itching to be back in the cockpit. It has been hard on his spirits and although he tries to be upbeat, I can sense his frustration and sadness and concern that he may lose something that he has worked his whole life to achieve. Because of someone else’s politics. Because of someone else’s agenda. Because of policies and lockdowns that no longer make sense. And you know what? I’m pissed for him!

What the news won’t tell you is that airlines are doing the best they can to keep their crew members and passengers safe. What the news won’t tell you is that there is a pilot, a flight attendant praying they will have work in September. What the news won’t tell you is there are some of us who just want to see our families but our family members have been either shamed into staying home or are absolutely petrified now to even foot in an airport. What the news isn’t telling you is that socially-distanced, sanitized airplanes are probably currently safer than being in a Wal-Mart on any given day. Travel is a part of our fabric as Americans. Travel is good for the soul, the psyche. Air travel is part of the American Dream. Let’s hope our dreams don’t flame out. They are too valuable to be contained.

Photo Credit: FlickR/Creative Commons/Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)/Cropped

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