Here it comes… Steve Glenn’s travel industry predictions for 2023

Here it comes… Steve Glenn’s travel industry predictions for 2023

During the past twenty years over 70% of my predictions have come true. Over the next four weeks, I will provide you with 40 of my travel industry crystal ball predictions. Here is week 1 of what I think will happen in 2023. Part 2 of 4 will arrive in your inbox next week. Happy New Year! 

1. The one million stranded Southwest customers who last week swore they would never fly Southwest Airlines again will quickly have amnesia and purchase SW tickets when Southwest launches their next $59 airfare sale in January – Southwest Airlines canceled thousands of flights before and after Christmas leaving hundreds of thousands of Christmas travelers stranded. Many travelers who were affected and missed Christmas or a holiday event because of the Southwest meltdown have pledged they will never fly Southwest again. DON’T YOU BELIEVE THEM! Most vacation travelers buy tickets based on the lowest fares. You watch. In early 2023 Southwest will run one of their famous $59 one-way airfare sales and most of the Christmas snowstorm customers will buy tickets on Southwest and happily be waiting in the A line waiting to board their next Southwest Airlines flight.   

2. Hotels will charge you a housekeeping fee of $15 a night –The pandemic has provided the hotels with the opportunity to start charging a fee for housekeeping. Basically, if you want someone to clean your room every day you will have to notify the front desk and pay a fee. Hotels seem to be adopting the adage used by Sir Winston Churchill, “never let a crisis go to waste” by implementing daily “COVID cleaning fees” on top of your hotel room rate. These hidden fees are an insult to travelers, and I hope hotels will treat their customers better by being honest and upfront with travelers and not charge these fees. 

3. Getting your passport renewed will move online this year – The U.S. government is temporarily rolling out a new program that will allow you to renew your passport online in 2023. This will be a giant time saver as currently, it can take 5 – 9 weeks to get a passport renewed by sending in the forms via mail. This new process offers the possibility to shorten the renewal time by half. CLICK HERE to find the page that explains the new process.  

4. Expect multiple airline strikes in 2023 that will cause massive 30-day airline disruptions – Every airline, airport, restaurant, bus driver, flight attendant, and baggage handler union has been watching the Delta Air Line pilots recently negotiate a new 34% raise in salaries and now everyone wants a piece of that action. United and American Airlines will also soon be settling for massive pay increases with their pilots that will set a high bar for all the unions to shoot for. If you thought the Christmas snowstorm was a mess these strikes promise to be seismic.  

5. Facial recognition will replace your airline ticket and passport – Paper tickets are ancient history and now digital tickets on your mobile phone will no longer be needed to clear airport security as the travel industry is moving rapidly to deploy facial recognition scanners to replace your digital or paper tickets. Anyone who has used a Global Entry pass to clear international immigration and customs understands that you no longer need to present your passport in the Global Entry machines as they have a scan of your face and know all the details of your trip. Many airport security gates now just have you present a photo ID and not a ticket or boarding pass to clear security. Although this appears as progress it is also a little creepy to me as the government knows your every move.

6. There will be another pandemic scare somewhere in the world in late 2023 that the world will largely try to ignore – There have been 10 major pandemics worldwide since the year 2000. Historically they hit us about every 2-3 years. It will be interesting to see with all the politics surrounding masking, vaccinating, and schooling how the world will handle the next scary bug. CLICK HERE to see the details of all the pandemics.  Here is a list of the last 10 pandemics:  

1999-2002 – West Nile Virus; 
2001 – Anthrax;  
2003 – SARS-CoV;   
2006 – Mumps;  
2006 – E. coli & Salmonella;  
2009 – H1N1 Virus (Swine Flu); 
2012 – Whooping Cough;  
2012 – MERS-CoV;  
2014 – Ebola;  
2016 – Zika Virus;
2020 – COVID-19. 

7. Travelers will finally figure out how to travel with only carry-on luggage and leave the jumbo suitcase at home in 2023 – Traveling with only carry-on luggage dramatically simplifies the traveling process. Besides, most people take 2X to 3X more clothes and shoes than they will ever wear on their trip. If you ever need flexibility when traveling to grab an earlier flight or to jump on another flight if your flight is delayed, check-in luggage is a chain around your neck. Plus, some airlines will charge you as much as $100 round-trip to check your bags. Instead of paying for those outrageous fees simply take half as much stuff and have the hotel do the laundry if you need more clean clothes along the way. It will most likely cost you less than paying the airline fees.  

8. Dogs, Dogs, and more dogs travel in 2023 – More and more people will be bringing their dogs along when they travel in 2023. This past week I was amazed at the number of dogs people brought on board each flight I was on. One flight had three dogs on the flight and one flight had to take one dog off the plane as another dog was barking at him. It is even worse at some of the resorts I visit. I think hotels will have to do something as I was very uncomfortable with dogs sniffing people and fighting off other dogs in the hotel. I grew up on a farm and love animals and especially dogs, but hotels need to decide if they are a hotel or a kennel, and airlines that stopped providing peanuts because they were afraid people might be allergic to them need to consider if some people are just as allergic to dogs.  

9. It is cool to be a travel advisor in 2023 – One thing that changed dramatically during the pandemic was the appreciation and utilization of the professional travel advisor. With all the rules on masks, visas, vaccinations, airline tickets and refunds, hotel rules, etc., travelers young and old turned to their trusty travel advisor to lead them along their journey. Not only is this happening with baby boomers who may not have the online skills but also younger people who appreciate a good coach and a safety value to protect their travel investment.  

10. Airlines will finally put the nail in the coffin for change fees in 2023 – One good casualty that resulted from the pandemic is that most airlines eliminated those dastardly $200 fees to change an airline ticket, thereby matching Southwest Airlines who had for years promoted they don’t charge change fees as a competitive advantage. Last year United Airlines announced you will never pay a change fee again. This of course is very practical in a COVID world that may require changes in travel caused by COVID protocols. Realistically, in the new world of post-COVID travel, no one will make a reservation more than 2 weeks in advance if they worry the airline will charge them a massive fee to change their ticket. 

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