I am declaring that the travel industry COVID depression is officially over!
This last week I had a short trip to Minnesota via Chicago and it was almost like the travel industry depression caused by COVID had never happened. Planes were full. And on one flight there were 25 people listed on the upgrade list. The terminals were full. 30 people were lined up at McDonald’s in the terminal and every sit-down restaurant chair was full. Amazingly the hotel I stayed at Thursday night was sold-out and the car rental location had only a handful of cars left on the lot. I understand that business travelers are not back in the saddle yet, however, the pent-up demand from vacation travelers is quickly lifting the travel industry out of the depression.
Airport restaurants and stores can’t find staff and are cutting hours – While the majority of stores in airports are now open it appears many now have very limited hours because of the shortage of workers. While walking through the concourse at O’Hare at 6 pm Friday I saw many stores that were open mid-day were closed late afternoon. Even though the travel depression is over it is clear we are not back to normal.
Please join the $20 shoe shine club with me – One of the hardest hit jobs at the airports continues to be the shoeshine person. I have taken about 8 flights in the last several months and I was sad to see all the shoeshine stands closed. During last week’s flight to MSP, I almost fell over when I found the first shine stand staffed with one lady. I quickly jumped up and enjoyed a 10-minute shine and asked her how business was. She said she normally had 15 – 20 shines a day pre COVID but now is lucky to get 5 shines a day. If you do the math of 5 shines @ $10 she is making only $50 a day. After my shine, I handed her $20 and told her I was starting a new movement called the $20 shoe shine club until business travelers get back on the road again. I hope you join the club with me. She has an honorable job that deserves our support.
It’s time to update your travel bucket list – COVID threw a monkey wrench into everyone’s travel plans and now we all need to rearrange our travel bucket list. On Wednesday, June 2 I will be holding a zoom webinar of the top 30 international destinations I have on my bucket list so you can circle the ones you want to add to your list. This will be lots of fun for newbies and travel pros alike. You can register by clicking HERE.
I was glad to see two airline treats that were not a casualty of COVID – I flew United airlines last week and during the flight to Chicago they handed me a small snack pack that included water, pretzels, and Stroopwafels on the outbound flight and Biscoff cookies on the return flight. I love Stroopwafels and Biscoff cookies. I felt like things were almost back to normal again.
Final Call – Join Our Exceptional Fall Foliage Tour! – This is the final call for the most exceptional Fall Foliage tour, October 9-17, 2021, highlighting the best New England has to offer. Boston with its landmarks, a visit to Cornelius Vanderbilt’s mansion, Acadia National Park, the scenic White Mountains and the Raven Interpretive Program, Franconia Notch, and Kancamagus Highway with the country’s best fall foliage viewing areas. All this plus much more combined with great culinary delights incl. the Jordan Pond Restaurant, a colonial-style dinner at the historic Salem Cross Inn, and a Bar Harbor lobster bake. Do not hesitate to call or email our friendly group department, (402) 858-0033 / GroupDepartment@executivetravel.com to secure your spot. CLICK HERE to read the detailed tour program and HERE to register online for this once-in-a-lifetime journey.
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