David J. Danto


Business travel thoughts in my own, personal opinion




eMail: ddanto@IMCCA.org      Follow Industry News: @NJDavidD


NOT Traveling Blog, 5th Week Of September


In 2014 I was voted by USA Today readers as one of the top ten business travel bloggers in the USA.   Now mind you, I turned out to be number ten on the list of ten, but I did make it on (with my thanks to all those who voted.)   Now that we’re all stuck at home and not traveling, I had to think about what to do with my blogs.  I could stop writing them entirely – waiting till we all get through the current COVID19 pandemic / crisis.  I could wax nostalgic and/or complain about past trips.  Or, I could focus all of my efforts on my day job – growing the use of collaboration technologies – especially in light of how many people are now forced to use those tools for the first time.  In reflecting upon those choices, what I decided to do is compile an ongoing list of observations during the crisis.  Some of these may amuse, some may inform, some may sadden and others may help.  My goal will be for you to have seen something in a different light than you did before you stopped to read the blog.  I was going to apologize for how disjointed these thoughts may seem when put together, but then it dawned on me that feeling disjointed is our new normal – at least for a little while.  

There were more announcements this past week that don’t bode well for returning to normal in 2021.  Sir Elton John – who had scheduled his “farewell tour” for 2020 had postponed his dates to 2021 early in the pandemic.  This past week he just postponed them again to 2022.  (Goodbye Yellowbrick Road – or any road to travel – indeed.)  Then there was the Metropolitan Opera, that announced that they are cancelling their 2021 season.  Fellow collaboration industry analyst and pundit Dave Michels then astutely pointed out that this pandemic won’t be over till the “…fat lady sings…”  I’m just giving it to you straight here folks – don’t expect 2021 to be all that different from 2020.  As I mentioned last week, we haven’t even see the worst of things yet. 

Frequent readers of my traveling (or not traveling these days) blogs know how often I bash United Airlines – and deservedly so I would add.  So, it’s important for me to call out when they’ve actually done something good.  United just announced that they’ll begin a pre-flight COVID19 testing program in conjunction with flights from SFO to Hawaii on October 15th.  By taking an at-airport test that has results in fifteen minutes, or an at home test that needs to be ordered ten days before a flight, passengers can prove to the Hawaiian authorities that they are COVID19 free and therefore do not need to quarantine upon arrival.  Mind you, this program has more holes in it than Swiss cheese – the biggest of which is likely because it is optional, so a passenger testing negative can catch the virus from a fellow passenger in-flight that was not tested – but it breaks-through what will likely be a huge barrier to the eventual recovery of air-travel.  Airlines obviously can begin a program to provide instant tests at the airport.  At some point, passing such a test will clearly need to be a pre-requisite to boarding a flight – at least until the majority of people have been vaccinated.  Baby steps…  

I don’t know about you, but the longer we stay in this pandemic mode, the more ridiculous some of the email solicitations I receive become.  I posted the Top Ten “winners” on Twitter this week, so here they are for those of you that don’t follow me there:

Top 10 pandemic emails

The only update after I posted it was that the next day United had already upped its email offer of bonus miles if I buy those worthless things from 75% to 85%.  My math may be rusty, but I still believe the value of zero remains constant regardless of the multiplier.  Also, honorable mention goes to the MGM Casino in Springfield, Massachusetts – which keeps telling me that if I drive there and gamble on Wednesdays I can win a “designer watch” - as if that that was actually a satisfactory description of a prize anyone would want.  I can get this designer watch on Amazon for 1 cent (plus $6.99 for shipping) so I think their unspecified brand is likely not worth the gas from New Jersey to Massachusetts.

And while we’re discussing things “not worth it”, did anyone actually enjoy the abomination of a regular baseball season that’s coming to a close this week?  Between seven-inning games in double-headers, gift runners in extra-innings, teams that believe they need a new pitcher for every inning, defenses that had four outfielders or all infielders on one side fluctuating with the batter, pitcher and even sometimes the count, and just the sheer lunacy of the paper-cut-outs in the stands and piped-in crowd noise, I think the people in charge did more damage to the game than COVID19 did. Major League Baseball desperately needs a reset to the game the way it was played before – and “before” can be as far back as the 1950s or as recently as the 1990s.  What’s out there now is a pitiful, poor replica of the game I enjoyed growing-up.    

Finally this week, I need to pause my snark and sarcasm, and sadly recognize and mourn the Two Hundred Thousands Americans that have already died from COVID19.  This is clearly the greatest tragedy of my lifetime.  For some perspective – that’s a 9/11’s worth of deaths about every 2.5 days.  It’s also been (arguably) presented as more than all the US soldiers that have died in all of America’s wars.  Whatever you believe, whatever your politics – please people – mourn for those lost, feel for those suffering, and put on your damn, @$*^@ mask.

200k dead

As always, please feel free to write to me with comments or items I should add to a future Not Traveling blog (or if you just need someone to write to.)  Stay safe, be well, hug those you’re sheltering with (but no one else) and do your best to stay positive.  We’re going to be in this for a long while. 

This article was written by David Danto and contains solely his own, personal opinions.

All image and links provided above as reference under prevailing fair use statutes.