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Is Bad News Making You Rethink Travel Plans?

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


The last several months (especially the past few days) have been filled with travel warnings, a high profile helicopter crash, and constant concerns about a troubled passenger jet.

I wonder: how will these events affect travelers’ habits? Are they affecting yours?

Coronavirus

The US State Department issued a travel warning yesterday for Americans considering trips to or visiting China. Delta currently has a travel waiver in effect for two Chinese airports.

“Public health officials from the U.S. and China have warned people to expect many more infections,” says CBS News, “and there have been unconfirmed claims from anonymous health workers in China that many thousands more than their government is acknowledging could already be infected.”

Lovely.

Some readers asked me if they should wear surgical masks while traveling. (If you are concerned, sure.) Others are considering canceling trips — some of which are mileage runs — involving China.

Outbreak
(©iStock.com/DragonImages)

I spoke with Point Me to the Plane’s Miles Jackson yesterday. He traveled the three Chinas within the past week.

His take?

“Extreme efforts are being taken to get the situation under control,” Miles said. “China has basically quarantined an entire province…with a population comparable to California and Florida combined. I’d rather take a wait and see approach rather than just react to the current happenings.” (Miles is also a Delta mileage run wizard at Juicy Miles.)

I don’t have any Chinese travel booked at the moment — and probably won’t for a while. On a side note, I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see China Eastern prices to drop in the coming months. I suspect fares to China — and Asia, in general — may also be reduced at some point.

The Kobe Bryant Helicopter Crash

I spent all day Sunday at STAPLES Center (“The House That Kobe Bryant Build”) for a GRAMMY Awards photoshoot. I was inside the arena when news broke about the helicopter crash that killed the retired Los Angeles Lakers superstar, his teenage daughter, and seven other people.

“I’m never getting into a helicopter,” said one media rep.

“Me, neither. Especially after this. They’re too dangerous,” replied another.

Others relayed stories about aerial sightseeing tours enjoyed aboard helicopters. (Such excursions are popular in Hawaii and Las Vegas.)

Knee jerk reactions? Perhaps.

Images of the late Kobe Bryant are projected onto screens at LA Live outside STAPLES Center, where flags are lowered at half-mast.
Images of the late Kobe Bryant are projected onto screens at LA Live outside STAPLES Center, where flags are lowered at half-mast on Sunday, January 26, 2020.

The Kobe Bryant helicopter crash is horrific and heartbreaking. But it won’t sway me from getting on a helicopter again (at least, in optimal conditions), should the opportunity arise for a sightseeing adventure or something like that.

How about you?

This article, for what it’s worth, says helicopters are safer than cars. I’m sure the Comments section will be full of counter-arguments. 😉

The Boeing 737 MAX

It sounds like the infamous Boeing 737 MAX could return to the skies sooner than expected. (Delta Air Lines does not fly the Boeing 737 MAX.)

Airlines may be able to resume MAX service in the fall or sooner.

Q3 is usually my peak Southwest Airlines travel season for my client who loves the Airline of LUV. So there’s a slight chance I’ll end up on a 737 MAX. Am I nervous?

Maybe a little. But the darn plane isn’t flying yet, so who knows if I’ll end up on a MAX.

Grounded Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft fleet of Southwest Airlines in storage at Victorville, CA. on May 4, 2019. (Photo credit: ©iStock.com/RobertMichaud)
Grounded Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft fleet of Southwest Airlines in storage at Victorville, CA. on May 4, 2019. (Photo credit: ©iStock.com/RobertMichaud)

Look, if a flight’s pilots are confident they’ll get home to their friends and families, then I take that as reliable assurance everything will be OK. And something tells me the 737 MAX — if it really does return to service — will be one of the safest aircraft ever. Boeing’s future pretty much relies on the MAX’s reputation.

But I admit: I get a slight pit in my stomach thinking about it…

What Do You Think?

Are you deviating from course? Or pressing on with your travels? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the Comments section.

— Chris

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


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5 Comments

  1. Pingback: Everything You Need To Know About The Coronavirus Outbreak

  2. I’m definitely holding off on reacting to any of the news with my late March schedule JFK-PVG-SIN and back run. I try not to let travel scares affect plans in general, and I have had a few over time. Usually it is paranoid loved ones that cause me to change travel plans that I would have left intact. I also am trying to reduce the amount that I let others influence my travel plans.

    Unless some leg of my trip is cancelled by the airline or the government, my intention is to keep the MR plan that I have right now.

  3. the chinese gov’t has been handling this outbreak poorly and there are several videos uploaded by chinese healthcare workers that suggest the number of cases are grossly under-reported by the gov’t. i don’t like fear-mongering on the internet but i have seen enough distressed pleas for help on chinese social media over the past few days to recognize that the problem is more serious than the gov’t is willing to admit.

    i strongly urge everyone to rethink their travel to china. if the worst happens you’ll be at the mercy of chinese bureaucracy, and whether you want to admit it or not, they have a demonstrated history of not caring about human lives.

  4. Barry Graham Reply

    I am not holding off travel. Bad news (and good news) happens all the time. Most of the virus reports have been confirmed negative and even if they were positive, in most cases it’s no worse than your average flu spell.

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