Airline Update – 7/13/2020

  • Fourteen Hawaiian Airlines flight attendant trainees have tested positive for the coronavirus after attending classes at the carrier’s Honolulu headquarters. The new-hires are now quarantined for two weeks, and the airline’s training facilites are undergoing a deep cleaning prior to be utilized again. Hawaiian has instituted a mandatory face mask policy for their headquarters (imagine that!), but already had a face mask requirement for crew and customers in place on their flights.
  • Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian has issued a “last call” for voluntary employee buyouts in advance of the company’s anticipated furloughs which are expected to begin in October. With a reduced schedule, very light load factors and COVID-19 currently spreading exponentially across the U.S., Delta and the entire airline industry have been financially devastated in recent months. With no end in sight, airlines are planning for the inevitable task of reducing their payrolls in order to stay solvent. Employees who voluntarily resign can expect to receive “…significant cash severance, retiree medical benefits and flight benefits.” Delta lost $607 million in the first quarter of the year, and the second quarter result is expected to be equally staggering, if not worse.
  • United Airlines, which is losing an estimated $40 million daily, has indicated that it also is planning to become a much smaller airline in the very near future. The company advised it may have no option but to furlough as many as 36,000 employees beginning October 1, despite receiving $5 billion as part of the government’s transportation industry stimulus package. The industry as a whole clearly doesn’t see a quick rebound in air travel coming anytime soon, and the restrictions on flights between the EU and U.S. has greatly worsened the financial outlook for the coming months.
Lufthansa aircraft parked during the height of the pandemic.
  • While the E.U. and non-member European nations began welcoming international visitors as of July 1, residents of the United States are not on the list. Our neighbor to the north has successfully flattened the spread of COVID-19, so Canadians may travel to Europe, and vice versa. The Canadian border with the U.S. also remains closed, and will certainly remain so until the virus can be contained. The list of nations with reciprocal open borders will be reviewed every two weeks, but with the U.S. pandemic continuing to grow rather than be reduced in scope, it is anyone’s guess as to when airline services to the Continent will resume. The U.S. traveler ban does not apply to residents of European countries “independent of the purpose of travel”, health workers, diplomats, humantarian travelers or transit passengers.

Published by iFlyMSP

After a 35-year travel industry career, the time has come to kick back and relax. Well, not exactly, but it is time to travel without a business schedule dictating where and when. Over the years I've traveled extensively by air for work, both domestically and internationally. I've been to some incredibly exciting and beautiful destinations, and some others, not so much. So now it's my turn (and hopefully yours), to explore the world at a more leisurely pace. Whether you want to discover the U.S. or another continent, the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport is a great starting point. And that's what this blog is all about. I'm not here to assist the rich and famous in figuring out how to best earn and utilize their millions of airline miles and hotel points. Instead, my focus will be on the average Joe and Josephine. Hard-working people (like you!) who have saved up over time for their once or twice a year escape from reality. So if you're contemplating a getaway from MSP or the Upper Midwest via the Twin Cities, you've come to the right place. Happy trails!

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