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Cruises

AHLA Believes Hotel Industry is on 'Brink of Collapse'

The American Hotels & Lodging Association (AHLA) is calling directly upon the U.S. Congress to prioritize financial assistance for hotel workers and small businesses in the next wave of COVID-19 economic relief legislation. Business Travel News cited the AHLA as having referred to the hotel industry as currently being on the “brink of collapse”.

“The hospitality industry is in a fight for survival,” said AHLA president and CEO, Chip Rogers. “We are grateful to the leadership of both parties during one of the most difficult health and economic challenges we have faced. We are urging Congress to do even more to help the hotel industry so that our small hotel operators can keep the lights on, and retain and rehire employees.”

New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revealed that the hospitality and leisure industry is the hardest-hit sector of the U.S. economy by far, with 7.7 million jobs lost in April alone. That’s more job losses than those sustained by the construction, manufacturing, retail, education, and health services sectors combined, said AHLA’s letter to Congress, dated May 20, 2020.

Along with its letter, the AHLA provided its recommended ‘Roadmap to Recovery’ plan, calling for action on several key points, including:

—Expanding the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) from the ‘Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act’.

—Providing tax credits for certain expenditures, especially in light of enhanced sanitation measures and the provision of personal protective equipment by hotels in order to continue operating.

—Offering employees tax credits or direct tuition assistance for continuing education, in light of furloughs and job losses resulting from the pandemic.

—Extending the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) through December 31, 2020, and expanding the scope and flexibility of PPP loans.

—Extending federal loan maturity from two years to a minimum of five years.

—Extending the re-hiring deadline to December 31, 2020, for loan forgiveness purposes.


—Providing hotels that reopen and adhere to proper public health guidance protection under a limited ‘safe harbor’ provision, applicable to guests and employees, from exposure liability related to COVID-19.

—Creation of a ‘Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities (CMBS) Market Relief Fund’ to keep hotels in cash-flow crisis from defaulting on their mortgages.

—Creation of a ‘Federal Pandemic Risk Insurance Program’ to protect operators against future pandemic outbreaks and associated losses.

—Incentivizing travel through increased testing to reassure the public; set federally-imposed per-diem rates for the fiscal year 2021-22, based upon 2019 data; reinstate entertainment, food and beverage-related tax deductions as business expenses; and create a temporary Travel Tax Credit, similar in purpose to the homebuyer tax credit applied following the 2008 housing crisis.

AHLA hopes that such concessions would enable the hospitality industry to survive the devastation that’s been dealt out by the COVID-19 crisis, whose impact the organization called “worse than the Great Depression”. Thus far, experts say, the pandemic has caused the industry nine times the damage it suffered in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. 2020 is forecast to become the single worst year on record in terms of hotel occupancy, and predictions indicate that the sector won’t bounce back to its 2019 levels until at least 2022.

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Transport

Emirates airline reveals 21% increase in profit, revenue impacted by Covid-19, DXB upgrade

Sheikh Ahmed said it ‘will take 18 months at least, before travel demand returns to a semblance of normality’

The pandemic aside, Sheikh Ahmed said the further strengthening of the US dollar against major currencies “eroded our profits to the tune of AED1 billion ($272m), global airfreight demand remained soft for most of the year, and competition intensified in our key markets”.

Emirates airline reported an annual profit of AED 1.1 billion ($288 million), up 21% from the previous year, in its results announced today.

The airline said its revenue declined by 6% to AED 92bn ($25.1bn), impacted by Dubai International’s airport’s planned runway closure for 45 days last year, and the temporary suspension of passenger flights in March due to Covid-19.

Emirates Group, which includes airport services firm Dnata, reported a profit of AED1.7 billion ($456m). Emirates Group said it ended the year with a cash balance of AED25.6 billion ($7bn).

Dnata reported a profit of AED 618m ($168m), which includes a AED216m ($59m) one-time gain from sale of a stake in an IT company, Accelya.

Emirates said the group has not declared a dividend for this financial year – after last year’s dividend of AED500m ($136m) to the Investment Corporation of Dubai – “due to the unprecedented business environment from the ongoing pandemic, and to protect the group’s liquidity position”.

“For the first 11 months of 2019-20, Emirates and Dnata were performing strongly, and we were on track to deliver against our business targets,” said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive, Emirates Airline and Group.

“However, from mid-February things changed rapidly as the Covid-19 pandemic swept across the world, causing a sudden and tremendous drop in demand for international air travel as countries closed their borders and imposed stringent travel restrictions.”

US dollar impact

The pandemic aside, Sheikh Ahmed said the further strengthening of the US dollar against major currencies “eroded our profits to the tune of AED1 billion ($272m), global airfreight demand remained soft for most of the year, and competition intensified in our key markets”.

“Every year we are tested on our agility and ability,” Sheikh Ahmed said.

“While tackling the immediate challenges and taking advantage of opportunities that come our way, our decisions have always been guided by our long-term goal to build a profitable, sustainable, and responsible business based in Dubai.”

Emirates introduced a temporary reduction of basic salary for the majority of employees for three months in March, but said there would be no job losses. The airline said across its more than 120 subsidiaries, the group’s total workforce remained nearly unchanged with 105,730 employees, representing over 160 different nationalities.

Sheikh Ahmed said as the pandemic hit, the group moved to “protect our skilled workforce, and ensure the health and safety of our people and our customers”.

“This will remain our top priority as we navigate a gradual return to operations in the coming months,” he added.

Covid-19 impact

Looking to the year ahead, Sheikh Ahmed said the Covid-19 pandemic “will have a huge impact on our 2020-21 performance”.

“We expect it will take 18 months at least, before travel demand returns to a semblance of normality,” he said.

“In the meantime, we are actively engaging with regulators and relevant stakeholders, as they work to define standards to ensure the health and safety of travellers and operators in a post-pandemic world. Emirates and Dnata stand to reactivate our operations to serve our customers, as soon as circumstances allow.”

Arabian Business magazine: Read the latest edition online

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Cruises

Riviera River Cruises Offers Incentive for National Travel Advisor Day

In celebration of National Travel Advisor Day on May 6, Riviera River Cruises is offering $100 incentives to advisors and their clients for new bookings made May 4-8 for 2020 and 2021 European river cruises.

For new bookings next week, agents will receive a $100 gift card per cabin booked and their clients will receive a $100 shipboard credit per person.

“We’ve always supported the travel agency community, and this is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to advisors and their clients during these difficult times,” said Marilyn Conroy, executive vice president-sales and marketing in North America.

She said Riviera won’t accept bookings directly from consumers. “Instead, we turn them back over to advisors who work proactively with us and are located where the consumer lives,” Conroy said. “In due time, we’ll return to Europe’s rivers and waterways, and we hope to be the go-to cruise line for you and your clients when they’re able to travel again.”

The promotion can be combined will all other offers available through Riviera River Cruises but does not apply to existing bookings being amended under the temporary flexible booking policy.

Riviera River Cruises offers 20 itineraries on 10 rivers and waterways, including exclusive departures for solo travelers with no single supplement. Its fleet is one of the youngest in Europe, with no ships older than six years. Riviera doesn’t automatically include gratuities or drinks, so guests decide how much to spend.

For more information, call 888-838-8820 or click here.

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Travel

Herd of rare dugongs spotted in shallow waters in Thailand

Herd of rare dugongs spotted in shallow waters in Thailand as coronavirus lockdown leaves coastal regions tranquil and undisturbed

  • The sea mammals are classed as vulnerable with only 250 in Thailand
  • A drone filmed a herd in waters off Libong island in Trang province 
  • The dugong is closely related to the sea cow and can grow up to 11 feet long
  • Blacktip sharks and false killer whales have also been spotted close to land
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

A threatened sea mammal has been spotted exploring waters that are now undisturbed thanks to the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.

Drone video footage released by the Department of National Parks shows a 30-strong herd of dugongs in shallow waters off Libong island in Trang province.

They were feeding on seagrass and occasionally surfaced to breathe.

This aerial view screengrab taken by Thailand’s National Marine Park Operation Center in Trang shows dugongs swimming in Joohoy cape at Libong island in Trang province in southern Thailand

Naturalists report other marine animals are also taking advantage of the tourism slump that is leaving coastal regions tranquil and undisturbed.

Human intrusion and marine pollution have made dugong sightings in southern Thailand rare in recent years.

‘It’s quite unusual,’ marine scientist Thon Thamrongnawasawat told The Associated Press on Thursday when asked about the dugongs. ‘This species of mammal is very sensitive to speed boats and people. When they are gone, they feel free to gather in a large group and come close to shore.’

Dugongs – closely related to the manatee or sea cow – are officially classified as vulnerable. They can grow up to 11 feet in length. Thailand’s population is put at around 250. Last year a record number of dead dugongs were found in Thai waters.

Five dugongs, part of a larger group of the sea mammals, cruising slowly in the shallow waters of Chao Mai Beach national park in Trang province

In this Thursday May 23, 2019, photo, an official of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources hugs Marium, a baby dugong separated from her mother, near Libong island. She sadly died two months after this photograph was taken as a result of gastritis and blood infection caused by plastic waste in her intestines

Their fate captured attention last June after images circulated of Thai vets cuddling an ailing baby dugong and hand-feeding her with milk and seagrass.

Despite the care, she died two months later. A post-mortem found a large amount of plastic waste in her intestines that had caused gastritis and blood infection.

Mr Thon said there were also reports this week of large schools of sharks coming unusually close to shore in several places in southern Thailand, and a sighting of a pod of false killer whales.

Human intrusion and marine pollution have made dugong sightings in southern Thailand rare in recent years. Pictured – Libong island

Video from park rangers on Phi Phi island shows 70 to 100 blacktip sharks in the shallow waters of Maya Bay, made famous by the Leonardo DiCaprio movie The Beach.

The bay was closed to tourists in June 2018 for ecological recovery, and the island’s entire national park has been shut since March to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Park rangers also counted 10 to 15 false killer whales, another protected species, near the popular tourist island of Koh Lanta, the first time they have been seen in that area. 

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Travel

Should I Cancel My Summer Vacation or Fall Trip?



a castle with water in the background

It’s been months since the new COVID-19 reality, and the question of when we’ll travel again remains nebulous.

Many travelers are wondering: Should I cancel my summer vacation or fall trip? Or should I postpone? When do I make the final call? When you choose to rethink your travel plans can impact the amount of money you’re able to recoup and the flexibility you’ll get in rebooking. We spoke to three industry experts about what to consider—and when to start the process—when it comes to postponing and rebooking your travel plans over the next six months. Here’s what they said.

Create your own timeline and deadlines for postponing

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer on how far out to start postponing your travel plans: it completely depends on who you booked with and what their terms and cancellation policies look like. Do your due diligence now—including reading any fine print—and understand when you need to make a decision by.

“Discuss the repercussions of canceling,” says Jack Ezon, a global travel specialist and founder of Embark Beyond. “Are there cancellation policies you need to think about? Is this a time-sensitive decision?” Figure out what current cancellation policies look like for everything you booked: your flights, your accommodations, your cruise, any tours or experiences. Know when those deadlines are approaching, and figure out when you need to start taking action.

If that time is months away, force yourself to cool your jets—and wait it out.

“Generally speaking, it’s better to be canceled on than for you to cancel on a discretionary basis,” says Gary Leff, the author of ViewFromtheWing.com and an expert in points and miles. “If you’re canceling voluntary, not because travel is being canceled on you, your position is less strong for a refund—in terms of getting refunds from providers, in terms of filing claims with insurance companies, and certainly with airfare.” Leff says this holds especially true with airline reservations, which you can cancel up until the scheduled departure time. “I would not be addressing your flights weeks in advance.”

For trips into early summer, Ezon’s team is telling clients that they should anticipate postponing their travel. “For anything from mid-June and beyond, we’re encouraging people to wait and see,” he says. “That June date is fluid, but that’s what it looks like today. It’s important to keep revisiting that, and remember things are changing at lightning speed.” That all said, Ezon’s team still has plenty on the books for July and August. “As long as there’s no [financial] penalty to wait, and you’re not being asked to place additional deposits or put more money on the line, there’s no reason to cancel [right now].”

Reach out to those you booked with before you need to postpone

Though your timeline should be based on cancellation policies, know that none of those rules are written in stone—especially in an unprecedented situation like this one.

“Have a conversation with the person you’re working with,” says Leff. “Don’t just read the agreements and assume those are the options you’re currently facing. The person on the other end doesn’t want to lose your business, so they might give you greater flexibility. They’re also going to want your business when things return to usual.”

If you booked through a travel specialist or third party, let them go to bat for you. “Having a transparent discussion navigated by a travel advisor can be extremely helpful and mutually beneficial,” says Ezon. Not only do these travel experts have the experience—and time—to talk these things through with vendors, but their collective bargaining power can be useful to travelers and travel companies.

If you can afford to, consider postponing your trip instead of canceling altogether. You might be able to negotiate something more favorable for when you do take the trip later on, and, you’ll be supporting travel providers in a time of need. “In general, our philosophy is we’re all in this together,” says Ezon. “We’re an advocate for our travelers first and foremost, but we also need our vendors and suppliers to stay in business, not just for moral reasons, but to sustain this business. If there are no small tour operators and beautiful boutiques [left], our clients won’t get to experience those things when this is all over.”

Proceed cautiously on new bookings

Some travelers are still making summer and fall plans, even though they aren’t sure they’ll be able to see them through. For some, scheduled events that haven’t been called off, like summer or fall weddings, are placing guests in limbo. There’s also the appeal of cheaper fares and flexible cancellation policies.

For opportunists eyeing low fares, Leff encourages travelers to wait it out. “There isn’t an imperative to jump on good fares now,” says Leff. “As flying comes back, it won’t be like flipping a switch and the planes are full. I wouldn’t feel a need to jump on a good price today, because there will be good, possibly great, fares later.”

“The best thing anyone can do right now is to understand what their options are,” says Megan Moncrief, chief marketing officer at travel insurance comparison site Squaremouth. “The industry as a whole is doing what they can, providing refunds, vouchers, and credits at an unprecedented rate. As a consumer, I wouldn’t feel confident traveling this summer, though I would feel comfortable booking travel in the fall—but I’d want to know my options.”

Ezon agrees that any new travel booked should factor potential risk from the get-go, and what it will look like should you need to cancel. “What is the viability of getting your money back?” says Ezon. “And how are you paying? That’s very important when it comes to tour companies especially. If you pay by wire or check, you have very little protection, especially if that vendor goes bankrupt or closes shop. If you pay by credit card, cards will usually protect you, depending on the card. If you have travel insurance, that can also protect you.”

Know what insurance will cover

Though most travel insurance plans do not cover pandemics, there are ways to navigate existing plans to meet your current needs. “There is still coverage if you contract the virus, or if you’re quarantined, and there’s also coverage for the financial fallout from this, say employment layoffs, or financial default of the provider,” says Moncrief. On sites like Squaremouth, customers should make sure those scenarios are included in any plan being purchased right now.

Of course, you can also spend more on a cancel-for-any-reason (CFAR) plan to protect yourself as thoroughly as possible. “CFAR is the still your best option, especially if you just don’t feel safe or don’t want to go [when the time comes].” It works exactly like it sounds—you can cancel for any reason, no explanation needed. You won’t get 100 percent of your money back, and you have to follow strict rules in how you book—and you must purchase the insurance within a small window of booking the trip itself. Read more about this in our cancel-for-any-reason insurance explainer.

Though waiting to make the call on upcoming travel plans can be tough, Leff says the emotional upside can be worth it, too. “Keep your trips as something to look forward to through this, until you have information to make a decision,” he says. “Keeping something on the books gives you something concrete to hang on to, at least from a personal standpoint. You can look forward to when the world is better, healing.”



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Travel

Can I cancel or change my award ticket due to coronavirus travel waivers?



a large air plane on a runway at an airport

The worldwide coronavirus outbreak is already having a massive impact on the travel industry, as airlines cut capacity, cruise lines are turned away from ports and some hotels provide relief to guests with nonrefundable rates. Kuwait plans to suspend all commercial air traffic as of Friday, March 13, effectively closing its borders to passengers from other countries.

And of course, there’s the recent announcement from the U.S. that’ll restrict travel to or from Europe for the next 30 days.

The global pandemic has also caused notable disruptions to existing travel plans along with an important choice to make for those with future vacations: Should I still travel, or should I postpone or cancel my trip? This is an intensely personal decision though it also has financial implications, as many travel insurance providers — including the coverage offered by popular credit cards — typically don’t cover nonrefundable expenses when you cancel or change a trip based on fear of a pandemic.

Many airlines have announced travel waivers to lessen this burden, but over the last few days, we’ve received dozens of emails from readers, inquiring about whether these policies apply to award tickets. We are going to break things down so you know exactly what to expect if you’re considering changing or canceling a trip you booked using your hard-earned points and miles.

Travel waivers for award tickets by carrier

a person sitting at a train station next to a bag of luggage: If you want to cancel or change your award ticket due to coronavirus, current travel waivers may allow you to do that with no fee. (Photo by EVERT ELZINGA/ANP/AFP via Getty Images.)

We have a current list of airlines offering travel waivers related to the coronavirus outbreak, and we update that article regularly. As a result, we won’t rehash the entirety of those policies here. Instead, we’ll focus on how they affect award tickets — though bear in mind that this is a continuously-evolving situation, so some of the below could change at any time.

Alaska Airlines

Alaska specifically references award tickets on its main travel waiver page, indicating the following:

  • Any award ticket purchased on or before Feb. 26, 2020 that includes travel through March 31 can be canceled or changed for free. Any cancellations will result in a redeposit of miles into your Mileage Plan account.
  • Any award ticket purchased between Feb. 27 and March 31, 2020, will also enjoy waived change and cancellation fees. Note that this applies to any dates of travel; it isn’t limited to flights through the end of March.

In both cases, however, you must change or cancel your flight prior to the departure of your original flight.

Bear in mind too that Alaska MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K travelers enjoy free changes and cancellations on all award tickets.

American Airlines

American’s travel waivers have a couple of different layers. The first one waives change and cancellation fees for tickets purchased prior to March 1, 2020, involving flights through April 30, 2020. While not directly addressed online, an American spokesperson confirmed to TPG that the waivers “do include award tickets, and the miles would be reinstated to the member’s account” in the event of cancellation. However, you must change your flight to begin travel by Dec. 31, 2020 or within one year of your original ticketing date, whichever comes sooner.

It’s also worth noting that you need to have a phone agent manually reinstate your miles on a canceled award ticket; it doesn’t happen automatically.

The second change-fee waiver applies to new tickets booked from March 1 to 31. However, per the terms and conditions, “This policy excludes bookings through AAdvantage award tickets.”

Remember that American Executive Platinum travelers enjoy free changes and cancellations on all award tickets, including Economy Web Specials.

Delta Air Lines

Like American, Delta’s travel notice includes waived change and cancellation fees but differentiates this based on when you book(ed) your flight — and just added new waivers for European flights through May 31. However, the published policy doesn’t explicitly address award tickets. TPG reached out for clarification, and a Delta spokesperson provided the following statement:

“The same rules apply whether a flight is booked with cash or miles. For award flights, we are also waiving the mile redeposit fee.”

This is among the most generous of these travel waivers, as free cancellations are typically reserved for high-tier Platinum and Diamond Medallion members.

JetBlue Airways

New York-based JetBlue has a smaller international footprint, but it was among the first to implement a waiver of change and cancellation fees for new reservations, including those in Blue Basic. This has been updated a few times since the initial announcement (you can view the most up-to-date information on this page), but unfortunately, the current policy doesn’t explicitly address flights booked using TrueBlue points.

We’ve reached out to the airline to ask whether award tickets are covered, and a spokesperson confirmed that they are, so TrueBlue members can change or cancel their flights booked with points without penalties. Remember too that JetBlue Mosaic members enjoy fee-free changes and cancellations on all tickets (excluding Blue Basic flights).

Southwest Airlines

Southwest’s hasn’t issued a formal fee waiver related to coronavirus — simply because the carrier already allows award tickets to be changed or canceled without penalty. If you’re looking to cancel an upcoming flight booked with Rapid Rewards points, you can do so for free and get all of your points back (along with a refund of taxes and fees). Alternately, you can change it without any fee, though any applicable fare difference would apply.

United Airlines

United’s travel waiver related to the coronavirus outbreak follows a similar pattern: Customers will pay no change or cancellation fees on flights that depart through April 30, and if your flight was booked between March 3 and March 31, this waiver covers all travel dates. Like Delta and American, it too doesn’t explicitly address award tickets. However, when TPG reached out to the airline, a spokesperson confirmed that you could change tickets booked with miles for free, as long as they fell during the applicable booking and/or travel windows.

Unfortunately, when we followed up regarding canceling award tickets, the spokesperson clarified that the redeposit fee would still apply — which varies based on United Premier elite status.

It doesn’t hurt to ask

a woman sitting at a table: Even if your flight isn’t directly covered under a published travel waiver, you may be able to find a sympathetic phone agent. (Photo by aluxum/Getty Images.)

Of course, a rapidly-evolving situation like the coronavirus outbreak is bound to create some gray areas, and TPG staffers have already experienced this in our own interactions. TPG Senior Editor Alberto Riva asked to waive the $125 redeposit fee for an award ticket he had booked with United miles in Swiss business class from New York-JFK to Zurich in late March — which the United phone agent agreed to after speaking with a supervisor. TPG Senior Editor Jasmin Baron faced a similar situation changing an award ticket booked using Alaska miles for her mom to fly back from the Philippines, but when she explained her circumstances, the phone agent waived the change fee.

We’ve also received reports from TPG readers indicating that itineraries that should be eligible for free changes are having fees added on, so if you’re in a similar situation, you may need to call to resolve the discrepancy — and unfortunately, wait times may be quite long. You could try an airline’s international customer service numbers or use the automated system to request a call back (if available). This could also be a great opportunity to leverage an elite phone line — though one data point shared with TPG indicated a six-hour wait for an agent with one of the major U.S. carriers.

With the new travel restrictions between the U.S. and Europe, these waits are likely to grow, though one would hope that the major airlines continue to give their phone agents discretion to help affected passengers.

Remember to stay calm and be respectful, especially if you’re asking for an exception to the published policies. A phone agent may have the discretion to waive change and cancellation fees on award tickets, but being rude is a surefire way to prevent that from happening.

Bottom line

The coronavirus outbreak continues to grow, and the major airlines continue to update their travel waivers. If you have an award ticket booked for travel through April 30, you should be eligible to change or cancel it without a fee, though the exact details vary — and could change in a day or even an hour. Your best bet is to monitor the travel alerts page(s) for the airline(s) on which you have travel booked, and feel free to bookmark our own coronavirus hub page for up-to-date information on the disease’s impact on the travel industry.

Featured photo by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy.

WATCH: Coronavirus outbreak causes travel industry to pivot (provided by USA Today)


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'If I die, I die': Young people capitalize on cheap coronavirus flights


As people around the world canceled their trips because of fears of the new coronavirus, Ashley Henkel booked three.

a couple of people that are standing in front of a window: Passengers at Sydney Airport on Tuesday, March 10, 2020.

Henkel, 20, is taking advantage of cheap flights to see North America. She lives in California’s Central Valley, but this summer she’ll be in Vancouver, New York City and Portland, Oregon.

A college student itching to travel, she’s one of many people staring the deadly virus in the face and saying, “Whatever.”

As flight schedules are scaled down and airline stocks plunge, carriers are offering deals that have put air travel within reach for people who usually can’t fly.

It’s a high-risk, high-reward trip, people say.

“I feel like if the coronavirus would get even more serious and like wipe out a large amount of people, I might as well be somewhere having fun,” Henkel told NBC News in a message.

She had thought about going on trips this summer, but it was too expensive. Now, as people self-quarantine, she’ll be taking pictures in Times Square. There is “no fun in staying at home and being all worried,” she said.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is telling people over 60 or those with chronic illnesses to stay home, young people feel now is their time to fly. Notwithstanding the dangers of spreading the virus to more vulnerable populations, Henkel’s trips might be what the airline industry needs as it takes a hard hit from the outbreak.

Multinational corporations like Google and Walmart are restricting “nonessential” travel, people are canceling trips and large conferences are being called off. Global air travel is projected to lose $63 billion to $113 billion because of reduced demand, according to an estimate from the International Air Transport Association, and the coronavirus is on track to slow global travel faster than the SARS and MERS outbreaks did.

United Airlines said it will lose money this quarter, and Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly said the outbreak is a more serious challenge for the industry than the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Cruise lines are feeling the hit, too, reportedly discounting voyages as shares for some major lines have fallen around 50 percent since January.

But on social media, as it often goes, jokes abound about “risking it all” for a dream trip.

On Twitter, Jack Mulligan of Manchester, England, joked that coronavirus wasn’t going to stop him from traveling.

“As much of a joke my tweet may have seemed, I was being deadly serious,” Mulligan told NBC News.

Mulligan, 29, says he saved £300 to £400 on his trip in May to the Dominican Republic.

“I think the coronavirus is clearly something people need to be wary of, but I don’t plan on putting my life on hold because something is going around,” Mulligan said. He had planned to go on vacation anyway, and because cheap flights are now available, he said, booking on Tuesday made sense.

For Capri Nicole, 27, the discount flights offered something more meaningful than a getaway: a chance to see her grandma, who is sick with cancer, next week on her 71st birthday.

Next week, Nicole will travel from Atlanta to Connecticut, and she said she saved about $200, which put once unaffordable flights within reach.

“There’s sicknesses everywhere,” Nicole said. “I could get a disease today unrelated from the virus.”

Nicole says she isn’t worried about getting sick.

“If I die, I die. I miss my family.”

WATCH:  Big efforts to keep travelers safe from coronavirus (provided by TODAY)


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