No Day But Today. Don't
Think of Traveling Today.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2020 -- It occurs to me that I must sound like a bad road company of the musical Rent. For months I've been telling you that this pandemic has made realists of us all, should make us concentrate only on the now of travel.

Yesterday's gone, as Fleetwood Mac once said in a different musical genre. Tomorrow is some vaccine-fueled fantasy. When deciding what you should do with your travels, it comes back to Rent: No day but today.

I've been saying this over and over and over for month after month. No day but today.

That said, though, I spent all of Thanksgiving week compiling a chart about what each airline was doing with testing on specific routes. I thought it would be helpful. You'd know what each airline was trying on each route that it was cooperating with a destination and a testing service.

Then no day but today got in the way.

I woke up today, got to my computer and, as I have done every day since mid-January, I began to prepare the daily Coronavirus Travel Update on the Travel Newsstand.

And no day but today slapped the tar out of me. A hundred thousand of us now in hospital with Coronavirus. Two hundred thousand new cases. Two thousand eight hundred and four dead, a new daily record and the start of a 9/11 every day that the experts warned us about.

And you want to talk about travel? Wake up. You're not going anywhere. Not for months. Not if you want to be safe.

I know some of us must travel in the months ahead. For urgent business reasons. For essential family reasons. For some reason.

But you shouldn't if you can possibly help it. Freed from its Trumpian pre-election denial, the CDC now says it plainly: Stay the fuck home. Okay, the CDC wasn't quite so blunt. It is, after all, a shy government bureaucracy.

"The best thing for Americans to do in the upcoming holiday season is to stay at home and not travel," CDC official Henry Walke said on Wednesday. "Cases are rising. Hospitalizations are increasing, deaths are increasing. We need to try to bend the curve, stop this exponential increase."

So today I will not give you a chart of where airlines, testing services and destinations are cooperating. My responsibility as a human being outweighs my responsibility as a guy who runs a travel Web site. I will not, at least today, be a party to you putting yourself and others at risk.

Stay the fuck home. Right now, don't even think about planning a trip you can possibly replace with a teleconference or a phone call or an E-mail.

I'm not saying this to shock you. I am telling you what I believe, especially in light of my no-day-but today-approach to this pandemic.

Today, as we are staring down a 9/11 every day for weeks or maybe months, it would be irresponsible to talk about travel.

Yeah, I know what you're thinking: What about flying next year? I need to start planning and you have a responsibility to help me with that.

No, I don't. My responsibility is to tell you the truth. And the truth is that even thinking about travel now is a terrible mistake.

We paused after 9/11, as you may recall. Literally shut down the skies for days. No one planned then--except for those of us stuck somewhere far from home. It took me nearly two weeks to get back from San Francisco. I remember. It was annoying. But when I flew home, I flew safely.

And now, to be honest, it's time for another 9/11-like pause. We're now losing as many every day as we lost that one terrible day in 2001. It's irresponsible to talk about travel today.

Yeah, I know, the vaccines are coming. And that's great. I look forward to them. But that doesn't help us today. It won't help us tomorrow or next week or next month. As the head of the CDC, Robert Redfield, said yesterday: December, January and February probably will be "the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation."

It's impossible to talk travel with that kind of viral gun pointed at our collective head. Anyone who tells you differently is lying to you--or feeding you pablum to make a buck from your travel.

The truth is that a lot of us are going to die from Coronavirus in the months ahead. And a lot of us are going to die because the health-care system will be so overwhelmed with Covid cases that survivable medical events cannot be addressed in a timely manner.

As you can see by the chart, travel has been inching back up since those dark days of mid-April when flying fell below 100,000 passengers a day. We even hit a million a few days during Thanksgiving.

But the "good news" is that travelers mostly stayed out of the skies during the holiday week. Traffic has fallen during the first few days in December and I suspect it will continue to plunge in the weeks ahead.

No day but today. And, today is no day to talk about travel.