Daily travel links for 2020-03-26: Empty planes, no travel ads and an ill-timed novel

    • Photos of travellers having a place to themselves used to be newsworthy; now it’s commonplace.… https://t.co/jijbMxoR9y
    • Check out the amazing finalists in this year’s edition of that #Yukon tradition, the Takhini Hot Springs Hair Freestyle Contest… https://t.co/QfjwBCJcde

 

If you’re still seeking flights home during the pandemic, check all versions of the booking site you’re using

A research team from VPNOverview analyzed several major online airline booking sites this week and discovered that anyone still stranded abroad that is looking for affordable flights to get home will get different results by using different versions of the sites that are aimed for specific countries.

On March 22 and 23, the Dutch website that specializes in cybersecurity and privacy topics examined several flight options that are still available via large booking sites like Skyscanner, Agoda, and Expedia.

They looked at flights available on the Dutch, American, Romanian, Portuguese and British versions of the relevant booking sites to see whether the offer and pricing of flights changed depending on the regional version of the site.  They also checked whether changing the IP address by using a VPN had any impact on the price and availability of flights.

In one example, they looked at the Dutch version of Skyscanner to book a flight from Cairo to Düsseldorf on March 28, 2020. The “fastest” flight was 17 hours and 25 minutes at a price of €1779. The American version of Skyscanner offered an 8 hours and 35 minutes flight that cost a mere €492. Many other examples were observed and it wasn’t always the British or American version of the booking website didn’t show the fastest or most competitively priced flights.

Their conclusion was that for anyone booking a flight online, they are advised to review multiple versions of the booking site they are using to ensure they are shown the most suitable flight options which is especially important during a time of crisis like the one the world is currently experiencing. A full article explaining the study’s methodology can be found on VPNOverview’s website

 

Daily travel links for 2020-03-25: Masking COVID-19 symptoms, parking unused airplanes and a new flight record

    • It’s probably not surprising to hear that sick Canadian travellers are masking COVID-19 symptoms to get through airport screening… https://t.co/tXH2HXAFXE

 

Daily travel links for 2020-03-24: Nationalizing airlines, defining fernweh and flocking to remote islands

    • Hoping that my one-time #travel companion Sarah manages to be one of the British tourists stranded in Peru that will make it home… https://t.co/9J3TbzTxYr

 

Daily travel links for 2020-03-23: Destinations hit by the pandemic, travel by car and fave travel books

Photo of Florence, ,Italy by umaturistanasnuvens via Instagram
    • If you’re a Canadian travelling abroad, it’s probably time to head home while you still can.… https://t.co/FNRA1ch19F

 

Airlines and government agencies working to get Canadians home during COVID-19 pandemic

For any Canadians still stranded abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic who wish to come home, Global Affairs Canada is coordinating special flights with airline partners like Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing, Swoop and Air Transat.

Canadians travellers are strongly encouraged to register with Global Affairs Canada in order for the federal government to provide information to them as soon as it becomes available. For emergency help you can contact sos@international.gc.ca.

“The COVID 19 pandemic has created an unprecedented crisis in the global aviation industry that is already having a significant impact on the air transport industry, travellers, shippers and the economy. Right now, our priority is to help Canadians who are abroad to return to Canada,” said The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport this weekend. “The Government of Canada is working with Air Canada (and other airlines) to bring Canadians home from locations that are particularly challenging. I am pleased to see these flights beginning this weekend.”

In the last week, Air Canada has brought more than 200,000 Canadians back home through its regularly scheduled flights and plans to operate more than 300 flights until the end of March from international destinations and more than 850 from the Unite States in order, to enable hundreds of thousands more Canadians to return home.

WestJet  announced that between Monday, March 23 and Wednesday, March 25, the airline will operate 34 repatriation flights to international and trans-border destinations to ensure the safe return of Canadians who remain abroad.

These new flights are in addition to the 10 flights that WestJet has operated  last week after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced it was time for Canadians to come home. WestJet  said that it will continue to add flights as the need is identified.

“In the face of this global crisis, WestJetters are dedicated to bringing Canadians home,” said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO.

WestJet and WestJet Vacations guests with current reservations on or after March 23 will receive, if they have not already, an email notification of their schedule change. All guests are urged to check the status of their flight and their emails for the most up-to-date information pertaining to their revised departure.

Any remaining seats on these flights are now also available for booking to the Canadian public and are capped at the airline’s lowest economy fare for Canadians who require transportation home.

Air Transit announced on March 18 a gradual temporary halting of all its flights until April 30 as a result of the pandemic.

Operations are being stopped gradually in order to enable Transat to repatriate as many of its customers as possible to their home countries.

As of March 18, some 65,000 Canadian Transat customers were at Sun or Europe destinations. By March 22, about 40,000, or more than 60 per cent of them, had been returned to Canada.

The company also announced that it was forced to  temporarily lay off about 70 per cent of its workforce in Canada. The final Air Transat flight prior to the full suspension of its operations is scheduled for April 1.

Budget carrier Swoop also announced that it is altering its international operations to help with the global efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19. As of Monday, March 23, Swoop suspended all international and tran-sborder flights and has begun.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) also announced that it is prepared to help Canadians who have been outside of Canada for an extended period and are heeding the advice of the government of to return home.

At land borders, Canadian citizens and permanent residents not exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19 infection will be provided with important health advice from the Public Health Agency of Canada and must isolate for 14 days. Those exhibiting symptoms will be provided a mask and be referred to a health professional when seeking entry to Canada.

In exceptional circumstances, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, some Canadians may need to cross the border in a United States (U.S.)-plated vehicle in order to get home. The CBSA will facilitate entry for Canadians driving U.S. plated vehicles by permitting the temporary import of U.S vehicles without paying duties and taxes, subject to certain conditions.

Daily travel links for 2020-03-20: Defining essential travel, great travel books and blocking runways

    • A growing list of #museums and attractions around the world are offering virtual tours and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is no exception… https://t.co/U7V4WJbS77

 

Daily travel links for 2020-03-19: Best travel movies, no insurance refunds and stranded Canadians

 

Daily travel links for 2020-03-18: Closing the Canada-America border, coronavirus helping conservation and resist cheap travel deals

    • The coronavirus crisis is making #travel cheaper. Here’s why you should resist the urge to buy even if you can cross a border… https://t.co/NNFdAffSLe

 

Daily travel links for 2020-03-17: Influencer woes, empty jets and hotels as hospitals