In Plane Sight

Posted by: on May 2, 2020 | No Comments

In Plane Sight

If all had gone according to plan, Linda and I would have driven to Greensboro, NC for a Memorial Day Weekend wedding at a golf resort (with a stop in Virginia along the way). The following weekend I would have hopped a flight to Portland, Oregon, for the boys golf trip to Bandon Dunes. Lastly, at the end of June, the whole family would have gathered in DC for my nieces wedding. All those plans, all those hotels rooms and all those plane reservations are now cancelled.

Now our government (and hence the taxpayers) are spending billions and billions of dollars bailing airlines, hotels, cruise lines and many more hospitality related industries. I’m not saying we shouldn’t but I question whether it will be worth it in the long run. Whether we should have just given more money to small businesses and more money to Joe and Jane average consumer who would have put that money to good use now.

First of all, we should not be bailing out the cruise lines and, for the most part, we haven’t. Those things have been a breeding grounds for diseases for years, most of them are not US corporations, and their environmental records suck. If Carnival, Royal Caribbean and their brethren go out of business, the planet would be better off. Ironic that Linda and I were actually planning our first cruise ever for the summer of 2021, heading to Alaska. Luckily we were not taking one of the bigger commercial cruise lines, so I’m still hopeful that the Alaska cruise is in my future….just not too soon.

As for airlines and hotels, let me ask you question. Are you really itching to get back on plane, where you are packed into a way too small seat with way too little space between you and the person next to you, in front of you, behind you? Yes, they are trying to figure how to socially distance on a plane but I still have my very serious doubts.

Now you get to your destination to deal with the next issue…a hotel room. Who knows who else has been in that room, in that bed, who has been cleaning the room, cleaning the bedding, and all those public spaces. And I forgot to mention getting to your hotel. A rental car, a cab or an uber? Who has been in those and when were they cleaned?

Listen, we have a daughter in Los Angeles. We fly, we rent a car, we stay in nice hotel, we eat out 3 meals a day, we are out in public. All things I plan on doing again as soon as possible. I’m just not sure what possible means, what that entails, and when possible will exist.

After 9/11, we were on a plane to Florida a month later to visit my parents in Florida. Going through security was a whole different experience. Imagine what things will be like now.

So going back to my original point, will bailing out all these airlines and all these hotel corporations be worth it in the long run? Will we be going on vacations, going on business trips, flying, renting cars, staying in hotels, etc., etc., anytime in the near future and at anywhere near the same level we have been doing for the past several years. And will Joe and Jane consumer have any discretionary income to spend on extravagant things like vacations, based on what is sure to be a long economic recovery, if we even get back to things the way they were just a few weeks ago? I hope so but I seriously doubt it. All we will have done is thrown a ton of money at industries and companies that will never pay us back, that have no guarantee of ever recovering, and added to our rapidly increasing national debt.