There are so many changes to flight schedules that keeping up with them is a full-time job. Most of the stories we hear are about how more and more flights are being added to the schedules to compensate for the increased number of passengers willing to get back on airplanes.
However, it’s possible for an airline to get out in front of the pandemic and find the need to backtrack on the re-expansion plans it announced. Or, in the case of JetBlue, just cancel a bunch of flights and set a new opening date.
Amid the airline quasi-shutdown, many companies were offering advance fares at rock-bottom prices. The cash crunch caused by so many passengers asking for refunds made them do almost anything to get some income on the books.
JetBlue did this by offering some ridiculously inexpensive vacation packages. Besides the unbelievable price, these packages also had a coronavirus-era cancellation policy where you could call off the trip until the last minute for a full refund.
There was no chance that Sharon and I would book one of these trips because we’re still on team #stayhealthy #staysafe, but when my dad told me that he booked a trip to The Bahamas, I wasn’t overly upset.
The Bahamas closed its borders on March 26th when there were but four confirmed cases of coronavirus in Nassau. For all of the Bahamian islands to date, here are its numbers
There’s no surprise that they’re in no hurry to open up and welcome a bunch of infected tourists. That’s why the government has put a plan in place in which they’re currently in Phase 1. Since June 15th, boaters, yachters and private aviation have been allowed onto the islands with restrictions.
This was to be followed by Phase 2, when commercial travel would resume to the islands, which included a COVID-19 RT-PCR Test with a Negative Result taken within 10 days of your travel date.
With these restrictions in place, it seemed to be a safe place to travel. Dad’s trip to Atlantis included a rental car and a suite upgrade. Even if everything at the hotel wouldn’t be open, it would, by no means, be full. Spending a few days there sitting on a beach is more of a socially distanced trip than you can find in Florida right now.
They were conflicted about the trip. With cases in Florida spiking at the moment, was this the best time to go on a vacation? Turns out they didn’t have to answer that question. A JetBlue rep called them today and said that their trip had been canceled since JetBlue is not going to be flying from Orlando to Nassau during their scheduled dates.
This hadn’t been announced anywhere, so I did some checking with Internet Wayback Machine and here was JetBlue’s schedule from Orlando to the Caribbean in May:
Here’s what the Orlando Airport website shows today:
JetBlue’s service to Nassau isn’t going to be starting until August 1st. I did some looking into JetBlue’s other routes to Nassau and flights from Boston have also been put off until August. Flights from NYC-JFK are going to resume on July 1st but only for 5x weekly service until August. Only Fort Lauderdale will resume daily service to Nassau on July 1st.
My dad’s wife has a friend who lives in the Bahamas who they were going to try and visit during the trip. She was warning them that the beaches are not open, Atlantis is not open and they are struggling to get people to staff it when it is set to welcome guests. Going to a location as a tourist right after it comes off lockdown might not be the best idea. The experience might not be what you expect.
While my dad was a little upset their trip was canceled, his wife was thrilled. She didn’t want to go on this trip anyway. Fortunately, JetBlue is going to refund all of the money paid for the trip (airfare, hotel and rental car expenses included). They are now looking for some closer to home locations they might be able to visit instead. I told my dad that is exactly the same thing we’re doing at the moment. Like father, like son.
#stayhealthy #staysafe #washyourhands
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary