web Musings of The Global Traveller

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Swine flu travel update #2

I previously blogged on the impacts of swine flu on travel, what to do about the potential impacts and how savvy travellers can benefit.

This is an update on how the potential impacts are developing. A reminder that for medical advice or up to the minute information on the spread of swine flu, check out the World Health Organization (WHO) website. Note they have now taken to calling it H1N1 Influenza A instead of swine flu.

Current swine flu status

Fears of an imminent pandemic are receding as the Northern Hemisphere flu season is coming to an end. WHO continues to treat H1N1 Influenza A seriously, noting that the 1918 "Spanish flu had a lull during Northern Hemisphere summer before the full outbreak.

Current impacts on travel

To date a few thousand airline passengers have been subject to quarantine for a few days in various countries. With the exception of Hong Kong only people exhibiting flu symptoms with travel from an affected area are being compulsorily quarantined by authorities. Hong Kong has also quarantined all guests of a hotel where someone who has been confirmed as having swine flu was staying. This seems to be a reaction to SARS when the outbreak in Canada in particular was traced back to people staying in the same Hong Kong hotel as another infected person.

Flights to Mexico have been reduced. Most airlines flying to Mexico (and some flying to USA, Canada and New Zealand) have been allowing some changes to dates of travel or waiving cancellation fees. Check with your airline on the terms if you wish to take advantage of this. Similarly some Mexican hotels are allowing rebooking or cancellation waivers.

There have not yet been many sales for Mexico air fares and accommodation.


Now that the perceived risk of travel to Mexico has fallen, I expect we'll see some good sales soon. Airlines and hotels will want to recoup losses from the past several weeks, and replace their reduced forward bookings.

No comments: