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Travel during the continuing PANDEMIC


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7 hours ago, UpperDeck said:

No one said it was going to be easy!

Yeah but good grief.   30% false positives!?  What a ridiculous service standard - slightly better than flipping a coin.

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8 hours ago, UpperDeck said:

I wrote a letter of complaint to SwiftHealth which is selling testing services to the public knowing they generate almost 30% in "false positives" without any recourse ( or refund!). 

Are they really that inaccurate???  I bought a few kits from them in preparation for winter vacation, but haven't used them yet.

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This link may not work....sorry...https://health-desk.org/articles 

The suggestion is that most antigen tests are effective identifying covid in symptomatic patients.

I'm finding a surprising conflict in the analysis of percentage false positive results and suspect that arises because many studies focus on symptomatic patients.

Anyway....my belief that I should have received a re-test is supported in this article I've referenced.

As an aside....my PCR to travel back to Canada was free at Walgreens. My SwiftHealth test at YYZ....the "false positive" was $67. A further antigen test at Shoppers was $40. The drive-thru antigen tests in Florida are also free.

If testing is so fundamental, why is Canada (and Ontario) again "behind the curve"? The best they can collectively do is caution; "Don"t engage in non-essential international travel".

And did anyone note the PM's comment that the number of cases attributable to cross-border travel was "infinitestimal"!!



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29 minutes ago, UpperDeck said:

Thanks!  I had been under the impression that rapid tests gave false negatives far more often than false positives, but oh well.

As for the travel advisory from the Canadian government, I think it's more of a caution that other countries may suddenly slam borders shut or order that flights be suspended than anything else.  Given that Omicron seems spreads so easily despite it usually causing just minor symptoms (or none at all) there's also a much higher risk of testing positive while abroad and thus being unable to travel home when scheduled.  Perhaps higher still if one uses SwiftHealth. :)  

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On 12/27/2021 at 6:50 AM, Jaydee said:

Delta flight from Tampa to Atlanta got crazy


On Thursday, Cornwall ('Karen') was returning from the restroom when she saw a flight attendant conducting beverage service and blocking the aisle, according to the complaint. After Cornwall asked the flight attendant to help her find her seat, the flight attendant requested that she find an available seat until the conclusion of the beverage service, the complaint says.

“What am I? Rosa Parks?” said Cornwall, who is White, according to the complaint.

Upon hearing the comment, the complaint says, the male passenger sitting in seat 37C told Cornwall “it was an inappropriate comment and that she ‘isn’t Black … this isn’t Alabama and this isn’t a bus.’ ” He then called her a catchall term popularized in recent years to describe an entitled, demanding White woman who polices other people’s behavior.

“Sit down, Karen,” he said to Cornwall, according to the complaint.

Video posted to Twitter from @ATLUncensored appears to match the description of the incident involving Cornwall. Authorities declined to confirm that Cornwall is the woman seen in the video, which has been viewed 8.7 million times as of Tuesday.

After the man calls the woman a “Karen,” the female passenger yells at the man to put on his mask as he is eating and drinking, the video shows. The woman, who has her mask pulled below her chin, calls him a sexual slur, which is then repeated by the man toward her.

When a flight attendant asks the woman to mask up, she ignores the order and asks the flight attendant to tell the male passenger to “mask up.” The man, who still has his mask off, calls the woman another derogatory term, according to video — and that is when she slaps his face.

“Now you’re going to jail! That’s assault,” the man exclaims, according to video. “You’re going to jail as soon as we get to Atlanta.”

The woman then appears to spit in the man’s face.

The two passengers were separated only by the beverage cart, but they continued to lob expletives at each other as other passengers stood up during the chaotic situation.

“I will put my mask on when you put your mask on!” the woman says, according to video.

Toward the end of the video, one passenger is heard saying that the woman “went crazy on the airplane.”

Federal Magistrate Judge Christopher Bly on Monday set Cornwall’s bond at $20,000 but allowed her to fly home to Southern California if she followed the judge’s requirements, CNN reported. However, Cornwall won’t be flying home on Delta. The airline placed the woman on its no-fly list.

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Delta turned flight around mid-air, saying China's new Covid cleaning rules are unworkable

CNN Digital Expansion 2016 Jordan Valinsky

By Jordan Valinsky, CNN Business


Updated 9:28 AM ET, Tue December 28, 2021

New York (CNN Business)A Delta Air Lines flight originating in Seattle and heading to Shanghai last week turned around midair because of a change in cleaning rules at the China airport, the airline said.

If it had landed in Shanghai, Delta said the new rules would have caused substantial delays.
"The new cleaning procedures require significantly extended ground time and are not operationally viable for Delta," a spokesperson said of the December 21 flight. Details of the new cleaning rules remain unclear.
Some passengers on the flight were left with expired Covid-19 test results and outdated US visas, the New York Times reported, citing Chinese media reports.
The Chinese Embassy in the US released a statement saying that press reports that the plane had to turn around because of a ban on incoming flights were "inconsistent with the facts."
"The Chinese Embassy and Consulate in the United States is communicating with relevant airlines to actively understand specific technical issues and discuss solutions to avoid similar incidents from happening again," the statement said.
Air travel has become a major headache over the past week, with thousands of flights across the country delayed or canceled as the Omicron variant causes staffing shortages and other issues. Globally, more than 2,300 flights were canceled Tuesday, according to FlightAware.
China is rigidly enforcing its zero-Covid strategy ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics in February.
That has forced residents of Xi'an, an ancient city in northwestern Shaanxi province, to live in lockdown. This month, the city of 13 million has reported 810 local symptomatic cases -- making it one of the worst outbreaks in China since the initial wave of coronavirus infections in Wuhan nearly two years ago.
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JetBlue is cutting roughly 1,280 flights through mid-January and letting customers change and cancel their tickets for free

tpallini@businessinsider.com (Thomas Pallini)  2 hrs ago
image.png.cc0d597f23034f309c11ae8bad979444.png%7B© Provided by Business Insider A JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo. David Slotnick/Business Insider
  • JetBlue Airways will cut around 1,280 flights through mid-January in anticipation of the Omicron coronavirus variant's impact.
  • Sick calls from workers due to Omicron has been impacting staffing levels at the airline.
  • JetBlue customers with any type of ticket can change or cancel their travel through January.

JetBlue Airways is feeling the effects of rising Omicron coronavirus variant cases and preemptively reducing its flight schedule through mid-January in anticipation of an impact on its operation.


A total of 1,280 flights are affected by the schedule cuts in effect, JetBlue confirmed to Insider, between December 30 and January 13, 2022. 

"Like many businesses and organizations, we have seen a surge in the number of sick calls from Omicron," a JetBlue spokesperson told Insider. "We entered the holiday season with the highest staffing levels we've had since the pandemic began and are using all resources available to cover our staffing needs."

The Omicron schedule cuts will see JetBlue operate fewer flights in January than it did in December, despite plans to outfly the final month of the year. JetBlue had planned to fly 6,204 flights offering nearly one million seats in January, according to Cirium data, compared to 5,538 flights and 832,942 seats scheduled for December.

"We are trying to cancel flights that have the least amount of Customer disruption, especially in cases where we can combine flights to the same destination on the same day," Joanna Geraghty, JetBlue's president and chief operating officer, told employees in a memo viewed by Insider. "I know this is not how we wanted the holidays to go, but it is clear we are not through this pandemic."

Airlines had already been bracing for a depressed post-holiday demand environment that Omicron threatens to sour even more, as indicated by airlines lowering fares to stimulate bookings

The period immediately following the New Year's travel rush through Presidents' Day weekend typically sees fewer leisure travelers that are likely recovering from holiday travel or holiday spending. Business travel during that time period typically helps fill the gap but the impacts of Omicron on the corporate travel segment remain to be seen.

Business travel bookings for January 2022 are up 78% compared to the same time in 2020, according to TripActions data from December 27, a time when the COVID-19 vaccine rollout was just getting underway. The percentage of cancellations is also lower now than the same time in 2020, per the data, at 24% compared to 26% in 2020. 

New guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may alleviate some staffing issues for airlines, some of which had asked for shorter quarantine times for workers. Individuals that test positive for COVID-19 should, the CDC says, isolate for at least five days and then can leave isolation while wearing a mask when around others for five days afterward.

JetBlue has already updated its passenger health declaration requirements to reflect the new federal guidance, requiring travelers to confirm that they "will not travel" if they "have had symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19 up to five days prior to departure," according to JetBlue's website

As of Thursday morning, JetBlue has canceled 175 flights representing 17% of its Thursday schedule, according to FlightAware data, ranking second in the US for cancelations behind United. A total of 97 flights, or 9% of its schedule, have been delayed so far. 

JetBlue customers with existing reservations and that book tickets through January 31, 2022, regardless of their fare class, will be able to change or cancel their flights at no charge under a new fee waiver posted on Tuesday. Change and cancel fees were eliminated in February for most fares with the exception of basic economy "blue basic" fares. 

Customers can push their travel through the end of JetBlue's schedule but are typically required to pay the difference in fares for the new flights. 

Read the original article on Business Insider
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The omicron variant has sent case levels soaring across the U.S., including Florida, the hub of the nation's cruise industry. The state set another record this week for new daily cases, with more than 58,000 recorded Wednesday.

Overall, 13,592,919 people or 63.29% of Florida's population have been fully vaccinated. Doses delivered and administered in Florida as of December 29, 2021.

U.S. cruise lines have not announced any plans to halt trips, though vessels have been denied entry at some foreign ports.

U.S. CDC warns against cruises, regardless of vaccination status | CTV News

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New Year’s Eve air travel is off to a bumpy start

More than 1,300 flights were canceled in the United States on Friday and 1,001 were scrubbed for Saturday.

Passengers are seen at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Air travel in the United States is about twice the level of last year and carriers are struggling to keep up [File: Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters]
By Tony RobinsonBloomberg
Published On 31 Dec 202131 Dec 2021

New Year’s Eve air travel got off to a bumpy start Friday morning, with more than 1,300 flights canceled in the U.S. and 1,000 scrubbed for Saturday.

JetBlue Airways Corp. had scratched 145 flights, or 14% of its schedule, by 12:17 p.m. in New York, according to FlightAware.com, while Allegiant Travel Co. canceled 91 flights, or 19%. United Airlines Holdings Inc. had scrubbed the most flights among U.S. carriers, 210, representing 11% of its service.


Total cancellations came to 1,359 Friday, and 1,001 were already off the boards for Saturday. The pace of cancellations slowed substantially after midmorning, as occurred on Thursday as well.

Carriers have been struggling with staffing shortages as the coronavirus omicron variant caused infections to jump. The New York City area, where the variant made its initial incursion into the U.S., has borne the brunt of cancellations over the last two days.


“You have a high level of vaccination among airline employees and yet, because of omicron, I think the absenteeism is higher than you would have expected,” Raymond James analyst Savanthi Syth said on Bloomberg Television. Airlines have been caught by surprise “at a time where you also have been having some winter weather issues across the U.S.”

Air travel in the U.S. is about twice the level of last year, before vaccinations made flying safer. The Transportation Security Administration screened 2.05 million passengers on Thursday.

The National Weather Service warned that severe conditions will usher in the New Year, with moderate-to-heavy snowfall expected in the Western mountains. Totals could exceed 3 feet in the highest elevations of Utah and Colorado. Hazardous travel conditions are forecast for New Year’s Day from the Central Plains to the Great Lakes.

Not all carriers were hit hard Friday. Delta Air Lines Inc. cut 5% of its flights by midday, and American Airlines Group Inc., 1%, according to FlightAware.

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Business Insider

United and Spirit Airlines announce temporary pay bumps for pilots and flight attendants in effort to alleviate labor shortages

insider@insider.com (Bethany Biron)  58 mins ago
  • United and Spirit have both announced pay incentives in an effort to alleviate labor shortages. 
  • United pilots are eligible for triple pay for extra unstaffed flights they pick up through January 29. 
  • Spirit flight attendants will receive double pay for shifts worked through January 4. 

After a chaotic holiday travel week plagued by mass cancellations and delays, some airlines are turning to temporary salary bumps in an effort to incentivize workers and alleviate labor shortages. 


United Airlines and Spirit Airlines both announced pay increases for select staffers on Friday, which include tripling pay for United pilots who take extra flights through January 29 and doubling pay for Spirit flight attendants for shifts through January 4.

The policies come into effect as the airline industry struggles to fill staffing holes caused by the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant, which has prompted more than 20,000 flight cancellations since Christmas Eve, according to the flight-tracking service FlightAware.

The incentives also follow a significant uptick of verbal and physical assaults made against airline staffers in recent months. The Federal Aviation Association reported a total of 5,779 incidents involving unruly passengers, a majority of which involved disagreements over mask requirements, according to available data through December 21, 2021. 

Bryan Quigley, United's senior vice president for flight operations, notified pilots of the triple pay opportunity in a memo circulated on Friday. In the letter, which was obtained by Insider, Quigley said the incentive was developed in tandem with the Air Line Pilots Association, and will apply to workers who take on unstaffed trips through January 29.

"Thank you all for your hard work and professionalism during this holiday season," Quigley wrote in the memo. "We continue to do everything we can to take care of our customers during this challenging time and today I'm happy to share a significant update: we worked with the ALPA to provide additional compensation for pilots."

Spirit Airlines employees also learned of salary incentives on Friday through their union, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, which announced all flight attendants would be eligible for double pay through January 4. 

"All flight attendants, regardless of how you have obtained your pairing, will be receiving 200% pay for any pairing that touches Dec. 28 through Jan. 4," the AFA-CWA said in a statement.

As of Saturday afternoon, there were more than 2,400 flight cancellations and nearly 2,000 delays, according to FlightAware. Many airlines have already proactively canceled flights throughout the month in anticipation of staffing shortages, including JetBlue, which also announced it will allow customers to change or cancel flights for free through mid-January. 


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Russian, Czech World Junior hockey teams kicked off Calgary flight

Author of the article:
Michael Rodriguez
Publishing date:
Jan 01, 2022  •  1 hour ago  •  1 minute read  •   9 Comments

A New Year’s Eve flight out of Calgary headed for Frankfurt, Germany was held up for several hours last night due to a disturbance that saw the Russian and Czech World Junior hockey teams booted from the plane.

The Dec. 31 Air Canada flight took off close to 9 p.m., more than three hours after it was supposed to leave. The Calgary Police Service confirmed officers responded alongside airport security due to an incident caused by team and staff members of the Russian team.

“The team of the Czech Republic and Russia was removed from the flight for violating the mask regime. Very strict rules,” Russian coach Sergei Zubov said in an interview with Russian newspaper Izvestia.

Several travellers not associated with the team took to social media to provide an account of the events.

“Two hours late so far on Calgary to Frankfurt flight. The Russian Juniors team was in back, trying to smoke cigarettes, not wearing masks, not listening to attendants,” wrote a Twitter user by the name of Dr. Kathleen Scherf.

“Cops swarmed the plane. We all had to get off while they and their luggage were removed.”

The Finnish team, on the same flight, was reportedly allowed to leave once the flight reboarded.

International Ice Hockey Federation cancelled the remainder of the 2022 World Junior Championship on Dec. 29 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasingly prevalent Omicron variant. The IIHF said it was cancelling the tournament being held in Edmonton and Red Deer to ensure the health and safety of participants, and to protect the integrity of the championships.

Postmedia reached out to the Canada Border Services Agency and Air Canada for comment but did not immediately hear back.

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Pacific Coastal Airlines temporarily suspends flights due to Omicron cases among staff

By Elizabeth McSheffrey  Global News

Pacific Coastal Airlines has temporarily suspended flights due to the “rapid transmission” of the Omicron variant among staff at its operational control centre.70c8fc80

Flights on New Year’s Day will proceed as scheduled, but all network operations are suspended on Jan. 2 and 3, the regional airline confirmed Friday.

It “exhausted all options and resources” before taking the decision, it said in a statement on its website.

“It breaks my heart to be impacting the travel plans of so many customers, yet we are left with no viable alternative at this time,” said Pacific Coastal Airlines president Quentin Smith.

“We are taking this quick and necessary measure to protect the integrity of our long term schedule and safeguard our operation.”

Scheduled flights will resume on Jan. 4, the company said, and impacted customers will be offered an opportunity to reschedule or get a full refund.

Pacific Coastal Airlines’ news release did not specify how many of its operational control centre staff had tested positive for the COVID-19 variant, which has prompted new public health restrictions and flight cancellations across the country.

The privately-owned airline operates out of the south terminal of the Vancouver International Airport in Richmond and services 17 local airports in B.C. It also operates WestJet Link, which connects smaller communities in B.C. and Alberta.

On Dec. 30, WestJet Airlines cancelled 15 per cent of its flights scheduled for January due to staffing shortages related to Omicron.

The Calgary-based airline says it has seen a 35 per cent increase in active cases among staff in recent days, with 181 WestJet employees currently affected by the virus.

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  1. World

COVID outbreak ends cruise for thousands on German ship in Lisbon

Author of the article:

Publishing date:
Jan 02, 2022  •  19 hours ago  •  1 minute read  •   Join the conversation

The cruise ship AIDAnova is pictured in a Wikipedia photo. The cruise ship AIDAnova is pictured in a Wikipedia photo. PHOTO BY HENSTI /Wikipedia

Article content

LISBON — The German operator of a cruise ship that has been stuck in Lisbon’s port due to an outbreak of the coronavirus among its crew pulled the plug on the voyage on Sunday after some passengers tested positive, port authorities said.

The AIDAnova, with 2,844 passengers and 1,353 crew onboard docked in Lisbon on Dec. 29 while en route to the island of Madeira for New Year’s Eve celebrations, but was unable to continue the journey after 52 cases of COVID-19 were detected among the fully-vaccinated crew.

It had been allowed to leave port and head to the Spanish island of Lanzarote on Sunday, but now another 12 people have tested positive, including four passengers, captain of the port Diogo Vieira Branco told TSF radio.


Excellence-class cruise ship


AIDAnova is a cruise ship built by Meyer Werft GmbH in Papenburg, Germany under contract from Carnival Corporation for AIDA Cruises. The first of the new Excellence-class ships, she was launched on 21 August 2018 and delivered on 12 December 2018. She has one sister ship scheduled for delivery in 2021. Wikipedia
Length: 337 m
Construction started: September 6, 2017
Launched: August 21, 2018
Decks: 16
Crew: 1,646
Capacity: : 5,252 (double occupancy); 6,654 (max passengers);
Speed: 17 knots (31 km/h; 20 mph)
AIDAnova cruise ship unveiled: Carnival's largest ship built at a cost of $1.1 billion. AIDAnova during its christening ceremony. The $1.1 billion ship is the fifth largest in the world. DJ David Guetta performed in front of 25,000 spectators for the launch of AIDAnova
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On 12/25/2021 at 12:23 PM, mo32a said:

In Arizona the tests are free, I go for one every couple of weeks, no lineups, no hassle, drive through.

So my test results from last Wednesday finally came back Saturday evening - positive.

No symptoms to speak of, a very mild cold, hanging around the house for a few days, l go for another test tomorrow.

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I got my positive on the 1st. Hit hard, breathing is good, but most other symptoms really suck. No progress since day one, talking to a doctor this afternoon. Had just returned from a 4 day pairing that included two nights in PVR, I suspect the breakfast buffet, but could have been YVR too. Masked and following the guidelines the whole time.

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