View From the Wing

Unhappy News

Unhappy News 1280 855 Greg Ellifritz

The US government announced yesterday that all air travelers arriving in the USA after January 26, must have evidence of a negative Covid-19 test within three days of their travel.  It will be a horrible blow to the travel economy and will limit a lot of Americans’ travel plans.

 

U.S. Will Require All International Arriving Passengers To Have A Covid-19 Test

 

 

This is a really poor public policy. The USA has the worst rate of infection of any country on the planet. Who are we “protecting” at home when we bar someone from entry when he is coming from a nation that has a lower infection rate than the USA?
Countries in the developing world do not have the same capacity for testing that the US has. Travelers simply may not even be able to get tests.
I’m in Mexico right now. Currently, without a testing requirement, the labs down here are scheduling PCR tests 7-10 days out. Mexico doesn’t have the infrastructure in place to do them any faster. As soon as the USA implements this requirement on the 26th, there will be massive new demands for testing and no ability to satisfy those demands.
People estimate down here that it may take two to three weeks to get tested after the new requirement is in place.
And keep in mind that I am in a very developed part of Mexico looking at a long wait for a test. How are you going to get tested in rural Uganda or the Peruvian jungle?  I had plans to travel to both of those locations in 2021.  This ruling will either prohibit me from traveling there or force me to stay an extra three days in a big city in one of those countries waiting for my test results to come in.
The requirement will effectively stop any “long weekend” international travel.  It will also make larger families stop traveling internationally.  With the tests costing $100-$150 each way, it gets really expensive to take your spouse and three kids on an international getaway.
What I also find curious is that you will be able to fly with a negative test or proof that you’ve already recovered from a past case of Covid-19.  Having taken both doses of the vaccine isn’t good enough.  What does that say about the government’s true opinion of the efficacy of the vaccination?
The only thing this restriction will do is to further destroy the travel industry and create a huge market for forged testing results.
It’s a good thing I got a six-month travel visa here in Mexico.   I may be stuck for awhile.  That might not be a bad thing.  Overall, people in Mexico seem to be far more sensible about effective precautions than the politicians in the USA.

Faked Covid-19 Tests

Faked Covid-19 Tests 670 300 Greg Ellifritz

Check out the two articles linked below.  There seems to be a cottage industry producing paperwork for fake negative Covid-19 tests.

Passengers Are Faking Negative Covid Tests In Order To Travel

 

95% Of Passengers On One Flight Faked Their Negative Covid-19 Tests

 

I predict that in the future making faked Covid-19 test results and vaccinations will be a profitable enterprise.

 

Besides the fraud, there are lots of other reasons why requiring testing before boarding a flight would be a really bad idea.

Begpacking?

Begpacking? 470 301 Greg Ellifritz

Have you heard of the latest “begpacking” trend?  It’s when a Western tourist runs out of money in a foreign country and sets up as a beggar asking locals for money.  What a strange phenomenon!

 

I can’t say that I’ve seen this more than a couple times in my travels.

 

For more information, take a look at this article that describes the practice in Thailand.

 

Begpacking is shameless behaviour that is outlawed in Thailand and poisons goodwill between cultures

 

Ignorant, ‘cool’ trend continues

Despite this, this ignorance is now a ‘cool’ trend among hip young millennials some of whom continue to come to Thailand. The activities are insulting to the occupations of Thai men and women as well as their right to a livelihood in their own country, something many of these young people have no understanding of apparently. It also, inherently, deeply disrespectful to the laws of the kingdom.”

 

I haven’t been to Thailand since 2013.  With their crazy Covid-19 restrictions, it doesn’t look like I’ll be going back anytime soon.  I’ll give you a “begpacking” update the next time I make it to Asia.

 

 

Police Extortion in Bali

Police Extortion in Bali 629 357 Greg Ellifritz

Last week I wrote about a Nigerian police extortion effort targeting gay folks.  In this week’s installment of police corruption news, here is a video of a couple traffic officers extorting a bribe from a Japanese tourist in Bali.

 

Police Caught On Video Extorting Tourist In Bali

 

The tourist’s motorcycle headlight didn’t work (during a daytime ride).  The fine for the offense is the US equivalent of $7.  The tourist paid a $60 bribe to get out of the ticket.

 

 

If you want information about how to handle interactions like this, I have an entire chapter on the topic in my book Choose Adventure.

 

 

Pandemic Flight Precautions

Pandemic Flight Precautions 283 178 Greg Ellifritz

I just flew out to Phoenix, Arizona to take a training class.  It was my first flight since early February.  Flying in a mask was strange.  Both legs of my flight were completely full.  The planes and airports seemed exceptionally clean.  I guess it remains to be seen if all of these precautions worked, but I am not ill yet.

 

The rules are constantly changing.  We really don’t know what works best.  Most of us are guessing and trying to establish best practices for keeping healthy.

 

I’ve found the articles below to be helpful.  Read them and get some ideas as to what tactics other travelers are employing.  Take Bruce Lee’s advice.  “Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own.”

 

Flying Isn’t Just a Big Coronavirus Risk

 

If You Have To Fly in a Pandemic, Here’s Where to Sit on the Plane

 

How Rules Have Changed at TSA Checkpoints

 

CORONAVIRUS AND TRAVEL: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW (PLUS RESOURCES)

 

I flew on the 4 biggest US airlines during the pandemic to see which is handling it best

 

TSA Changes

TSA Changes 670 300 Greg Ellifritz

Read

TSA Will Start Taking Your Photo At Security Checkpoints

 

More security theater from our TSA.  Be prepared to be photographed the next time you go through airport security.