A friend of mine and fellow-Yugo owner (also a former actual movie Herbie owner, and now an owner of one of the Porsche racecars from Ford vs. Ferrari), Tory, works for a major airline, and was taking one last trip before going on leave. Tory sent me some pictures and a little video of what the world of air travel looks like right now, and it’s downright surreal.
Tory’s flight looked like this:
Tory told me that there were four passengers on his flight—him, another worker commuting, and two paying passengers. This likely wasn’t a big moneymaker for the airline.
This is what Chicago’s Midway airport looked like at 7 p.m.:
…and this is the Baltimore airport, from around noon today:
I’m pretty certain I’ve never seen any airport this empty, ever.
Those are some lonely-looking loafers.
If you’re wondering why airlines are still flying at all, it’s because they’re required to keep a certain amount of flights available if they’re to get any Federal Coronavirus relief money, as these flights are considered essential services for moving people and cargo.
The amount of flights are being reduced, since, as you can see, there’s an, um, slight drop in demand. Destinations with at least one daily flight per week need to maintain that level, while less frequently flown-to destinations can be reduced.
The thinking is that even though it’s sort of insane to fly so many nearly-empty planes, the amount of flights can be reduced significantly while an airline maintains its workforce.
It’s all strange, of course, and seeing airports like this feels downright apocalyptic, but I am glad airline workers aren’t getting laid off en masse.
Damn, these are weird-arse times.