Covid Collections

Covid Collections

An entire industry has now arisen to recover funds for travelers who have lost deposits because of the pandemic. Like timeshares, ambulance chasers, J.G. Wentworth and scores of others, the more well-off who are pissed as hell that some of their vacation money might be forfeited, are now themselves preyed on by dubious advocates.

To some of us it’s a delight to see capitalism eating itself to death.

Tens of billions of dollars is in abeyance or lost by vacation travelers because of the pandemic.

“The wound inflicted by the pandemic on the travel industry is deep, and it hasn’t stopped bleeding yet,” according to the Washington Post.

The best and most reliable statistician for the travel industry, the United Nations Conference on Trade & Development (unctad.org) last week estimated that if travel restrictions continue until March, 2021, the tourist industry will lose $3.3 trillion.

This represents 1.5% of the world economy prior to the virus.

One of the biggest components of this loss is the airline industry. Bloomberg estimates that when the government bailout of $50 million ends in September, America’s three major carriers (Delta, American & United) will release 100,000 more workers reducing their employee numbers to a third of what it was before the virus.

Worse, many world airlines will simply not survive without further bailouts. Right now many of the less than biggest airlines including most of the European carriers are surviving on the tickets they sold to flights they cancelled but have not yet refunded.

This estimated $25-50 billion dollars is spread across the world, effecting vacation travelers as much in Japan and Belgium as the United States. Almost all effected travelers have been promised refunds but warned that it may take months to receive them.

That has infuriated travelers.

None of these angry people are poor.

Most of these angry people still have jobs or retirement accounts.

Few of these angry people are without health insurance.

There’s no way of telling but I’d bet you dollars for donuts few of these angry people will get sick. They will be an infinitesimal fraction of the world’s millions of deaths from Covid-19.

I count myself among them. We are the privileged battling the privileged. Marx is laughing in his grave.

“Our highly skilled team will confront the airline and demand you get your money,” screams the world’s largest travelers-who-haven’t-received-their-refunds-yet sudden company, FlightRight.

How much is FlightRight charging? The same as timeshare recoverers, ambulance chasers and J.G. Wentworth. Nothing if you don’t get what you want. Otherwise, 20-30%.

RyanAir CEO, Michael O’Leary, told BBC’s Travel Show this week that that was nuts.

O’Leary conceded many of his customers haven’t received refunds but argued that they sure weren’t going to come through intermediaries.

The angry Irishman implied the obvious: if the airline survives, customers will get their refunds. If they don’t, they won’t.

Which led the show to then interview the CEO of IATA, the world’s airline trade association. The CEO, Alexandre de Juniac, told the BBC airlines had so far lost $84.5 billion worldwide and projecting that to March could exceed $150 billion.

If governments don’t bail them out, the ones who fail sink with passenger refunds not yet paid. He implored listeners to the BBC to “share the misery” and remain patient.

So who’s in line for the next $150 billion? RyanAir and United? Or public schools? Or state governments? Or food banks? Or the underinsured? Or single Moms? Or dis……

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise