With a high percentage of American adults fully vaccinated and coronavirus restrictions easing up nationwide, the travel industry is kicking into high gear for the summer. Planes are overbooked, hotels are hiking their prices and the service industry is struggling to rehire employees who are demanding higher wages.
"This summer is just nuts," says Peter Greenberg, travel editor for CBS News and host of the podcast "Eye on Travel." Greenberg spoke to CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett for this week's episode of "The Takeout" podcast.
Highlights from this week's episode:
- Peter Greenberg on overcrowding in tourist destinations: "It's a perfect storm of a planning problem, a labor shortage and the pent-up demand."
- Traveling while vaccinated: "You have a much better chance, even with the new variants, if you are vaccinated."
- Alcohol-related incidents on flights: "What could happen at 35,000 feet, where you have altitude and alcohol and somebody who doesn't want to do something, what could go wrong?"
Greenberg said some places that are dependent on tourism "are begging people now not to come" — in part because of lack of planning ahead of the increased demand.
"It's a perfect storm of a planning problem, a labor shortage and the pent-up demand," Greenberg said.
He noted that "we're no longer price-sensitive," meaning that people are willing to travel despite the increased price of travel, hotels and even gas.
Greenberg also talked about traveling while vaccinated. Now that more Americans are vaccinated, they feel more confident in traveling, even to locales in other countries with lower rates of vaccination.
"You have a much better chance, obviously, even with the new variants, if you are vaccinated," he said, referring to the Delta variant of the coronavirus. "It's the ones who have not been vaccinated who are the most susceptible, especially to this new variant."
Greenberg discussed mask mandates, which he said was a "daily topic of conversation for any mode of transportation these days." He noted that many of the recent incidents involving unruly passengers on airplanes, including people who refuse to wear masks, were alcohol-related.
"What could happen at 35,000 feet, where you have altitude and alcohol and somebody who doesn't want to do something, what could go wrong?" Greenberg said, explaining that those concerns are why some airlines, such as American Airlines, have refused to bring back alcohol service until the fall. He also said that banning people from bringing their own alcohol on airplanes was now a safety issue — not just airlines trying to retain revenue from on-flight liquor sales.
"We don't have therapists at jetways and we don't have breathalyzers at jetways," Greenberg said about concerns about containing passengers acting out as a result of alcohol consumption or mental health issues.
For more of Major's conversation with Greenberg, download "The Takeout" podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, or Spotify. New episodes are available every Friday morning. Also, you can watch "The Takeout" on CBSN Friday at 5pm, 9pm, and 12am ET and Saturday at 1pm, 9pm, and 12am ET. For a full archive of "The Takeout" episodes, visit www.takeoutpodcast.com. And you can listen to "The Takeout" on select CBS News Radio affiliates (check your local listings).
Producers: Arden Farhi, Katiana Krawchenko, Jamie Benson and Sara Cook
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Show email: TakeoutPodcast@cbsnews.com
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