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Growing up as a boxing fan in a middle class house, I never imagined a day we could afford ringside seats to the biggest fights in the world. But these days everybody can, thanks to commercial air travel. 

According to a recent report, the Federal Aviation Administration has logged 3,400 reports of unruly passengers this year. Most people attribute the spike in smack downs to increased mask policing and residual rage from a year of lockdowns. 

Regardless of how we got here, the fact remains there have been so many brawls on planes this summer, Brad Pitt and Ed Norton could make a sequel called “FLIGHT Club.” But I can’t elaborate further because everybody knows the first rule of Flight Club is you don’t TALK about Flight Club, you record it on your iPhone and post it to social media. 

With so many fists flying, I decided to make a list of ways you can make sure your next non-stop journey doesn’t become a “connecting” flight. Keep in mind that this is for people who fly COMMERCIAL, so if you’re a Texas Democrat, stop reading now. 

AIRPLANE BRAWL CAUGHT ON VIDEO SHOCKS PASSENGERS, ALLEGED RACIAL SLUR USED

1. Respect the Carry On Rule

We’ve all boarded a plane that’s only seated 10 rows of passengers yet somehow has already filled 18 rows of overhead storage bins. I like skipping a baggage fee as much as the next guy but trust me, the $35 Visa charge doesn’t hurt HALF as much as the roundhouse right to the neck. 

If you don’t believe me, ask passengers on a recent Frontier Airlines Flight who got into a storage fight that was so wild, police put the violence at a NINE on a scale of “One to a Real Housewives Reunion.” 

Understaffed Flight Crews are too busy seating people and their Emotional Support Ferrets to count your bags so we’re counting on you. Remember, “one carry on and one personal item” does not mean two rolling suitcases, a laptop, and shopping bag from Metro News. 

VIDEO OF AMERICAN AIRLINES AGENT BOOTING PASSENGER FOR PROFANE INSULT GOES VIRAL: ‘I SUGGEST SPIRIT’

I know your smart phone has been calibrated to make you feel like the most important person in the world but everybody behind you has a phone too. And they’re rage-texting about you while the Flight Attendant gate-checks their bags.

2. Dress For the Flight You Want. 

When I was a kid, there was a nobility to flying. People put on nice clothes and took pride in the image they projected. I’m not saying we wore tuxedos, but none of us looked underdressed for a Motley Crue concert. I flew Spirit Air last month and the first guy I saw was so disheveled I almost put a dollar in his coffee cup. But enough about the pilot. 

MOM OF 6 BOOTED FROM JETBLUE FLIGHT BECAUSE TODDLER WOULDN’T KEEP MASK ON SAYS POLICY ‘NOT FEASIBLE’

Jokes

The business of “fun” has a people problem, and it’s no fun hiring these days.

My trusty spreadsheet says leisure and hospitality businesses had a record 1.34 million unfilled job openings nationwide at the end of May. That’s a 44% increase since February 2020, the month before the coronavirus iced the economy. Now, the industry isn’t alone: All other private industries had 6.67 million openings — up 29% vs. February 2020.

No industry was harder hit by the pandemic’s economic damage than what I call “fun” work — serving restaurant diners, hotel guests and visitors to attractions. The business of gathering folks in a single place didn’t fit well with government mandates designed to slow the spread of coronavirus by keeping people apart. And many consumers — whether they were spending their own money or using a corporate expense account — were reluctant to get out or travel.

With economic reopenings in full swing, “fun” businesses now face a new hurdle: their large — and growing — share of the “Help Wanted” world. The industry has 9% of all private-sector workers but 20% of May’s nationwide openings. The industry’s slice was 15% of all openings in pre-pandemic days.

Or look at the “fun” hiring challenge this way: 9% of “fun” jobs await new workers — just before April’s record high — compared to 5.2% before the virus hit and 6.2% for all other private businesses.

Such hiring difficulties frustrate many local business owners who’ve tweaked operations to match limited staff. For example, restauranteurs say they’ve had to trim hours or menus due to staff shortages. Even Disneyland admits it has less than half of what once was a 32,000 workforce back on the job, though much of that is due to its theme parks not operating at full capacity.

And this is a big California headache, even though there are no comparable state-by-state stats. This “fun” work, or lack thereof, is a giant slice of the slow California economic jobs recovery.

Leisure and hospitality employed 1.54 million Californians in May — 517,500 below pre-pandemic levels. Consider that this job loss is nearly half of the state’s lingering 1.1 million drop in employment since we first learned of coronavirus and lockdowns.

Pay problem

Some folks speculate that generous unemployment benefits keep “fun” workers at home.

While we’re being brutally honest, “fun” work doesn’t pay well. I’ve heard the excuses for years: it’s a low-skill job; the work’s often seasonal; it’s designed for part-time workers; it’s a place for folks who really need a job. Let’s also admit there’s something I’ll politely label as industry “thriftiness.”

Look at the numbers: The latest national stats show annualized average “fun” wages of just $29,500 vs. $75,000 in all other private industries. Wonder why unfilled “fun” jobs jumped in the pandemic era twice as fast as elsewhere in the economy? Or why many “fun” bosses now offer more than minimum wages as an enticement to join their team?

To be fair, it’s

If you’re ready to start traveling again but still a little stressed about the whole prospect, taking a long weekend could be the ideal way to ease back in. With the vaccine rollout well underway and restrictions loosening, 3 or 4 nights can be just the break you need.

That said, remember COVID isn’t over yet – in fact, depending on where you’re traveling, the highly-contagious Delta variant could be of concern

We’ve asked health experts for their advice for travelers preparing to embark on their first getaways of the pandemic.

► Up-to the-minute COVID news: TSA screenings hit a high point ahead of July 4th

Does your destination still have any COVID restrictions? Find out

If this is your first weekend away, there is some research you must do before hitting the road or heading to the airport.

“It is important to check what the guidelines are at your destination regarding whether quarantining will be necessary, whether masks are required, and if there are COVID tests required before or during travel,” says Dr. Alaina Brinley Rajagopal, a emergency medicine physician and virologist based in Southern California.

You can find this information on the websites for the American Automobile Association (AAA). Other good resources include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the airport or the state and county health departments where you’ll be traveling. 

Don’t discount the Delta variant

The Delta variant, considered to be the most serious COVID mutation, now accounts for 14.5% of the new cases in California, prompting Los Angeles County to advise everyone to resume wearing masks – even fully-vaccinated people. 

“Fortunately, it looks like the vaccines provide good protection against this variant,” Rajagopal says. “If you are vaccinated, you should be able to travel according to destination guidelines and still be protected.”

► Delta is the ‘most serious’ COVID-19 variant, scientists say: How will it affect the U.S.?

► Delta variant makes up 10% of new U.S. COVID cases:  Should Americans be worried?

However, if you are not vaccinated, you are at risk for this disease – even if you’ve had COVID before, she warns.

“This variant appears to spread more easily and might make you sicker than previous variants so if you aren’t vaccinated and intend to travel, I would strongly urge you to get fully vaccinated prior to travel,” Rajagopal adds.

The World Health Organization is also urging the return of masks. Hower, as of Tuesday, the CDC had not indicated any changes to its May policy update, which said fully-vaccinated people no longer need to mask indoors.

Mitigating the risk:  WHO recommends masks even for fully vaccinated people amid Delta variant

Pack a mask – even if you’re vaxxed

If you are not vaccinated, nothing has changed, says Dr. Alaina Brinley Rajagopal.  “It is critical that you continue to wear a mask, social distance and avoid large gatherings.”

Other health advice from Rajagopal:

Figure out when you’ll be fully vaxxed. “Try not to travel before your vaccine is fully effective,” she says, noting that regardless of brand, your vaccine will not be fully effective until about 2 weeks after

The Dutch Soccer School summer camps are going to look quite a bit different this summer.

Namely, they’re going to be a lot less Dutch.

The organization, which operates high-level soccer camps in six states, is known for its Dutch-style training program taught by professional Dutch soccer players who travel to the U.S. each year to coach at the camps and experience American culture.

But not a single Dutch coach has been able to obtain the necessary visa – called a J-1 – to be able to come and work this summer, says Bernard Hartog, the founder and managing director of Dutch Soccer School. Instead, Hartog has had to scramble in recent weeks to find qualified coaches in the U.S. and has needed to limit the number of players allowed at the camps – which also means less revenue.

It’s far from a unique situation. The J-1 program, otherwise known as the Exchange Visitor Program, is a broad visa category that allows foreign workers to come to the U.S. for a short period of time to experience American life and participate in either work or study-based programs.

But applicants and the American businesses that employ them report extreme difficulties, with few foreigners granted the visas this year. And that’s affecting a range of positions, including au pairs, camp counselors, researchers, teachers, doctors and interns. It also includes the Summer Work and Travel Program, which allows international college students to come to the country to work seasonal jobs at resorts, parks, pools, restaurants and summer camps.

The absence of exchange visitors this summer is threatening summer fun and the businesses that provide it – many of which are already struggling to recover from last year, when the pandemic forced them to either dramatically reduce operations or shut down entirely. Summer camps are rushing to try to fill open staff positions as camp dates inch closer, and the situation is straining the operations of resorts and restaurants.

The problem, they say, largely lies in an inability to secure a necessary interview at U.S. consulates around the world. Travel restrictions also remain in effect for people from 33 countries, and only certain J-1 visa holders can apply for exemptions to those bans.

The State Department has been reluctant to relax travel restrictions and visa requirements in order to make the process easier, despite sustained pressure and proffered solutions from alliance groups and some lawmakers.

Frustration over issues with the program has grown in recent months as vaccines become more widely available in some countries around the world and as the U.S. vaccination rates go up and case rates plummet.

American businesses rely each summer on the influx of J-1 visa holders to augment their workforces and, in many cases, add a wanted cultural exchange component to their organizations. Some 300,000 foreign nationals, the vast majority of whom are under the age of 30, come to the U.S. through the program each year.

And though the focus right now is on summer work, sponsor

In early May, I took my first commercial flight since travel restrictions have eased and my vaccination reached full potency, to visit my daughter in Texas. I didn’t feel wildly unsafe; it was psychologically uncomfortable, but I have always disliked airports and planes. I ate and drank nothing onboard, and my mask was tightly fixed on my face.

Still, there was also a feeling of festive nostalgia attached to reclaiming the skies, a feeling I usually associate with returning to a university where I once studied, or revisiting the scene of childhood summers. As we broke through the clouds into that stratosphere of private sunshine that is so familiar to jet travelers, I felt the uneasy joy I discovered when I first hugged friends after being vaccinated. The quarantine had given me extra time with my husband and son, days to write, and the comforting patterns of repetition. But breaking out of it was a relief, nonetheless.

Even with the dread that may accompany it, travel is a liberation. The things and places and people I have loved and will love have been out there all this time and I am no longer chained to New York with a leg-iron. In September, I intend to return to London for a friend’s 50th birthday and see my seven English godchildren. I’ve currently been away from Britain, where I have citizenship, for longer than I have at any time since I was 12.

The question of travel is not merely a matter of fun. Travel is a necessary part of our continuing education. The 19th-century naturalist Alexander von Humboldt wrote, “There is no worldview so dangerous as the worldview of those who have not viewed the world.” Much as the boundaries of our bubbles drove many of us slightly mad during quarantine, so being locked in our own country has been devastating for many of us. Every country’s success depends on the inquisitiveness of its citizens. If we lose that, we lose our moral compass.

Equally, much as I yearn to go elsewhere, I am eager to welcome people to these shores. It’s eerie to walk through the great New York City museums and not hear the din of 100 languages. Travel is a two-way street, and let us hope that it will soon be bumper-to-bumper in both directions.

At the end of “Paradise Lost,” Adam and Eve are banished from the Garden of Eden, and John Milton makes no bones about their anguish at being cast out. But he does not end on that sour note, because banishment from one place meant an opportunity to find another, however tentatively that process was undertaken:

Some natural tears they dropd, but wip’d them soon;
The World was all before them, where to choose
Thir place of rest, and Providence thir guide:
They hand in hand with wandring steps and slow,
Through Eden took thir solitarie way.

That will be how we return to the pre-Covid realms

WHY IT RATES: Packages are available at any of Beach Enclave’s three destinations: the all-new Beach Enclave Grace Bay, Beach Enclave Long Bay and Beach Enclave North Shore. —Codie Liermann, Senior Editor


With 27 private luxury villas spread across three intimate, beachfront, gated communities, Beach Enclave Turks & Caicos is the ideal choice for families seeking space, seclusion and total comfort while gathering together under one roof. Beach Enclave’s exclusive villa-resort concept combines the best of both worlds; guests enjoy the conveniences of their own private home, the amenities of a five-star resort and the personalized services of an attentive, dedicated staff of butlers, concierges and personal chefs.

While each stay is customized based on guests’ unique needs and preferences, Beach Enclave recognizes that for the modern jet set family, time together is paramount. To help expedite planning and maximize vacation time, the team has utilized its deep knowledge and years of experience to carefully curate an all-new collection of three- to ten-day family packages.

Available at all three of Beach Enclave’s locations on Providenciales, the three-, five-, seven- and ten-day family packages include all of the following:

Trending Now

—Luxurious private villa accommodations

—A half-day boat excursion with snorkeling and a visit to Iguana Island

—A private, family-style chef’s dinner

—A half-day of kids’ camp

—A 50-minute, in-room couple’s massage

In addition, the five-, seven- and ten-day packages also include:

—Four hours of nanny services at Surfside Ocean Academy

—Horseback riding lessons (based on four people for a two-bedroom, six people for a three-bedroom and eight people for a four-bedroom villa)

The seven and ten-day packages additionally add:

—A second half-day or one full-day of kids’ camp

Adding on to all of the above offerings, the ten-day package exclusively features the following:

—Private tennis lessons

—Custom kids’ camp at Surfside Ocean Academy

—An additional four hours of nanny services at Surfside Ocean Academy

—A second private, family-style chef’s dinner

—A dinner for two on the town (including taxi) for the parents

Family packages start at $12,912 and vary based on villa size and location. These packages are available for travel beginning May 1 through December 18, 2021, at any of Beach Enclave’s three beachfront destinations: the all-new Beach Enclave Grace Bay; Beach Enclave Long Bay; and Beach Enclave North Shore. This offer is subject to availability and blackout dates.

For more information or to book a stay, please visit https://www.beachenclave.com/, call +1 866 580 1675 or email [email protected]


SOURCE: Beach Enclave press release.

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