Today all of us are grappling with uncertainty and confusion and our hearts bleed for those who have already been directly affected. News that was once unimaginable comes at us so fast that each yesterday seems like a lifetime ago.
If I can be honest, a week ago I was rolling my eyes at the fistfights in Walmart over toilet paper wondering why everyone has to get so hysterical. But as I read more, I realized that the smartest voices out there were all saying the same thing. The speed at which this virus spreads makes it a unique danger in ways that are difficult to even imagine. I have woken up to the reality and to the responsibility we all face and I have become a #flattenthecurve evangelist. Last Wednesday, for the safety of our team, their families, and our communities, we shut down our physical offices at AmTrav, and our consumer brands Qtrip and CheapAir.
I believe in the power of travel. In a world that is increasingly becoming screen-to-screen, in-person interactions can touch, inspire, and enrich us in ways that digital exchanges cannot. The fact that we at AmTrav spend our days making it easier for people to come together in person is something I’m really proud of.
But there’s also no denying that, in the present crisis, travel -- even domestic travel -- is exacerbating the problem. Because you can be infected and contagious before you are symptomatic, moving from place to place right now risks unknowingly carrying the virus from one part of the country to another. While the eventual spread is inevitable, it is critical that each of us does our part to slow that spread as much as possible -- to flatten the growth curve -- so our health care systems don’t become overwhelmed.
And so I am going to say something I never thought I’d say:
Unless your business absolutely demands it, or your travel is important for the health and safety of others, stay home. You might be young and healthy and not high risk, but that misses the point. You could still be an unwitting conduit that carries the virus to someone who isn’t so fortunate. So if at all possible, postpone your trip. There are some great deals now for summer and fall, and we and our airline and hotel partners can sure use the business! But for now, the health and wellness of our teams, our families, and our communities is more important.
Winston Churchill said once that Americans always do the right thing -- as soon as we’ve exhausted all the alternatives. We can be pretty petty and we often lose sight of what’s most important. But I still believe that when circumstances demand urgency like they do now, we can buck up, come together, and do what needs to be done.
This will pass. There will be a day when we can live our lives again, including travel. When that happens, AmTrav will be here for you, doing whatever we can to make it easier and more affordable to get people where they need or want to be. Until then, let’s focus on what matters most.
Please stay safe, everyone.
Co-Founder & CEO