Around The World - And Skipping the US

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Around The World - And Skipping the US

Postby mongolking » Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:42 pm

I live in New Zealand, and whenever I travel to Europe, the question of how to get there is the main one - Eastward or West?

Back in the 80's east was the way to go. Auckland to Honolulu and US custom's clearance, a few hours later in Los Angeles, then the big 10 hour jump to London. It was the quickest and most economic way to go. That was how I first went 'home', and how I did it for a decade.

Then came Singapore Airlines, Thai and Cathay Pacific. Westward via Singapore, Bangkok or Hong Kong. The westward route via Asia. Same cost, same time, new routes and no need to apply for a US visa. It grew pretty quickly. Then the Arabs joined in. Emirates, Etihad and now Qatar airlines. Then the Chinese airlines, like China Southern and Eastern. Super low cost, no visas required if in transit, all the European major cities served. Most NZ'ers, and probably all Australians now travel to Europe via Asia.

This year I want to go somewhere different. The Caribbean is the destination of choice. In the past, it would have been a simple choice: Auckland to Los Angeles, then onward to Cancun, or San Juan, or maybe Miami then a hop into the islands. No-one else came close. Until this year.

I can get to Paris via Asia for a few hundred bucks. Spend a few weeks in France, then onward to Guadeloupe or Martinique for a few hundred more. After a stay in the Caribbean, I can then head south to Chile or Argentina, and from there are direct flights to Auckland. These are new. This is the first year I can leave home, fly west, and keep flying west until I get home, and bypass the US altogether. That means my health and travel insurance is half the price (it doubles as soon as one sets foot in the US or Canada). Although the fares through the US are still lower, the savings in insurance by avoiding the US cover that loss by traveling through South America. It's also slightly quicker via South America.

It's curious to me that nowhere have I heard this being raised as a concern. The US monopoly on air traffic from the Antipodes eastward to Europe was a given since the advent of air travel, now it's disappearing in a few months, and not once has it been a media story anywhere.
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Re: Around The World - And Skipping the US

Postby anon_mgtow » Wed Mar 22, 2017 4:38 am

Much of this is because of the rapid rise of the Arab airlines (Emirates, Qatar, Etihad) and their "super-connector" airport hubs (Dubai, Qatar, Abu Dhabi). 20 years ago, those airlines & airports weren't even on the radar. This rise has definitely been reported in business & financial media (WSJ, etc).

Image

http://www.economist.com/news/business/ ... -looks-set

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news ... d=11632234

http://www.businessinsider.com/middle-e ... vel-2015-7

https://www.wsj.com/articles/emirates-e ... 1415226589

A few years ago, Emirates became the #1 busiest airline for international passenger traffic, and Dubai became the #1 busiest airport in the world for international passenger traffic.

Image

http://www.cnbc.com/2015/01/12/dubai-re ... rport.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_b ... er_traffic

The Arab airlines & airports rose quickly because of price, tax-free jurisdictions, frequency, centralized location (Most of the world lives in the Eastern hemisphere), plus a few additional factors.

One additional factor for this rise is that Europe, Middle East, Asia tend to have nicer airports. Some major US airports are very ghetto & outdated.

http://www.worldairportawards.com/Award ... ating.html

Another additional factor for this rise is that the Arab & Asian airlines rank much higher than US airlines in customer satisfaction.

http://www.worldairlineawards.com/award ... ating.html

This is because the US airlines tend to have old, unattractive unionized stewardesses with bad attitudes. Many decades ago, feminists won a US court case that determined that US airlines were not allowed to hire & fire stewardesses based on physical attractiveness & age discrimination.

Meanwhile the Arab & Asian airlines hire attractive non-unionized young women who have to be polite, and then fire them when they get too old.
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Re: Around The World - And Skipping the US

Postby mongolking » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:22 pm

Just bought some travel insurance for my upcoming migration north for the winter. For as long as I can remember - nearly 40 years now - there were always two kinds of 'worldwide' insurance products: 'worldwide' and 'worldwide excluding the US and Canada'. There was always a big difference in cost. As soon as one sets foot in the US or Canada, insurance skyrockets. $100,000 medical cover is plenty for the rest of the world, but for North America it's more like a million.

As the title OP indicated, this year travelers in my part of the world no longer need to pass through the US to get to Latin America, or Europe if flying eastward: direct routes to Santiago (Chile) and Buenos Aires have recently become both regular and low cost. They are now very competitive with routes via the US, and when one takes the heightened insurance cost into account, along with the novelty of new undiscovered destinations, they're no brainer choices.

Only, suddenly I find no insurance company is offering the 'worldwide excluding the US and Canada' option anymore. After 40 years, it has suddenly disappeared. The only Worldwide option covers all countries, and is 60% more expensive.

It's obvious what's happening. Sales of insurance for travelers through the US must be plummeting, so they're removing the option and making other worldwide travelers subsidise those passing through North America. Just why insurance companies would do this I don't know, since making customers pay for other customer's choices is generally a very bad idea. My bet is things will be very different again next year - but the fact that all 6 different insurers I tried were following this same policy says something: that they're all acting on something that is obvious to them, if not to me.
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Re: Around The World - And Skipping the US

Postby Morgu » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:46 pm

mongolking wrote:but the fact that all 6 different insurers I tried were following this same policy says something: that they're all acting on something that is obvious to them, if not to me.

Greed. Insurance companies sink millions into statistical research every year. Their predictive models have probably shown now was the best time to cease offering policies excluding the US and Canada.

That, and the USA is headed inexorably toward fragmentation, destruction, and chaos. The only question now remaining, is how long we have before the final events initiate the last arm of the spiral.

It all has to end sometime. All of the big corporate execs and other elites are merely attempting as many cash grabs as they can, before the explosions begin. This change in policy is only one of them.
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