Dan’s Who Knew? #2 – The Governor of California

On Monday, December 7, 2020 everything changes.  (Click here for the previous blog to set the stage.)

When I think Hannah and I are all set for California, on December 7, 2020 I learn of the Regional Stay at Home order by California’s Governor Gavin Newsom that prohibits leisure travel including vacations.  The order based on regions of the state limits such travel to those areas which have less than 15% ICU capacity.  The order lasts until at least December 28, 2020.  We are scheduled to fly to Los Angeles on January 9, 2021. Tension builds. Cue the violins.

Initially just two regions are under Stay at Home restrictions (San Joaquin Valley and Southern California which includes Santa Barbara)

You see, the Southern California region of the state, which includes Santa Barbara County, has just 13.1% of beds available, which means hospitals’ ICUs are certainly stressed. 

And Who Knew? #2 that a California governor would have such influence over two country mice from Maine? Our winter plans for California are on hold.  Again, we just have to deal with it.

And then the sun shines through the clouds!

On December 10, 2020, I go to the website for the Regional Stay at Home order in California to dig into the details about long term rentals. And I quote,

When any California region is under a Regional Stay Home Order, no hotel or lodging entity in California can accept or honor out of state reservations for non-essential travel, unless the reservation is for at least the minimum time period required for quarantine and the persons identified in the reservation will quarantine in the hotel or lodging entity until after that time period has expired.

Since Hannah and I will be there for 60 days, we can easily quarantine in California. Ah, there is peace in the valley again.

Dan’s Who Knew? #1 – American Airlines

Despite these Covid Times, Hannah and I still plan to fly to California this winter. In early November I notice online that the price of our non-stop round-trip tickets on American Airlines from Boston to Los Angeles remain at $227.  I figure that means the plane won’t be full, which will be great during this pandemic.  It turns out it means something else.

On December 4, 2020, American Airlines informs us that our non-stop flight from Boston to Los Angeles has been changed to a one-stop in Philadelphia.  Damn. Though bumming that we have to touch down into another terminal during a pandemic, I get there is little I can do since the airlines are hurting so. Que sera sera.

And get this!   The flight from Boston to Philly takes 1h 30m, then there’s an hour layover, and then it’s 6h 19m flight to LA.  Remember that last number.  Our original Boston to LA flight would take 6h 30m!  So you are telling me an additional hour and a half flight to Philly makes the subsequent cross country trip only 11 minutes shorter.  Cheese and rice, are we going by way of Miami!

Then on Monday, December 7, 2020, I think, what if another airline has a direct flight from Boston to LA?  I look online to find that Jet Blue does. 

Now, I wonder how I might get American to refund our non-refundable ticket?  As you might know, non-refundable tickets besides being non-refundable also mean we have no choice of seats, we are the last to board, and they probably want our first born.  We do what we have to do to fly cross country inexpensively.

So I call American expressing my displeasure with the change of our direct flight since that will expose us to an additional terminal of people during the pandemic. 

And this is where the Who Knew? #1 comes into play.  Lo and behold, American Airlines will fully refund our non-refundable ticket since we have been changed from a non-stop flight to a one-stop one.  I had no idea! 

Jet Blue, even at this late date with a month before we are to leave for California, has comparably inexpensive non-stop flights to LA from Boston. 

A sweet small victory.  But not so fast, my friends.  On Tuesday, December 8, 2020 everything changes.  See Monday’s blog for that story on Who Knew #2.